William & Mary | Earl Gregg Swem Library Special Collections Database


James Keen Ledger, 1825-1837

James Keen Ledger, 1825-1837
Mss. Acc. 2010.489
0.1 Cubic Feet
Scope and Contents

Medical ledger of James Keen, a physician in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.  Notes information about visits to patients which include treatments, medicines dispensed, prescriptions, notes, calculations and payment records. There are over 60 entries for the treatment of slaves in which several individuals are named. One includes the removal of a tumor from a "Negro Woman". The last page of the ledger lists births of foals and their lineage.

A handwritten note is on page two, “James Keen MD, Mecklenburg, Virginia, Commenced the Practice of Medicine June 1st, 1826.”  An alphabetical index in the back of the ledger lists the names of the patients and the respective pages on which the records are located. The ledger contains loose receipts for visits, treatments, prescriptions and an 1825 ticket for a University of Pennsylvania lecture on Midwifery by Thomas C. James.

On page 196, the heading is "List of Bonds and Acct put into the hands of James Williamson for collection due the estate of Doct. James Keen" with the date February 8, 1831 and a long list of names and amounts owed.  An undated loose paper lists 11 names, including Joseph Wilkins, Obadiah Vaughan, Peter Vaughan, Stephen Hendrick, Capt. Lancelotte G. Wade, on a "Memorandum of claims against the estate of Jas Keen."

Accounts are for Stanley Hyte (Hite), Jr., Hezekiah Tally, Obadiah Overby, Robert Griffin, lots of Jones’, James Newton, Edward Royster (and grandson Royster), Edward Tuck, William Yancey, Stephen Worsham, Capt. Stephen Pool, Henry Green, James Williamson, Peyton Puryear, Thomas Moss, Elisha Bowen, Thomas Staples, Miles Wall, Milly Vaughan and many others.  James Keen oftens notes the names of the children he treats.

Some medicines prescribed are : 1 doz pills, opiate pills, laudanum, Canthar pills, epsom salts, castor oil, hive syrup, nitric acid, blue pills and magnesium.  Some treatments include tumor extraction, blister plaster and coughs.

After 1831, possibly the year James Keen died, other entries near the end of the book include,"May 1838, Plank bought of Major Thos. Nelson" and "Plank got from Lewis Burwell."

Keen, James (- circa 1831)
African Americans--Medical care--Virginia
Mecklenburg County (Va.)--History--19th century
Medical practice--Virginia--History
Medicine, Rural--Practice
Medicine--Virginia--History--19th century
Ledgers (Accounting)

Administrative Information

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.
Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.
Acquisition Note
 Source: Purchase..
Preferred Citation
James Keen Ledger, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary
Collection Material Type:
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