William Williams Keen's material related to the operation of President Cleveland, 1893-1918.


William Williams Keen's material related to the operation of President Cleveland, 1893-1918.

This collection documents William Williams Keen's role in President Grover Cleveland's 1893 secret surgery through Keen's correspondence and reflections. The collection primarily covers developments surrounding two events: the surgery on July 1st, 1893, and the publication of Keen's Saturday Evening Post article which appeared on September 22nd, 1917. Material in the collection was initially assembled in a scrapbook, however due to preservation concerns items were removed from the scrapbook and placed in folders. The "Correspondence" series largely contains Keen's letters to and from individuals involved in some capacity with President Cleveland's surgery. This includes Keen's initial correspondence with Joseph Decatur Bryant and Robert Maitland O'Reilly regarding the preparation and follow-up of President Cleveland's surgery. A significant portion of the letters relate to Keen's attempt to accurately recreate the events of the surgery for his eventual article. To accomplish this goal Keen began corresponding with Frances Folsom Cleveland Preston for permission to discuss her former husband's condition in 1916, which is documented in the series. Keen also corresponded with Annette Bryant, Florence Bryant de Peyster (Joseph Bryant's daughter), Karson C. Gibson, Elias Cornelius Benedict, James Ford Rhodes, and E. J. Edwards for the purpose of clarifying events surrounding the surgery, all documented in the series. Also of note are the letters exchanged between Keen and Ferris Greenslet from the Houghton Mifflin Company, regarding the company's interest in publishing a Grover Cleveland biography. Houghton Mifflin requested Keen's insights on the former President, however Keen responded that he was in the process of writing an article on the subject and the company would have to wait. Other letters include thank-you notes to Keen for his groundbreaking article. The series dates include 1893, 1905, and 1915-1918. The "Assembled Notes" series contains material assembled by Keen to prepare for the eventual writing of his article. These include interviews with involved parties, photographs, and press clippings related to the President Cleveland surgery. The interviews include typed reflections recorded in 1916 by John F. Erdmann, Kasson C. Gibson, and Elias Cornelius Benedict regarding their involvement in President Cleveland's surgery. Also included in the series are notes written by Robert Maitland O'Reilly, Ferdinand Hasbrouck, and Joseph Decatur Bryant recounting their actions surrounding the day of President Cleveland's surgery. While the notes were initially written at the time of the event, notes in this series were transcribed and typed around 1916. Photographs in the series include images of the cheek retractor used for President Cleveland's surgery, as well as his jaw cast. The press clippings contain assembled and retyped dispatches made by E. J. Edwards, under the pen name "Holland," relaying his coverage of the President's surgery. The clippings also include assembled and retyped newspaper accounts of John F. Erdmann's and Kasson C. Gibson's actions surrounding the President's surgery. The "News Clippings" series contains assembled newspaper articles and headlines covering both the 1893 controversy surrounding President Cleveland's surgery, as well as the article published by Keen in the Saturday Evening Post. Particularly noteworthy are the clippings from 1893, reflecting the tense battles between the Cleveland administration's Democratic supporters and their various opponents. Democrat-supporting newspapers accused journalists such as E. J. Edwards of stirring unwarranted "calamities" about the President's health for self-interest and financial gain. Most of the news clippings are very fragile due to their age and adhesion with glue to a scrapbook. Care was taken to photocopy the clippings and place them in Mylar sleeves, however many of the clippings remain attached to the original scrapbook as removing them would cause permanent damage. The series dates include 1893 and 1917.

1 box (0.42 linear ft.)

Related Entities

There are 10 Entities related to this resource.

Cleveland, Frances Folsom, 1864-1947

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6j20spz (person)

Frances Clara Folsom Cleveland became the youngest First Lady at age 21 as the first woman to marry a president in the White House. She served as the 23rd and 25th First Lady of the United States while married to President Grover Cleveland. “I detest him so much that I don’t even think his wife is beautiful.” So spoke one of President Grover Cleveland’s political foes–the only person, it seems, to deny the loveliness of this notable First Lady, first bride of a President to be married in the ...

O'Reilly, Robert M. (Robert Maitland), 1845-1912

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6tf09k3 (person)

Edwards, E. Jay (Elisha Jay), 1847-1924

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6sb699f (person)

Gibson, K. S. (Kasson Stanford), 1890-

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6pk16d4 (person)

Keen, William W. (William Williams), 1837-1932

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6f19086 (person)

Surgeon of Philadelphia. From the description of Letter, 1864, Jan. 27 : Philadelphia, to Dr. Brinton. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 34847965 William Williams Keen (1837-1932) was a prominent neurological pathologist from Philadelphia, and the first brain surgeon in the United States. Keen gained national attention for his then-secret surgery performed on President Grover Cleveland in 1893. From the description of William Williams Keen's material related...

Erdmann, John F. (John Frederick), 1864-1954

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6b87cnd (person)

Bryant, Joseph D. (Joseph Decatur), 1845-1914

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6q54kw8 (person)

Joseph Decatur Bryant, New York, N.Y., surgeon and teacher, was born on 12 Mar. 1845. He married Annette Amelia Crum in 1874; they had one daughter. Bryant died of diabetes on 7 Apr. 1914. Bryant received an M.D. from Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1868, interned at Bellevue, 1869-1871, and was a member of its faculty until 1897. Bryant was also medical health commissioner of New York City, 1887-1893, and president of the American Medical Association. He was a frie...

Benedict, E. C. (Elias Cornelius), 1834-1920

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65t5qgh (person)

Hasbrouck, Ferdinand.

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65b257s (person)

Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908

http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6rg6j0c (person)

Grover Cleveland, born in Caldwell, NJ, 18 March 1837; moved to Buffalo, NY in 1855; Erie County Sheriff, 1871-1874; Mayor of Buffalo, 1882; Governor of New York, 1883-1884; President of the United States, 1885-1889, 1893-1897; married Frances Folsom, 1886; died at Princeton, NJ, 24 June 1908....