Collection FC167 - Joseph Nash McDowell Manuscript and Ephemera Collection


Reference code


Level of description



Joseph Nash McDowell Manuscript and Ephemera Collection


  • 1854, 1865-1866 (Creation)


0.50 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Biographical history

Joseph Nash McDowell was born in Lexington, Kentucky and received his medical degree from Transylvania University in 1825. In 1827, McDowell became a professor of anatomy at the newly founded Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He came to St. Louis in 1840 and founded the Medical Department of Kemper College, later renamed Missouri Medical College and also known locally as McDowell Medical College. During the Civil War, McDowell's loyalties were with the Confederacy. In his commencement address in 1861 he informed the audience that he was resigning as Dean of Missouri Medical College to offer his services to the Confederate Army.

Missouri Medical College was taken over by the Union during the war, first used as a recruiting office and later became the Gratiot Prison to house Confederate prisoners. McDowell served as the medical director of the trans-Mississippi department of the Confederate Army. Toward the end of the war he was sent as an emissary to Europe to solicit help for the Confederate cause, but the Confederate Army surrendered while he was there. He gave medical lectures in Europe until he received a presidential pardon and returned to St. Louis to reorganize Missouri Medical College. McDowell died in 1868. The Missouri Medical College continued until 1899, when it merged with the St. Louis Medical College to become Washington University Medical School.

*Source: 'A McDowell Genealogy,' by Frank McDowell.

Scope and content

Various items pertaining to Joseph Nash McDowell (1805-1868), his family and St. Louis legacy including photographs, letters, a copy of the Kemper College address of 1840, obituaries, facsimiles of documents.  See also VC219

System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

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"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

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Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

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