The Beaumont collection includes correspondence, notebooks and casebooks, pre-publication drafts, notes, certificates, press clippings, and legal and financial documents. The major subject of the collection is the Alexis St. Martin case and the pioneering and controversial experiments on St. Martin that illuminated the physiology of human digestion. The papers also document Beaumont’s strong influence on his family including his wife, parents, siblings, and children; his career as a U. S. army surgeon, 1812-1939; land speculation in Plattsburgh, Green Bay and Saint Louis; and his service on the U.S. Army Board and professional associations. Of local interest is the correspondence on Beaumont’s medical practice in Saint Louis, 1939-1853; two malpractice lawsuits; the Saint Louis Medical College where Beaumont served as a faculty member; and the politics in the Saint Louis medical community.
The manuscript collection described below consists of three document series arranged predominantly in chronological order. Series 1 includes all items that were described in the 1968 Index. For reasons never discussed in the 1968 Index, many items in the gift of papers to Washington University were omitted from its elaborate analysis. These items now make up Series 2 and Series 3 of the Beaumont Papers. Beaumont’s notebooks are compiled into Series 2. Newspaper clippings and book reviews that were once in the possession of Beaumont and his family make up Series 3.