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Rush Archives Blog

From the Rush Archives: The Williams Family Collection

by Nathalie Wheaton on 2020-05-14T08:00:00-05:00 in History | Comments

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 precautions and closures on campus, a special event originally scheduled for May 18 had to be canceled. The Rush Archives was looking forward to a visit from Robert Behling, who donated a collection of material from his family several years ago, featuring two alumni from the early years of Rush Medical College. Many of these historic items are on display in an exhibit in the Library of Rush University Medical Center, "A College, a City, and a Civil War: The Life and Times of Dr. John Ll. Williams and Dr. William E. Williams," curated by Laura Johns in 2013. Currently, Rush Archives staff is working to adapt this exhibit into a digital format so that it can be visited online.

In 2012, Rush Archivist Heather Stecklein co-presented with Robert Behling on the history of his family and the items in his care. At the closing of this special presentation for Rush staff and students, Mr. Behling generously donated his historic collection to the Rush Archives.

This 2012 presentation, "Two Rush Doctors: Military and Family Practice Careers of the Drs. Williams," is available online. This presentation provides a glimpse into Rush’s early history and includes historic photos, letters, patient ledgers, and diary entries illustrating the lives and careers of two early Rush Medical College graduates. In 1863, John L. Williams, MD, graduated from Rush Medical College. The following year, he volunteered to serve as a surgeon for the Union Army in Vicksburg, Mississippi, during the Civil War. Upon the completion of his service, he returned to his thriving practice in Cambria, Wisconsin. In 1889, his son, William, graduated from Rush and continued his father’s practice and served as a small town physician for nearly fifty years.

[Delivered March 28, 2012, at Rush University by Archivist, Heather J. Stecklein, and Robert L. Behling, the great-great-grandson of John L. Williams, MD.]

Want to learn more about the history of Rush or the Rush Archives collections? Explore the Rush Archives website, or contact the archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS.


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