Earlier this year, the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library received a generous donation of medical artifacts and books from Robert and Ruth Carroll of Nacogdoches, TX. While practicing family medicine in Texas, Dr. Carroll spent years building an impressive collection of medical antiques and rare books. Dr. and Mrs. Carroll are alumni of the University of Virginia; Dr. Carroll received an MD from the School of Medicine and Mrs. Carroll received a BSN from the School of Nursing, both in 1966. A selection of artifacts from the Carrolls’ donation is currently on display in the main lobby of the Library. Among these materials are items which belonged to Dr. R. Lindsay Robertson (1859-1922), a grandfather of Dr. Carroll. Dr. Robertson received his medical degree from UVA in 1882 and later practiced medicine in Charlottesville.
Several references to R.L. Robertson can be found within University catalogs and other publications held by the Library. From these materials we know that between 1880 and 1882, Robertson attended the University of Virginia and studied chemistry, anatomy, physiology, medical jurisprudence, general medicine, and surgery. He graduated June 30, 1881 with a degree in Chemistry and then, after a further year of study, received a Doctor of Medicine degree from UVA on June 29, 1882.
Prior to his studies at UVA, Robertson was a student at Virginia Military Institute, where he was a member of the school’s Corps of Cadets. After graduating from UVA, Dr. Robertson served as a surgeon in the U.S. Army and spent time in Nebraska and Texas. Later he returned to Charlottesville, VA, to practice medicine. In 1910, Dr. Robertson was elected “City Physician and Health Officer” of Charlottesville, according to an issue of Virginia Medical Semi-Monthly. Dr. Robertson died in 1922 and is buried at Riverview Cemetery in Charlottesville.
On display you can see Dr. Robertson’s personal medicine case, his office sign, and a textbook he used during his time as a student at UVA. Other materials donated by the Carrolls include a unique color-blindness test, several electrotherapy instruments, patent medicine advertisements, and a 1940s era diabetes testing kit. If you have questions about the Library’s medical artifacts collection or the Carroll donation, please contact Historical Collections and Services.