James Ramsay Hunt (1874-1937) was one of the pioneers of early-twentieth-century American neurology. The James Ramsay Hunt Case Books, Columbia University, were created by Hunt and chronicle his experience with private patients from 1903 until 1937. This resource is not widely known to scholars and the content of these 30 volumes has not been described in detail. The purpose of this report is to describe this resource in terms of its organization, general contents and special features. The books contain the clinical records of 5,019 consecutive patients. The largest proportion had neurasthenia or psychiatric diagnoses, followed by those with neuropathies, manifestations of neurosyphilis, migraine and epilepsy. The books, through the enclosed correspondence, photographs, and poetry sent by patients, reveal a close relationship between the patients and their physician. Hunt's drawings are a special feature of the early volumes, including his original unpublished drawing of the lesions associated with his herpetic geniculate ganglion syndrome. The Case Books, by providing an indexed and permanent record of cases, would have made it easier for Hunt to cross-reference patients with similar clinical characteristics when he was in the process of describing a new syndrome. These Case Books provide a valuable perspective of the practice of neurology in early-twentieth-century America.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- History and Philosophy of Science