KIMBALL, GILMAN. (1804-1892). American surgeon and the first to intentionally plan and perform an abdominal hysterectomy for fibroids of the uterus (August 1853). ALS. (“G. Kimball”). 1p. 8vo. Lowell, April 14, 1879. To Mrs. Hanson.
“Yours of the 13th was rec’d last evening. It is of little use to write upon the matter of your case. It is altogether better to talk than to write. I could have told you beforehand what Dr. Bigelow would say to you. Without wishing to criticize the Dr’s opinion it is not too severe to say that he would not be likely to approve of any plan of treatment in your case that is in any way out of the line of his own way of doing, To my mind, therefore his opinion as expressed to you is of no value.
I shall be in my office in Boston on Friday, as usual…”
Following his medical training in New England and Europe, Gilman held several professorships until he took direction of the Lowell hospital, established by the proprietors of that town’s factories. During the Civil War, Gilman oversaw the organization of the first military hospitals. However, it is for the pioneering advances he made in the field of gynecology that he is remembered. Beginning in the 1870s Gilman treated uterine fibroids with electricity, a procedure called galvanism – a term coined by Alessandro Volta and named for Italian obstetrician and surgeon Luigi Galvani who demonstrated the existence of natural electric current in animal tissue. Gilman served as president of the American Gynecological Society beginning in 1882.
Kimball is disputing the medical opinion of prominent Boston surgeon Henry Jacob Bigelow (1818-1890), a professor of surgery at Harvard. Bigelow is remembered for, among other things, bringing the use of ether as an anesthetic to the attention of the medical community and his involvement in the case of Phineas Gage who survived the injuries precipitated by an iron rod having been accidentally driven through his brain.
Penned on lined paper with a blind embossed sphinx in the upper left corner. Folded and in excellent condition.