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Coleman Brothers Collection

Call Number: Ms Coll 36

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the correspondence between the brothers and Yale-educated physicians Isaac Pearson Coleman and James Beakes Coleman of New Jersey spanning their years at the Medical Institution of Yale College (Yale University School of Medicine) through the beginnings of their respective medical practices in New Jersey; their correspondence with other practitioners and members of their families; extended family correspondence; James Coleman's notes and lectures on phrenology; and a large number of documents including deeds, miscellaneous printed matter, and receipts of Isaac Coleman and his family, the brothers' parents and their ancestors; and 33 photographs of the extended family. (There are no photographs of the Coleman brothers). The letters particularly document Isaac P. Coleman's time at Yale (1829-1832). Notable professional correspondents include preceptors, Dr. Francis A. Ewing of Trenton and Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, a Philadelphia psychiatrist who had also studied medicine with Nicholas Belleville in Trenton. Medical topics include medical education, anatomy and dissection, New Jersey licensing law, medical treatments, smallpox and vaccination, and phrenology.


  • 1721-1910
  • Majority of material found within 1821 - 1868


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is not under copyright

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased 2012


Organized into five series: 1. Correspondence of Isaac and James Coleman. 2. Correspondence of the extended Coleman family. 3. Manuscripts and documents of the Coleman brothers and family. 4. Letters and documents related to the parents and ancestors of the Coleman brothers. 5. Photographs.


1 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection contains correspondence between Isaac Pearson Coleman and James Beakes Coleman, brothers who received medical degrees at the Medical Institution of Yale College (Yale School of Medicine) and who practiced medicine in and near Trenton, New Jersey; correspondence of the Coleman brothers with medical colleagues and with members of their families; letters, manuscripts, and legal documents pertaining to the extended Coleman family of New Jersey as well as the Saltar family; and portrait photographs of the extended Coleman family.

Biographical / Historical

Isaac Pearson Coleman and James Beakes Coleman were sons of James Coleman and Sarah Beakes Coleman, who were Quakers. Isaac Coleman was born near Trenton, New Jersey, February 2, 1804. He received his early education at the Trenton Academy, studied medicine under Dr. Francis A. Ewing of Trenton, and obtained his medical degree from Yale in 1832. He first practiced medicine in Trenton, and about 1837, settled in Pemberton, New Jersey. In 1843 he married Anne Saltar of Philadelphia. They had three children. Isaac Coleman was a surgeon as well as physician and served as president of the Medical Society of New Jersey. He died November 4, 1869.

James Beakes Coleman was born October 6, 1805 in Trenton, New Jersey where he received his early education. He worked under an apothecary where he obtained a knowledge of practical chemistry. He studied medicine under Dr. Nicholas (de) Belleville of Trenton, and received his M.D. from Yale in 1829. After graduation, he began practicing medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Two years later he relocated to Juliustown in Burlington County, New Jersey. In 1837, he settled in Trenton where he practiced medicine and surgery for the rest of his life. He was a general practitioner, who, like his brother, was known for his surgical skill. He married Henrietta Beasley and had several children including Waldburg Coleman who became a physician. James Coleman was president of the Board of Health in Trenton, a member of the Board of Managers of the New Jersey State Lunatic Asylum, founding member and president of the District Medical Society of Mercer County, New Jersey, and president of the Medical Society of New Jersey in 1855. He was also a talented amateur portrait artist and caricaturist. He died December 19, 1877.

Guide to the Coleman Brothers Collection
Finding aid by Judit Balassa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Medical Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library Repository

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