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Thomas Antisell Collection

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS137

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of 3 letters by or about Thomas Antisell all addressed to Presidents of Georgetown University. The collection also includes some notes, manuscripts and tracings by Antisell mainly concerning geology in California and copies of addresses given by Antisell at the graduation of the Medical Department of Georgetown University.


  • 1860-1895
  • Majority of material found within 1860 - 1895

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical note

Thomas Antisell was born in Dublin Ireland in 1817, where he was educated as a physician and a chemist. He immigrated to New York City in November, 1848 and opened a medical office and a chemistry laboratory. While living in New York, he often left to lecture at Berkshire Medical Institution and Vermont Medical College. In 1854 he entered the government as a geologist on Lieutenant John G. Parke's Pacific railroad survey and made a reconnaissance of parts of California and Arizona. Tracings, notes and clippings in the collection relating to California and Sierra Nevada may be from this period of Antisell's career. When the survey was completed, Antisell moved to Washington, D.C. where he was chief examiner in the U.S. Patent Office and had the sole charge of chemical inventions. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Thomas Antisell entered the Union army as a Brigade Surgeon. He not only served in the field, but was surgeon in charge at Harewood, a large Civil War Hospital. After the war, Antisell went to the Department of Agriculture, where he analyzed agricultural specimens and minerals, investigated cancellation inks for the Post Office Department and building stone for the Treasury Department. At this period the Japanese were developing the resources and industries of their country and their government asked Secretary of Agriculture Horace Capron to provide technical assistance. In 1871 Capron went to Japan taking with him Antisell, whowas involved in the development of inks for paper currency, dextrin for the post office and other matters. He left Japan only reluctantly because his wife's health was failing. Antisell returned to Washington, D.C. and reentered the Patent Office as examiner until his retirement in 1891. Antisell died in 1893, age 76, and was buried in Congressional Cemetery.

In addition to acting as chemist for the Department of Agriculture and the Patent Office, Antisell taught at Georgetown University from 1858 to 1869 and 1880 to 1882. He handled a variety of subjects including hygiene, military surgery, physiology, pathology, chemistry (1858-63, 1880-82), and physiological chemistry (1866-69). He also taugh chemistry at the University of Maryland from 1869 to 1870. He was offered the presidency of Franklin and Marshall in the mid-1860's and the University of Cairo in the mid-1870's.


0.20 Linear Feet (1 Slim Document Case)

Language of Materials


Thomas Antisell Collection
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
Description rules
Local Practice
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057