Collection Title: Henry Pleasants Jr. Collection
Collection Number: 211
Dates of Collection: 1908-1970, bulk 1930-1960
Box Numbers: 1-7
Repository: Chester County Historical Society
Project Archivist: Seth Wheeler, Intern
Dr. Henry Pleasants Jr. was a Chester County physician, author, and historian on the national stage. He achieved national acclaim for his book, Doctor in the House and won fame as an historian and writer in the field of medicine. He also authored The Tragedy of the Crater, Mars Butterfly, and From Kilts to Pantaloons. He additionally contributed to numerous periodicals and magazines, such as Ladies Home Journal, Journal of the A.M.A., Penn Medicine Journal, and the General Magazine and Historical Chronicle. Accompanied by his writing, Pleasants pursed his hobbies in art, antiques, books, and historical documents by supporting the Chester County Art Association and Chester County Historical Society.
A native of Radnor Township, Delaware County, Dr. Pleasants started his medical practice in West Chester after receiving his MD in 1910 from the University of Pennsylvania. From 1911 to 1949, Dr. Pleasants practiced general medicine and served the community in many different capacities. For many years, he was a member of the Chester County Hospital, serving one term as chief of staff. Dr. Pleasants entered in the U.S. Army Medical Reserve Corps in 1916 and saw active duty during World War I with the 77th division in 1917. Later he was honorably discharged and appointed lieutenant colonel in the Medical Reserve. In addition, Dr. Pleasants served for many years as head of the West Chester Board of Health, largely responsible for the construction of the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Coatesville. From 1933 to 1936 and 1940 to 1942, Henry Pleasants Jr. worked as an editor of the Medical World and Pennsylvania’s Health. Lastly, he served as medical director of West Chester State Teachers College in 1941 to 1943 and the Department of Health of Pennsylvania from 1949 to 1957.
“Dr. Henry Pleasants, Doctor, Author, Dies”. Daily Local News. February 7, 1963. Newspaper Clippings Collection. Chester County Historical Society. West Chester, PA.
“Dr. Henry Pleasants, Author Dies at 78”. Philadelphia Inquirer. February 8, 1963. Newspaper Clippings Collection. Chester County Historical Society. West Chester, PA.
The collection consists mainly of Henry Pleasants Jr.’s papers, writings, and various correspondences to publishers, authors, and prominent people in government or organizations. The vast majority of his writings comprises short stories that were either fictional, autobiographical, historical, or a combination of all three. Some of Henry Pleasants’ writings contain poetry and limited genealogical research. In addition, the collection holds special articles and periodicals related to Henry Pleasants Jr.’s lifelong career as a physician and writer. Researchers will find both published and unpublished literary works of Henry Pleasants Jr.
The collection is organized by topic and box number. Each box number includes a title related to its content. Box 7 has both folders and books pertaining to local interest.
For more biographical material, see the newspaper clippings collection under “Pleasants, Henry Jr.”
Box 1: Henry Pleasants Jr. Papers
Family History Research
University of Pennsylvania
Box 2: Henry Pleasants Jr Papers
Box 3: Book Manuscripts
NOTE: Printed privately by Horace F. Temple, West Chester, Pa.
Box 4: Book Manuscripts
Box 5: Book Reviews and Contributions to Periodicals
Box 6: Periodicals
Box 7: Local Interest
Note: First 7 entries are folders.