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A.F. (August Frederick) Jonas Papers

Identifier: MS-024

Scope and Content

The A.F. (August Frederick) Jonas Papers contain documents related to the career of August Frederick Jonas, MD. Dr. Jonas had an extensive collection of personal manuscripts and published material on various subjects. Dr. Jonas’ collection also contains copies of his diplomas from medical school in Europe and the United States. Dr. Jonas’ collection also includes his personal day book from 1877 and 1900, which contains accounts receivable information listing his patients and their remaining balances. A larger version of a daybook also lists body disorders and remedies (the 1870s). Also included in the collection is a book of drawings (medical) that Dr. Jonas did in the early 1900s. Also present are bound pathology reports from the office of Dr. W. R. Lavender from the early 1900s. The reports are possibly related to Dr. Jonas’ work with Union Pacific. The bound pathology books include a mixture of patients under Dr. Jonas’ and other physicians’ care.

Some patient notes, drawings, daybooks, and pathology reports have restricted access due to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.


  • Creation: 1870-1924


Conditions Governing Access

Some material in this collection is subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) restrictions on the life of the patient plus 50 years. Such material is noted on the container list.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection contains copyrighted published material. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity.

Biographical / Historical

August Frederick Jonas was born in Wisconsin in 1858, and at the age of 14, he was employed as a bookkeeper in Iowa, where he also studied medicine with Dr. A. T. Koch. At age 17, he entered Bennett Medical College in Chicago, receiving his MD degree in 1877. He first practiced in Sauk City, Wisconsin, and in 1882 he went abroad for four years, studying at Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, from which he graduated in 1884. He then did post-graduate work in Vienna, Berlin, and Paris.

Jonas came to Omaha from Madison, Wisconsin, in 1887, taking up the practice of surgery at the new Methodist Hospital at 20th and Harney Streets. He organized the surgical department at Methodist and was named its first chief surgeon. In 1898 he became chief surgeon of the Union Pacific Railroad at the personal request of the railroad’s president, E. H. Harriman, and remained in this post for twenty-seven years. Dr. Jonas also served as the American Academy of Railway Surgeons president during the early 1900s.

He served as a professor of clinical surgery at the Omaha Medical College and the University of Nebraska College of Medicine for thirty-five years. He was Dean of the Omaha Medical College from 1899-1902. He was one of the leading proponents for affiliation between the Omaha Medical College and the University of Nebraska in 1902 and the eventual location of all medical college programs and courses at the present campus site in Omaha in 1913. He received the rank of professor emeritus; and an honorary Doctor of Law from the University of Nebraska in 1928.

Jonas served as president of the following medical organizations: Omaha-Douglas County Medical Society, Omaha Surgical Club, Nebraska State Medical Association, 1905, Western Surgical Association, 1899, Missouri Valley Medical Society, 1894, Pan-American Medical Society, 1897, and the American Railroad Surgeons, 1901. He was vice-president of the American Medical Association, 1902, and vice-president of the American Surgical Association. He was a charter member of the American College of Surgeons, a member of the Societe Internationale de Chirurgie (International Society of Surgery), and a frequent contributor to surgical literature.

During World War I, Jonas served as a special medical aid to the Governor of Nebraska, with the rank of Captain. He helped to organize Nebraska Base Hospital No. 49 for war service in France and the Omaha Ambulance Company.

In 1889, Jonas married Metha Helfritz, who had just graduated from the Women’s Medical College of Chicago. She was born in 1857, attended the University of Iowa, and taught school before beginning the study of medicine. Metha Helfritz Jonas served as secretary of the Omaha Medical Society in 1894. She died on October 28, 1895, in Baltimore. Jonas later married Jessica Stebbins, and they had three children, Dr. August F. Jonas, Jr, novelist Carl Jonas, and Mary Elizabeth (“ME”) Jonas (Mrs. Harold (“Hal”) Gifford, Jr.). Dr. Jonas died on November 12, 1934, aged 76.


7.92 Linear Feet (3 Gaylord TC1215 Boxes [16.6d, 10h, 13w] extent measured by width, 1.25 linear feet 31 oversized items, Map Case 50x41 [41d, 2h, 50w inches] extent measured by width, 4.167 linear feet  )

Language of Materials



Arranged into three boxes, plus oversized medical illustrations

Processing Information

Processed by McGoogan Library staff

Guide to the Papers of A.F. (August Frederick) Jonas
TDI, JSS, DiAnna Hemsath
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
3rd edition of the finding aid

Revision Statements

  • 2023-02-17: Reviewed and Revised by DiAnna Hemsath for entry into ArchivesSpace

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Robert S. Wigton Department of Special Collections and Archives Repository

Robert S. Wigton Department of Special Collections and Archives
986705 Nebraska Medical Center
Omaha NE 68198-6705 USA