George Bacon Wood Papers
Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
George Bacon Wood was born in Greenwich, New Jersey, on 12 March 1797; he was the son of Richard and Elizabeth Bacon Wood. George B. Wood married Caroline Hahn (d. 1867) on 2 April 1823. Wood died in Philadelphia on 30 March 1879.
In 1815, George B. Wood received his A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania. He then studied medicine under Joseph Parrish and attended courses at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his A.M. and M.D. from the University in 1818. Wood’s thesis was on dyspepsia. After his graduation, Wood lectured on Materia Medica at Joseph Parrish’s Association for Medical Instruction.
George B. Wood was one of the founders of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1821. He was Professor of Chemistry at the College (1822-1831), then Professor of Materia Medica and Pharmacy (1831-1835). Wood resigned from the College in 1835, to become Professor of Materia Medica and Pharmacy at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1850, he became Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine at the University and held that position until his retirement in 1860. Wood was Attending Physician at Pennsylvania Hospital (1835-1859) and President of the Board of Managers (1874-1879). From 1850-1860, Wood was also Chairman of the Committee on the Revision of the United States Pharmacopoeia. In 1865, he helped to organize the Auxiliary Faculty of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Wood wrote several books, including The Dispensatory of the United States (1833), The History of the University of Pennsylvania (1834), A Treatise on the Practice of Medicine (1847), and A Treatise on Therapeutics and Pharmacology, or, Materia Medica (1856).
George B. Wood became a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1827 and was President from 1848 to 1879. Wood was also President of the American Philosophical Society (1859-1879) and the American Medical Association (1855-1856).
The George Bacon Wood Papers collection documents George Bacon Wood’s professional and personal life from 1813 to 1870. Materials located in the collection include correspondence, manuscript drafts, lecture notes, financial material, and some graphic material. The collection contains six series arranged by their relative size: “Correspondence,” “Writings,” “Professional Affiliations,” “Teaching Material,” “Graphic Material and Ephemera,” and “Financial Material.” Researchers interested in the life of George Bacon Wood, or of early- nineteenth century medical practice will find documents of significance in these papers.
The “Correspondence” series contains three subseries arranged by their relative size to the series. The three subseries appear as follows: “Professional,” “Family,” and “Dr. Franklin Bache.” The series dates from 1793 to 1880, with the bulk of letters dating from 1813 to 1870. Some correspondence is located in other series, however that material was not separated in order to retain context.
The “Professional” subseries contains correspondence between George Bacon Wood and professional colleagues regarding medical and pharmaceutical topics, the American Philosophical Society, the slave trade, and Civil War among other topics. Most letters in the subseries were sent to George Bacon Wood, though some folders include letters sent by him. Individuals corresponded with include Dr. D. Hayes Agnew, Dr. P.P. Broca, Dr. Joseph Carson, Dr. Robert Christison, Edward Hartshorne, Isaac Hays, Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, W. E. Horner, Dr. Thomas S. Kirkbride, Joseph Leidy, C. D. Meigs, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, John H. Packard, Dr. Joseph Parrish, William Pepper, Dr. R. E. Rogers, Francis G. Smith, Alfred Stille, W. H. Van Buren, and Caspar Wistar among others. The folders are arranged alphabetically by correspondent’s last name. The subseries dates from 1793 to 1880, with the bulk of letters dating from 1842 to 1870.
The “Family” subseries contains correspondence between George Bacon Wood and members of his family. Each folder is labeled with the family member’s relation to George Bacon Wood. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by sender, with George Bacon Wood appearing first. Dates from the subseries range from 1810 to 1877, with the bulk of letters dating from 1813 to 1870.
The “Dr. Franklin Bache” subseries contains correspondence between George Bacon Wood and Dr. Franklin Bache from 1838 to 1862. Wood and Bache collaborated on medical research together, and jointly wrote the book Dispensatory of the United States published in 1833. The folders are arranged first by George Bacon Wood letters sent to Franklin Bache, and then Franklin Bache to George Bacon Wood.
The “Writings” series contains three subseries arranged alphabetically: “Materia Medica,” “Memoirs,” and “Pharmacopoeia of the United States.” The series dates from 1841 to 1866, with several undated folders.
The “Materia Medica” subseries contains a single folder holding a manuscript titled, “History of Materia Medica.” This was written by Wood in 1855.
The “Memoirs” subseries contains writings by George Bacon Wood and others dedicated to the memory of people known to Wood. In 1865, Wood wrote a memoir to his close-colleague Dr. Franklin Bache, which is included in this subseries along with Wood’s notes relating to that piece. Wood also wrote a memoir and account dedicated to Dr. Joseph Parrish, located in the subseries. The folders are arranged alphabetically by memoir subject.
The “Pharmacopoeia of the United States” subseries contains drafts and correspondence related to George Bacon Wood’s contributions to the Pharmacopoeia of the United States. Included in the subseries are the “Introduction” and “Preface” to the Pharmacopoeia, as well as draft revisions to the work. The folders are arranged alphabetically and date from 1831 to 1850.
The “Professional Affiliations” series contains documents relating to George Bacon Wood’s several institutional affiliations, including the American Philosophical Society, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Girard College, the Schuylkill River Navigation Company, and the University of Pennsylvania. Materials related to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia include correspondence sent to other College fellows regarding the state of affairs at the institution, as well as a draft of the deed to the Mutter Museum. Materials related to the University of Pennsylvania include George Bacon Wood’s correspondence with the university Board of Trustees and others associated with the university. It also includes testimonies and statements supporting certain physicians for posts to the University of Pennsylvania faculty. The folders are arranged alphabetically by institution name. The series dates from 1824 to 1873.
The “Teaching Material” series contains lectures, notes, and student information from George Bacon Wood’s teaching career. The lectures cover a range of topics including anatomy, diaretics, and medical tree barks among others. Also of note in the series are two valedictory speeches given by George Bacon Wood to graduating classes. The folders are arranged alphabetically by document type, and date from 1824-1843, with several undated folders.
The “Graphic Material and Ephemera” series contains photographs, prints, news clippings on contemporary European affairs, and other ephemeral items. Of note in the series is a print portrait of George Bacon Wood. The folders are arranged by document type, and date from 1850, 1861-1862, 1921, and undated.
The “Financial Materials” series contains an account book, a bills ledger, and a copy of Dr. David C. Wood’s estate. All of these items belonged to George Bacon Wood. The series is arranged alphabetically by document type and dates from 1849 to 1860, and undated.
- American Philosophical Society
- College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Girard College
- Hospitals--United States
- Pharmacology--history--United States
- University of Pennsylvania. Hospital
- Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Forrest Wright