Hugh Lenox Hodge 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
Hugh Lenox Hodge was born in Philadelphia on June 27, 1796, the son of physician Hugh Lodge and Maria Blanchard. He graduated at the top of his class from Princeton University in 1814. He then studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania under the tutelage of Dr. Caspar Wistar, receiving his M.D. in 1818.
After graduating, Hodge wished to continue his medical studies in Europe. However, he was not able to secure funding for this endeavor, and elected to practice medicine in India for several months. Hodge’s hope was to raise enough money through his India trip to eventually afford European study. The India trip did not prove financially successful; however he observed cases of Asiatic cholera, then unknown to the Western world.
Upon returning to the United States in 1820, Hodge became a physician at the Philadelphia Dispensary, and then a lecturer on anatomy at that institution a year later. In 1823, he was elected lecturer on Principles of Surgery for the Medical Institute in Philadelphia. Hodge furthered his contributions to surgery in 1826 by becoming editor of the “North American Medical and Surgical Journal.” However, Hodge’s surgical career came a few years later. This was due to Hodge’s failing eyesight, as well as the solicitation from Dr. William Dewees in 1832 to replace him for the position of lecturer in Obstetrics at the Medical Institute. That same year, Hodge’s shift to obstetrics was cemented by his election to the position as physician-in-charge of the lying-in department of Pennsylvania Hospital.
In 1835, Hodge replaced Dr. William Dewees again, as Professor of Obstetrics and the Diseases of Women at the University of Pennsylvania. Hodge was very successful in this position, and received praise from the medical community both in America and abroad.
Unfortunately failing eyesight compelled Hodge to retire in 1863, and upon retirement was granted Professor Emeritus status by the University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees. At that time Hodge presented his collection of medical material to the University of Pennsylvania Museum, under the stipulation it should always be under the curatorship of the Professor of Obstetrics.
Hodge greatly contributed to the medical literature, particularly later in life. In 1860, he wrote the book Diseases Peculiar to Women, including Displacement of the Uterus; and in 1864, wrote Principles and Practices of Obstetrics. Both of these works were written with the help of Hodge’s sons due to his failing eyesight.
Hugh Lenox Hodge married Margaret E. Aspinwall of New York in 1828, having seven sons. One of his sons, Hugh Lenox, also became a prominent physician. Hodge passed on February 26th, 1873.
The Hugh Lenox Hodge Papers collection documents portions of Dr. Hugh Lenox Hodge’s medical career. It contains two series: “Correspondence,” and “Subject Files,” dating from 1817 to 1833, 1870, 1932, and undated. Materials in the collection include correspondence, case notes, and several documents regarding cholera outbreak in Philadelphia during the 1830s. Researchers interested in Hodge’s medical career or the history of cholera, particularly in Philadelphia, will find material of interest in this collection.
The “Correspondence” series largely contains letters sent from Hugh Lenox Hodge to colleagues. Included in the series are two letters sent by Hodge to Dr. Rene La Roche in 1828, one of which announces Hodge’s marriage. Also in the series are several letters sent to Dr. Joseph Carson in the 1850s, transcribed by Hodge’s son due to failing eyesight. One folder contains a letter sent by Dr. Edward Hodge (grandson of Hugh Lenox Hodge) to Dr. Astley P. C. Ashhurst regarding his grandfather’s papers. The folders are arranged chronologically.
The “Subject Files” series contains case notes, writings, catalogs, and financial material. Hodge’s trip to India in 1818 and 1819 is documented in the folder “Case Book number 5: Philadelphia and Calcutta, including patients treated at sea.” Also in the series are writings by Hodge on Cholera from 1818, 1819, and 1833. The titles of these writings are noted in the folder title. Also located in the series are Hodge’s writings (transcribed by his son) on physician conduct. Other items of note include books containing Hodge’s prescriptions records, and a catalog of Hodge’s private medical library.
- Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Forrest Wright