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Washington L. Atlee correspondence


Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]19 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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.

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Washington Lemuel Atlee was born in Lancaster, PA, on February 22, 1808. He began working in a dry goods and grocery store at the age of 14, but soon left to study medicine under his eldest brother, Dr. John Light Atlee. Atlee also studied languages, natural sciences, and philosophy, and in the last three years of his informal medical education, he worked in Lancaster County Hospital. By 1826, when Atlee started his formal medical education at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, he had already attended over 40 obstetrics cases. He graduated from Jefferson in the spring of 1829 after completing two full courses of lectures. During his time at Jefferson, Atlee also accepted an invitation to be a private pupil of Dr. George McClellan, Professor of Surgery; and studied botany, while corresponding with Dr. William P. C. Barton, Professor of Materia Medica and Botany. Later he moved to Mount Joy, Lancaster County, PA, and married Ann Eliza Hoff on April 15, 1830; they had 10 children. In 1834, Atlee and his family moved back to Lancaster, where he was elected to the staff of Lancaster County Hospital and was appointed Treasurer to the Commissions of Lancaster County. He gave regular courses of lectures on chemistry to private classes, and organized The Lancaster Conservatory of Arts and Sciences, where he delivered lectures on hygiene. Atlee also helped establish the Lancaster County Medical Society. In 1844, Atlee accepted the position of Chair of Medical Chemistry in the Medical Department of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, where he stayed until 1852. He assisted in founding the Philadelphia County Medical Society, the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, and the American Medical Society. Atlee was elected as a Fellow of The College of Physicians in 1846. Although a general practitioner, he was well-known for his operations of oviarotomy. He died on September 7, 1878, in Philadelphia. Source: Toner, J. M. "Biographical Sketch of Washington L. Atlee of Philadelphia." Lancaster, Pa.: Inquirer P. & P. Co., 1878. Accessed 12 June 2018. <

This collection, Washington L. Atlee correspondence, contains 14 letters, all written to Atlee during the years 1851 to 1855. The earliest letters, dated 1851, are from two of Atlee's patients, Edward B. Wayne and Ann D. Woodburn[?]. Wayne discusses his health issues and anecdotes about the health resort, White Sulphur Springs in Cumberland County, PA, where Wayne is a patient. Woodburn[?] discusses health issues, family life, and an apparent misunderstanding between her son or husband, George, and Atlee. The later letters, dated from 1852 to 1855, are all from a D. W. Patterson and are in regards to a legal case that Atlee was involved in and which referenced a foreign attachment in an estate case. A foreign attachment is defined as "is a procedure or legal process by which a third party, rather than the creditor, attaches a debtor's property." Source: US Legal, Inc. "Foreign attachment." Definitions, Accessed 12 June 2018. <

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Chrissie Perella
Finding Aid Date
12 June 2018

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