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Benjamin Rush letter to John Morgan


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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Benjamin Rush, Philadelphia physician, was born on 24 December 1745 (O.S.) in Byberry Township. He married Julia Stockton in 1776; they had thirteen children. Rush died on 19 April 1813. Rush received his B.A. from Princeton College in 1760, then served a six-year apprenticeship with John Redman. He was one of the first to attend William Shippen's anatomy lectures. In 1768, he received his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh. In 1769, Rush became Professor of Chemistry at the College of Philadelphia; in 1789 he became Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine.

When the College of Philadelphia formed the University of Pennsylvania in 1791, Rush became Professor of the Institutes of Medicine and Clinical Medicine. He also taught students privately. In 1786, he helped to establish the Philadelphia Dispensary and was a physician there until his death. Rush also was a member of the Provincial Congress in 1776, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and in 1777, became Surgeon-General of the Continental Army. In 1799, he became Treasurer of the U.S. Mint. Rush was known for advocating bleeding and purging to treat yellow fever. He was a founding Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

John Morgan was born in Philadelphia on June 10, 1735. He earned his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1763, after which he studied medical practice in Paris. During this time, he was elected to the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris in 1764 and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and of London in 1765. Morgan was one of the founding Fellows of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia (CPP). In 1788, he was the first Fellow to donate books to the newly-established CPP library.

Along with William Shippen, Jr., he was co-founder of the Medical College at the University of Pennsylvania, the first medical school in colonial America; and he served as the second "Chief physician & director general" of the Continental Army (an early name for the Surgeon General of the United States Army). He also co-founded the American Philosophical Society in 1766 in Philadelphia.

He died on October 15, 1789, after a brief illness.

This small collection consists of one letter from Benjamin Rush to John Morgan, dated Edinburgh, July 27, 1768. Rush mostly discusses the lectures he plans to attend, especially those given by Doctors Black and Cullen. He also mentions the order of names in the dedication of his thesis, expressing hope that Morgan will not be offended that his name is not the first listed.

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Chrissie Perella
Finding Aid Date
April 2019

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