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Benjamin Rush papers


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.

Overview and metadata sections

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. In 1783, he became Physician at Pennsylvania Hospital. In 1786, he helped to establish the Philadelphia Dispensary and was a physician there until his death. Rush was also 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 Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia from 1787 to 1793.

The Benjamin Rush papers date from 1787 to 1889, although the bulk of the material spans the years 1796 to 1810. These papers document some of Rush's work with patients through invoices, receipts of bills paid, and correposndence; as well as Rush's notes on various medical topics, including the liver. The collection is divided into four series: Correspondence, Financial, Writings, and Other records.

Series I: Correspondence contains letters to and from Benjamin Rush from 1787 to 1812. Of note are the manuscript copies of five letters to a John McCleland for the years 1797 to 1812, transcribed in 1889. Series II: Financial holds bills to and receipts paid by patients of Rush for the years 1794 through 1815, as well as some estate accounts of Rush, including invoices for home furnishings. Series III: Writings makes up the bulk of the collection and spans the years 1797 to 1810. This series contains several of Rush's addresses on various medical topics and notes on patients and medical texts. Series IV: Other records houses admissions forms to Pennsylvania Hospital for two of Rush's patients, a certificate of internment, a prescription for Jacob Broom, and a draft of a copyright agreeement for one of Rush's books.

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

Collection Inventory

Letter from John Herbst, 18 June 1787.
Box 1 Folder 1
Letter to John Nicholson, Esquire, 28 November 1792.
Box 1 Folder 2
Copies of letters to John McCleland [sic] (1797-1812), 1889.
Box 1 Folder 20

Patient accounts, circa 1794-1815.
Box 1 Folder 3
Patient accounts, circa 1803-1811.
Box 1 Folder 4
Rush's accounts, circa 1805-1815.
Box 1 Folder 5

An account of the life and character of Christopher Ludwick [fragment], 1801.
Box 1 Folder 6
An oration for James Montgomery, 1805.
Box 1 Folder 7
Directions for Manuel Eyre, 1799.
Box 1 Folder 8
Excretions of the body, undated.
Box 1 Folder 9
"Medical Inquiries and Observations," 2nd edition, volume 4, pages 300 and 335, 1805.
Box 1 Folder 10
Notes on the mind, its diseases, and fevers, undated.
Box 1 Folder 11
Notes on non-medical topics, circa 1809.
Box 1 Folder 21
Notes on patients and various medical topics, 1807; undated.
Box 1 Folder 12
Notes on a work of Lind, circa 1810.
Box 1 Folder 13
Notes, unidentified, undated.
Box 1 Folder 14
On the liver, undated.
Box 1 Folder 15

Admissions forms to Pennsylvania Hospital, 1796.
Box 1 Folder 16
Certificate for internment for J. Wright, 20 February 1810.
Box 1 Folder 17
Draft of an agreement disposing to Edward Earle, circa 1810.
Box 1 Folder 18
Prescription to Jacob Broom, 1809.
Box 1 Folder 19

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