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Robley Dunglison autobiographical ana


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

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Robley Dunglison, physician and educator, was born in Keswick, England, on 4 January 1798. He married Harriette Leadham (d. 1853) in 1824; they had seven children, including physician Richard James Dunglison. Robley Dunglison died in Philadelphia on 1 April 1869.

Dunglison attended the Royal College of Surgeons in 1818, received a license as surgeon apothecary from the Society of Apothecaries, and began practice in 1819. In 1823, he received an M.D. from the University of Erlangen. He then became accoucheur to the Eastern Dispensary in London and lectured on midwifery.

From 1823 to 1833, Dunglison was professor of medicine at the University of Virginia; from 1833 to 1836, he was professor of medicine at the University of Maryland. He was the personal physician to United States Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James, Madison, and James Monroe, and consulted on Andrew Jackson's medical treatments. In 1836, he came to Philadelphia to become professor of the institutes of medicine at Jefferson Medical College. He held this post until 1868.

Dunglison founded and edited the American Library and Intelligencer (1837-1842) and published several works, including Human physiology (1832), Elements of hygiene (1835), Practice of medicine (1842), and A new dictionary of medical science and literature (1833).

Robley Dunglison became a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1838. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Medical Society, the American Medical Association, and the Academy of Natural Sciences.

The Robley Dunglison autobiographical ana was written by Dunglison, circa 1852, and is comprised of eight volumes, with some supplemental correspondence previously tipped in. An ana is a collection of memorable sayings of, or anecdotes and interesting information about a person or place. Dunglison's ana preserves personal recollections thought to be of particular interest to Dunglison's family. His recollections include those of the Presidents and other prominent 19th-century men he treated, his experiences teaching at medical schools, and his work with William Beaumont on the physiology of gastric digestion.

The correspondence contained in this collection include a letter from Dunglison to his son, 1853; information about the resolution for founding the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind, 1854; letters from colleagues about various medical topics and discussions of published articles; and two letters to his mother, 1803 and 1810, about his schooling and his needs for a new waistcoat. Correspondents include: J. P. River, S. A. Allibone, J. P. Kennedy, J. K. Kane, E. M. Stanton, H. Holland, W. C. River, H. W. Acland, A. Van Ness, A. D. Bache, G. Sherwood, W. Hedenheime, J. J. Smith, A. R. Monpscul[?], J. Pennington, E. R. Beadle, S. Kopman, S. H. Dickson, S. D. Gross, and E. Wallace. These names were taken from the envelopes in which the letters were housed by former Library staff.

Each folder corresponds with one envelope; in two cases the envelopes are preserved in their respective folders because of the amount of information they contain.

In December 1963, Dr. Samuel X. Radbill published an edited version of Dunglison's ana in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. The Library holds several copies of Radbill's publication.

Previously catalogued as 10c 14.

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Chrissie Perella
Finding Aid Date
February 2020

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