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Benjamin Rush Letter and Portraits


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 was born in Byberry Township, PA on January 4, 1746. He was an American physician, politician and educator who is best known for his activities during the American Revolution and for signing the Declaration of Independence. Rush studied at what is now Princeton University and then went on for a medical degree at Edinburgh University. He subsequently returned to Philadelphia to begin his medical practice and pursue publishing. A member of the Continental Congress and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Rush also founded Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He also helped found the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. During his tenure, he urged College Fellows to maintain a medicinal garden as a natural and cooperative way to replenish their medicine chests. The College finally took his advice in 1937 when it celebrated its 150th anniversary and established the Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden adjacent to the Mütter Museum.

He married his wife, Julia Stockton, on January 11, 1776. They had 13 children, 9 of whom survived their first year: John, Ann Emily, Richard, Mary B, James, Richard, Julia, Samuel, and William. The rest of the children, Susannah, Elizabeth Graeme, William, and Benjamin, all died in infancy.

Rush died of typhus on April 19, 1813 at the age of 67 in Philadelphia, PA.

Sources Editors. "Benjamin Rush Biography." A&E Networks Television, September 3, 2019.

"The Benjamin Rush Medicinal Plant Garden." The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Accessed February 26, 2020.

The Benjamin Rush Letter and Portrait collection is dated 1809.

The collection consists of a letter written by Benjamin Rush to his wife, Julia, dated 1809; and two portraits, one of Benjamin Rush and the other of his wife, Julia, clipped from a newspaper.

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Morgan Rafel
Finding Aid Date
February 2020

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