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Addinell Hewson photographs of surgery patients


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

Addinell Hewson was born November 22, 1828 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was the eighth child of the Thomas T. Hewson. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated from the Department of Arts in 1848. He then began studying medicine under Joseph Pancoast, and received his M.D. from Jefferson Medical College in 1850. His thesis was on the "Prostate Gland." After he graduated, he travelled to England and Ireland, and was a student under Sir William Wilde, at St. Mark's Hospital, and also attended lectures at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

Hewson returned to Philadelphia in 1851, and became a resident of Pennsylvania Hospital. At the end of his term there, in September, 1852, he opened his own practice, at first on Tenth below Walnut, then soon after at 1005 Walnut, where he remained until 1860, when he moved to the northeast corner of Fifteenth and Walnut. In 1875 he moved to the southwest corner of Twenty-first and Walnut, where he lived until 1881, when he moved to the southeast corner of Fifteenth and Spruce, where he continued to live and practice until the time of his death.

He was elected assistant surgeon to the Hospital of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1853, and surgeon in 1854, and served in that position until 1855, when he resigned. Hewson succeeded Dr. J. H. B. McClellan at the summer school on College Avenue, in 1855, remaining several years in that position. He was elected surgeon to Wills Hospital for Diseases of the Eye, in 1855, continuing to occupy that post until 1864. He succeeded Dr. Ellerslie Wallace as physician to the House of Refuge. In 1861, he was elected surgeon at the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1861, remaining on its staff until 1867. During the Civil War he was engaged as contract surgeon, on duty at Cherry Street Hospital. He was also surgeon of the St. George's Society from 1858 until his decease. He was elected a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1853, and was also a member of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Pathological Society, the American Medical Association, and the International Medical Association. When, at the request of Samuel D. Gross, the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery was organized in his office, April 21, 1879, Hewson acted as chairman of its first meeting.

Notably, he performed an amputation of the thigh at the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1865, using torsion instead of ligatures, and invented a torsion forceps. In 1853 he edited, at Sir William Wilde's request, the American edition of Wilde on Aural Surgery, and in 1855, Mackenzie's treatise on Diseases of the Eye. He married Rachel Macomb Wetherill, daughter of William Wetherill, M.D., on November 22, 1854; they had three sons and three daughters.

In May of 1868, he was involved in a carriage accident during which he was thrown against the iron bar of the gig. He had his first seizure in October in 1868, and over the next twenty years, they became more frequent. Hewson died September 11, 1889, at his home in Philadelphia.

Source: Morris, J. Cheston. "Biographical sketch of Addinell Hewson, M.D." Transactions and Studies of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia 3rd series, vol. 12 (1890): xxxiii-xliv.

The Addinell Hewson photographs of surgery patients is a small collection of seven photographs, dating between 1861 and 1865. The photographs include: Two of a man with a tumor on his shoulder (1863), with tumor measurements written on the back of one of the photographs; a tumor on the leg (1861) and a tumor of the breast (1861), both with detailed case histories on the back of the photographs; a thigh amputation (1861); rhinoplasty (undated); and a compound fracture of the parietal, with brief case notes on the front of the photograph.

Previously catalogued as 10b 46.

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

Collection Inventory

Tumor on shoulder of man (1 of 2), 28 December 1863.
Box 1
Tumor on shoulder of man (2 of 2), 28 December 1863.
Box 1
"Richard Thomas, aet. 68 yrs; Adm. 8.27.61 for Tumor of Leg", 1861.
Box 1
"Anna Maria Rufus, aet. 49 years; Adm. 8.26.61 for Tumor of Breast", 1861.
Box 1
"Wm. Evans aet 17. Thigh amputated by Dr. Hewson…", 1861.
Box 1
"Wm. Skelton, operated on by Dr. Pancoast and operation completed by Dr. Hewson…Rhinoplasty", undated.
Box 1
"Massey: Compound…fracture of parietal bone from explosion of grindstone…", 1865.
Box 1

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