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Dr. Hiram Corson family papers


Held at: Historical Society of Montgomery County [Contact Us]1654 Dekalb Street, Norristown, PA, 19401

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Montgomery County. 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

Dr. Hiram Corson was born in 1804 to Joseph and Hannah Dickinson Corson in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He was educated at the Friends' School at Plymouth Meeting under Joseph Foulke and at Friends' Select School in Philadelphia before earning his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1828.

Corson married Ann Jones Foulke in 1833 and settled near Plymouth Meeting. The couple had nine children together. Their son Charles Follen Corson (1842-1889), a lawyer by profession, served in the Pennsylvania Militia during the Civil War. Another son, Edward Foulke Corson (born 1834), was a Navy physician who died in his 20s. Hiram's eldest brother Alan W. Foulke (1788-1852) was a scientist and scholar.

Dr. Corson was a practicing physician and a prolific writer who contributed numerous articles about diseases and treatments to medical journals. However, he viewed as "my great work" his writings and efforts that contributed to the recognition of women physicians by the medical profession, and the passing of a law in Pennsylvania to put the female insane in the care of women physicians.

He was also an ardent abolitionist, a founding member of the Plymouth Meeting Abolition Society who probably helped escaping slaves on the Underground Railroad. (Contosta 44)


Contosta, David R., and Gail Momjian. Plymouth and Whitemarsh Townships. Images of America Series. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 2003.

Corson, Hiram. The Corson Family: A History of the Descendants of Benjamin Corson, Son of Cornelius Corssen of Staten Island, New York. Philadelphia: H.L. Everett, 1906.

The Dr. Hiram Corson family papers consist primarily of the papers of Dr. Hiram Corson, with a small amount of materials by other family members. The highlight of the collection is the diaries of Dr. Corson, which date from 1848 to 1896. The diaries evidence Hiram's interest in the causes of abolitionism and recognition of women physicians, as well as offer insight into his daily life. Supporting these themes are collected newspaper clippings, correspondence on slavery and other topics, medical journal articles, reports, and abolitionist society pamphlets. Corson's medical career is documented in a student journal from 1827 and a ledger from his medical practice.

The collection also includes a ledger of genealogical research notes compiled by Dr. Corson, 1864-1892, and papers from other family members. There is a diary from each of Dr. Corson's sons who died before him: Charles Follen Carson and Edward F. Carson, diaries dated 1855-1860 and 1859, respectively. The collection also includes correspondence and financial records from Dr. Corson's brother Alan, circa 1835-1850.

Modern transcriptions of Corson's diaries are available on site.

Historical Society of Montgomery County
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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