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Collection of lecture notes from courses taught by Nathaniel Chapman


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Nathaniel Chapman was an American physician. Born in Summer Hill, Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1780, to George Chapman and Amelia MacRae, he received his early education at the Classical Academy of Alexandria. He moved to Philadelphia in 1797, where he studied under Benjamin Rush and attended lectures at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he earned his M.D. in 1800 with a thesis on hydrophobia. Upon graduation, he traveled to the United Kingdom, where he spent a year in London as a pupil of John Abernethy, and three in Edinburgh, where he attended lectures at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh. In 1804 he returned to the United States and set up a medical practice in Philadelphia. 1806 at age 26, he was elected adjunct to the Professor of Midwifery at the University of Pennsylvania, and soon thereafter was made chair of Materia Medica.

In 1808 he married Rebekah Biddle, the daughter of Clement Biddle and Rebekah Cornell of Philadelphia. Upon the death of Benjamin Rush in 1813, he was transferred to the chair of Theory and Practice of Medicine, which he would retain for nearly forty years, until his retirement in 1850. He also founded and served as lecturer at the Medical Institute of Philadelphia, the first post-graduate medical school in the United States. Chapman founded the American Journal of the Medical Sciences in 1820 and served as its editor for some years, and also served as President of both the Philadelphia Medical Society and the American Philosophical Society. He was the founding president of the American Medical Association in 1847. Chapman died in Philadelphia in 1853.

Works consulted:

"Death of Nathaniel Chapman, M.D." The Medical Examiner, August, 1853, Philadelphia, PA.

Chapman, Sigismunda Mary Francis, A History of the Chapman and Alexander Families, Richmond, VA: The Dietz Printing Company, 1947

"Mrs. Nathaniel Chapman (Rebekah Biddle)," The Met 150,, Accessed April 3, 2020.

This collection consists of manuscript notes, taken by students from 1813 to 1833 at the University of Pennsylvania, on Chapman's lectures covering the topics of theory and practice of medicine, the practice of physic, and pathology. Some remain undated and unsigned. Item 7 contains volume 2 only. Item 8 concerns pathology. Various manuscripts taken or copied by the hands of W. Gries, Jacob Baughman, Gustavus B. Campbell, Glover D. Gilliam, Leonard Lawrence, John E. Espy, Charles Wilkins Short, and John Rhein.

Gifts of D. T. Preston, Dr. William Pepper III, Dr. E. F. Younger, and William H. Courtenay, Jr.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Sam Allingham (processed before 2013)
Finding Aid Date
2020 June 19
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This collection is open for research use.

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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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