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Samuel F. Earl notes on the lectures of Benjamin Rush


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

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Overview and metadata sections

Samuel F. Earl (1790 or 1792-1819 or 1821) was a physician who studied at the University of Pennsylvania and practiced in Annville, Pennsylvania. Contradictory sources indicate that Samuel Franklin Earl was born in either 1790 or 1792, probably in Pennsylvania. In 1810, he was studying medicine under Dr. Benjamin Rush at the University of Pennsylvania; and 1811, he was still in Philadelphia, serving as vice president of the Columbian Chemical Society of Philadelphia, which was founded in August of 1811 "by a number ofpersons desirous of cultivating chemical science and promoting the state of philosophical inquiry" (Columbian Chemical Society of Philadelphia, preface). Records indicate that Earl did not graduate from the University of Pennsylvania; but that he practice medicine in Annville, Pennsylvania, until his death in either 1819 or 1821, at the age of 29. His gravestone describes him a "one of Annville's early physicians … struck down in the early days of his career." He was married to Anne Toby (1797-1868).

Dr. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) was a socially and politically prominent physician who lived and practiced in Philadelphia. Born in Byberry Township, Pennsylvania, Rush was educated at the University of Edinburgh, and travelled in England and France before returning to Philadelphia in 1769. Rush played an active role in the American Revolution, signing the Declaration of Independence and serving briefly as Surgeon General of the Middle Department of the Continental Army and as a physician with the Philadelphia militia. Although most prominent Philadelphians left the city for healthier environments during the catastrophic Yellow Fever epidemics that hit Philadelphia in the 1790s, Rush remained in the city to treat the sick; though he may be equally or better remembered today for his strong advocacy of bloodletting as a therapeutic method for the disease. Rush served as a professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (previously the College of Philadelphia) from 1769 to 1789 and as a professor of the "Institutes of Medicine and Clinical Practice" from 1791 to 1813. Rush also taught courses in the "Theory and Practice of Medicine" from 1789 to 1791, and again from 1796 to 1813.

Works consulted:

Columbian Chemical Society of Philadelphia. Memoirs of the Columbian Chemical Society of Philadelphia, Volume 1. Philadelphia: Issac Peirce, 1813.

This collection consists of a volume of notes taken in November and December at Benjamin Rush's lectures on physiology, including attention to the circulatory, respiratory, vocal, digestive, muscular, nervous, and endocrine systems. The notes are written on the recto side of leaves, with some corrections and additions in pencil in the main text and additional notes occasionally entered on facing versos. Partial bookplate for and inscription by Samuel Franklin Earl inside upper cover; sketch in pencil of a man, possibly Rush, seated behind a desk, inside lower cover.

Sold by Catherine Barnes (Philadelphia), 2012.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel (collection processed before 2013)
Finding Aid Date
2020 June 11
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Notes on the lectures of Benjamin Rush, M.D., professor of ye institutes and practices of medicine in the University of Pennsylvania, 1810.
Volume 1

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