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George Green papers

Identifier: MSS 2/013

Scope and Contents

The contents of this commonplace book of George Green, Sr., divide naturally into three series: medical lecture notes and examination questions, many from the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, 1817-1820; copies or drafts of personal correspondence, 1824 and undated; and poetry, literary sentences, and miscellaneous writings, 1858-1860 and undated.

Medical items in the volume include a copy of notes on Philip Syng Physick's lecture on inflammation, [1819?] and an undated copy of Benjamin Rush's opening lecture on the practice of medicine in which he outlines his objections to nosology. At the end of the volume are two sets of examination questions and answers used by the student for review of material. The questions on midwifery, obstetrics, and gynecology, [1817?], are probably derived from the lectures of Thomas C. James. The final medical section of the volume contains questions and answers, June 1817, based on the lectures of John Syng Dorsey on materia medica. The commonplace book also contains an extensive section of notesjfrom the lectures of Joseph Parrish on diseases of the eye, 1819, and a copy, dated December, 1820, of Parrish's 1819 lectures on diseases of the nose and throat. Another item of interest, possibly written by the unnamed medical student, is an unsigned draft of a letter from Caracas, Venezuela, dated February 1824. The letter describes the writer's good health and the possibility of making a living in Caracas as either an apothecary or a physician, then instructs the recipient to sell most of their stock and possessions, convey his resignation as apothecary to Dr. Griffitts, and request a testimonial.

The remainder of material in the volume consists of essays, poetry, literary sentences, and drafts and copies of personal letters, 1858-1860 and undated. There is also one folder of undated letters, fragments, and printed material. All of the later material in the volume appears to have been written, copied, or compiled by George Green, Sr., of Delphi, Indiana.


  • 1817 - 1860


Biographical / Historical

According to information provided in the commonplace book, George Green, Sr., was born in Philadelphia circa 1789. In later life, he resided in Delphi, Carroll County, Indiana, had one son, Tenesson, and lived at least until 1860. Nothing further can be determined about his life.

Although the commonplace book contains notes of an unnamed student from the University of Pennsylvania, 1817-1820, and a student named George Green (1799-1859) did attend the University of Pennsylvania's Medical Department from 1816 to 1821, receiving an M.D. in 1820, the facts known about his life are inconsistent with those determined about George Green, Sr., from internal evidence in the volume. The unnamed student was possibly some member of George Green's family. The student was also probably an apothecary, and, in 1824, considered establishing his family and practice in Caracas, Venezuela. Before the voyage to Caracas, the student was living in Philadelphia and working as apothecary to an "Institution" under a Dr. Griffitts. This may be a reference to the Southern Dispensary where Samuel Powel Griffiths was president of the Board of Managers at the time.


2 items (1 volume and 1 folder)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The George Green commonplace book was purchased by the Historical Collections of the College of Physicians from Lawrence Feinberg Rare Books and Manuscripts, Brooklyn, New York, in 1982. Before this, the volume was in the possession of Paul Brooks (otherwise unknown) who conveyed it to a Dr. Miles.

The volume was catalogued in 1989.
George Green papers
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States