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Joseph Leidy papers

Identifier: MSS 2/170-01

Scope and Contents

Letters received: Organized into five series: I. Correspondence, 1847-1890. II. University of Pennsylvania, 1853-1891. III. Notes and Drawings, 1874-1882. IV. Newsclippings, 1876-1933. V. Leidy Biography, 1845-1933. arranged alphabetically by correspondent, then chronologically.

Letters, notes, and drawings, newsclippings, and unpublished biography written by Joseph Leidy II. Bulk of collection consists of letters received by Joseph Leidy, 1852-1890, concerning anatomy, fossils, mineralogy, natural history, zoology, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, and personal, financial, and property affairs. Many letters describe and convey specimens to Leidy for his examination, identification, and consideration. Major correspondents are: Charles C. Abbott, Alexander Agassiz, Harrison Allen, Colin Arrott, T. S. Arthur, Jr., Spencer Fullerton Baird, E. R. Beadle, Clarence S. Bement, C. S. Boutcher, H. W. Boyd, J. Van Allen Carter, George Hammell Cook, Thomas S. Foulke, William Parker Foulke, Albert Fricke, Augustus C. Hamlin, Joseph Henry, Hugh L. Hodge, F. V. Hayden, Joseph P. Hazard, F. S. Holmes, William H. Jones, George Frederick Kunz, George W. Lawrence, Isaac Lea, Philip Leidy, J. H. McQuillen, Edward H. Magill, F. B. Meek, William A. B. Norcom, Josiah Clark Nott, Thomas C. Porter, Samuel Powel, H. D. Schmidt, Aubrey H. Smith, Charles E. Smith, S. C. Thornton, James Tyson, Samuel Tyson, William S. Vaux, Henry A. Ward, and Joseph Willcox. Includes examples of letters sent by Leidy, 1847-1885, to various correspondents.

Also includes material concerning Leidy’s association with the University of Pennsylvania, 1853-1891; four examples of annotations and drawings, 1874-1882; newsclippings concerning Leidy’s life, death, and related subjects, 1876-1933; and undated manuscript, typescript copy, and reference material assembled for unpublished biography of Leidy by his nephew, Joseph Leidy II.


  • 1845 - 1933


Biographical / Historical

Joseph Leidy, Philadelphia anatomist and naturalist, was born on 9 Sept. 1823. He married Anna Harden in 1864; they had one adoptive daughter, Alwinia. Leidy died on 29 Apr. 1891. Leidy received an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1844. From 1846 to 1853, he was a lecturer at the Franklin Medical College. In 1853, he succeeded William E. Horner as professor of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania; Leidy held this post until his death. During the Civil War, he served as a surgeon at Satterlee General Hospital in Philadelphia. From 1870 to 1885, Leidy was professor of natural history at Swarthmore College. From 1881 to 1891, he was president of the Academy of Natural Sciences; he was also president of the Wagner Free Institute of Science. He made many contributions to anatomy, vertebrate paleontology, and parasitology. Leidy became a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1851.


3.2 Linear feet (8 document boxes)

Language of Materials


Joseph Leidy papers
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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