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Joseph Hartshorne letter to Nicholas Chervin

Identifier: MSS 2/038-02

Scope and Contents

Chervin, 10 May 1821, requests Hartshorne to relate his experiences and opinion concerning the contagiousness of yellow fever. Hartshorne replies, 22 May 1821, that he can find no evidence for contagiousness and theorizes that yellow fever is tied to excessive summer heat in Philadelphia and mentions his trip to Batavia (1806-1807) where the disease is less violent due to sea breezes. Hartshorne then describes the outbreak of yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1820 and the evacuation of the Water Street area.


  • 1821


Biographical / Historical

Joseph Hartshorne, Philadelphia physician, was born in Alexandria, Va., on 12 Dec. 1779. He was the son of William and Susannah Saunders Hartshorne. In 1813, Hartshorne married Anna Bonsall; they had several children, including two physicians, Edward and Henry. Joseph Hartshorne died, probably from gall-stones, at Brandywine Springs, near Wilmington, Del., on 20 Aug. 1850. Hartshorne studied medicine in the District of Columbia at the office of James Craik. In 1801, he became Resident Apprentice and Apothecary at Pennsylvania Hospital, in Philadelphia. He received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1805. Hartshorne opened a combined apothecary and physician’s office on Market Street, then concentrated on his medical practice. From 1809 to 1810, he served in the Outpatient Department at Pennsylvania Hospital, and was elected to the medical staff of the hospital in 1810. From 1815 to 1821, Hartshorne was Surgeon at Pennsylvania Hospital; he resigned to devote himself to his practice. After the death of Caspar Wistar in 1818, Hartshorne succeeded to much of his practice. He became a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1824.


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Joseph Hartshorne letter to Nicholas Chervin
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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