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John Ashhurst, Jr. correspondence

Identifier: MSS 2/075-01

Scope and Contents

This extensive collection of the correspondence of John Ashhurst, Jr., documents his professional interests, editorial work, and contact with colleagues in the surgical field through the courseof his career, 1868-1900. Most items concern responses to Ashhurst's request for articles for the International encyclopaedia of surgery, replies to invitations, and case descriptions or referrals. The collection also contains a few items, 1863-1864, from Ashhurst's service during the Civil War, as well as an 1835 autograph letter of Philip Syng Physick and three medical receipts, 1848, 1852, and 1880, collected by Philadelphia merchant and banker John Ashhurst (1809-1892).

Major correspondents in the collection are: William Adams, D.Hayes Agnew, Harrison Allen, Walter F. Atlee, J. S. Billings,Albert H. Buck, Henry T. Butlin, Phineas S. Conner, Anthony H.Corley, Edward Cowles, L. A. Duhring, G. E. Fenwick, SimonFlexner, William Goodell, J. W. S. Gouley, S. W. Gross, ReginaldHarrison, James H. Hutchinson, W. H. Kingston, Richard J. Levis,Samuel Lewis, William MacCormac, Henry Morris, C. B. Nancrede,William F. Norris, George A. Otis, Frederick A. Packard, William Pepper, W. S. W. Ruschenberger, Lewis A. Sayre, Albert H. Smith,F. R. Sturgis, Frederick Treves, James Tyson, William H. VanBuren, J. Collins Warren, J. William White, James C. White, and John A. Wyeth. There are also folders of letters from the Collegeof Physicians of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania.

Items of note include: letters from W. F. Atlee, 1878, concerning a misconduct charge leveled against William Goodell; J. S. Billings' plans for a medical subject catalogue, 1874-1876; HoraceY. Evans on a case of occlusion of the urethra, 26 February 1876; letters, 1873, from J. W. S. Gouley and William H. Van Buren concerning a controversy over the invention of tunnelled urethral instruments; S. W. Gross' report, 9 February 1876, on a case ofremoval of the breast; J. H. Hutchinson on a misdiagnosis, 18 March 1877; Ezra Michener on bone fractures, 24 November 1881; two letters, 1873, from Henry M'Quiston concerning "Golden Blossom No.2", a supposed cure for syphilis; and letters from the University of Pennsylvania notifying Ashhurst of his election as Professor ofClinical Surgery, 6 June 1877, and John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery, 8 January 1889.


  • 1863 - 1900


Biographical / Historical

John Ashhurst, Jr., surgeon, was born in Philadelphia on 23 August 1839. He was a son of John Ashhurst, a merchant and banker. Ashhurst married Sarah Stokes Wayne on 8 December 1864; they had seven children, including physician Astley P. C. Ashhurst. John Ashhurst, Jr., suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on 2 August 1898. He remained partially paralyzed until his death on 7 July 1900.

Ashhurst attended the University of Pennsylvania, receiving his A.B. in 1857, then his A.M. and M.D. in 1860. He then was a resident physician at Pennsylvania Hospital. From August 1861 until December 1862, Ashhurst was Assistant Surgeon at the U.S.Army Hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania; from December 1862 until the end of the Civil War, he was Surgeon and Executive Officer of the Cuyler U.S. Army General Hospital in Germantown. From 1863 until 1880, Ashhurst was Attending Surgeon at the Hospital of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. He was also Surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. From 1877 to 1900, he was Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and, in 1889, became the John Rhea Barton Professor of Surgery.

Ashhurst wrote several monographs, including Injuries of the spine(1865) and his Principles and practice of surgery (1877). He also edited the International encyclopaedia of surgery (1881-1886), the Transactions of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and from 1867 to 1874, wrote many of the reviews of surgical literature appearing in the American journal of the medical sciences.

John Ashhurst, Jr., was elected to fellowship in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1863. He served as vice president,1895-1898, and president, 1898-1900. Ashhurst was also a member of the American Surgical Association, the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, the Pathological Society of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery.


.4 Linear feet (1 document box)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

It is probable but uncertain that this collection of the correspondence of John Ashhurst, Jr., was donated to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by Astley P. C. Ashhurst on 8 September 1924. A few additional items may have been donated on27 October 1924.

In the 1960s or 1970s, the correspondence was removed from the Autograph Collection and a preliminary examination made. The collection was processed and catalogued in March 1990.
John Ashhurst, Jr. correspondence
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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