Skip to main content

Benjamin Rush letters to John Morgan

Identifier: MSS 420

Scope and Contents

This small collection consists of three letters from Benjamin Rush to John Morgan. Rush mostly discusses the lectures he plans to attend, especially those given by Doctors Black and Cullen. In his letter dated Edinburgh, July 27, 1768, he also mentions the order of names in the dedication of his thesis, expressing hope that Morgan will not be offended that his name is not the first listed.


  • 1768


Conditions Governing Access

The July 27, 1768 letter is temporarily unavailable for research while it undergoes conservation and digitization. This project is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission's Historical Archives and Records Care Grant, a program funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Benjamin Rush biography

Benjamin Rush, Philadelphia physician, was born on 24 December 1745 (O.S.) in Byberry Township. He married Julia Stockton in 1776; they had thirteen children. Rush died on 19 April 1813. Rush received his B.A. from Princeton College in 1760, then served a six-year apprenticeship with John Redman. He was one of the first to attend William Shippen’s anatomy lectures. In 1768, he received his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh. In 1769, Rush became Professor of Chemistry at the College of Philadelphia; in 1789 he became Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine.

When the College of Philadelphia formed the University of Pennsylvania in 1791, Rush became Professor of the Institutes of Medicine and Clinical Medicine. He also taught students privately. In 1786, he helped to establish the Philadelphia Dispensary and was a physician there until his death. Rush also was a member of the Provincial Congress in 1776, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and in 1777, became Surgeon-General of the Continental Army. In 1799, he became Treasurer of the U.S. Mint. Rush was known for advocating bleeding and purging to treat yellow fever. He was a founding Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

John Morgan biography

John Morgan was born in Philadelphia on June 10, 1735. He earned his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1763, after which he studied medical practice in Paris. During this time, he was elected to the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris in 1764 and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and of London in 1765. Morgan was one of the founding Fellows of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia (CPP). In 1788, he was the first Fellow to donate books to the newly-established CPP library.

Along with William Shippen, Jr., he was co-founder of the Medical College at the University of Pennsylvania, the first medical school in colonial America; and he served as the second “Chief physician & director general” of the Continental Army (an early name for the Surgeon General of the United States Army). He also co-founded the American Philosophical Society in 1766 in Philadelphia.

He died on October 15, 1789, after a brief illness.


1 folder (3 letters)

Language of Materials



This small collection consists of one letter from Benjamin Rush to John Morgan, dated Edinburgh, July 27, 1768. The topics of the letter include lectures attended by Rush and his thesis.

Physical Location

Small collections


Benjamin Rush letters to John Morgan
Chrissie Perella
April 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2024 May 23: Rayna Andrews updated this finding aid to include two additional letters found in the Historical Medical Library's collection.

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