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Samuel W. Gross papers

Identifier: MSS 2/203

Scope and Contents

Autographs of Philadelphia physicians, formerly in the possession of Samuel W. Gross, contains circa 900 death or interment certificates written by Philadelphia area physicians from 1806 to 1835. The certificates, arranged in a rough chronological order, indicate the common causes and ages of mortality in the city during the early 19th century.

Each certificate attests to the cause and date of death, giving the name and age of the deceased. Many of the certificates concern individuals who died in the infirmary of the Philadelphia Almshouse or Pennsylvania Hospital. Occasionally, other information, including race, residence, and occupation, is included. Many of the deceased were infants and children; the names of parents are usually included in these cases.


  • 1806-1835


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Samuel Weissel Gross, Philadelphia surgeon and son of physician Samuel D. Gross, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 4 February 1837. In 1876, he married Grace Linzee Revere, who later married Sir William Osler. Gross died of pneumonia in Philadelphia on 16 April 1889.

Gross received an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College in 1857 and practiced medicine in Philadelphia. He was a surgeon and medical director during the Civil War and surgeon to the Howard Hospital, Philadelphia Hospital, and Hospital of Jefferson Medical College. He was a lecturer at Jefferson on the diseases of the genito urinary system and, in 1882, was given the chair of surgery at Jefferson in conjunction with J. H. Brinton. Samuel W. Gross was known for his use of antiseptic surgery and radical surgery in cancer cases.

Gross was a founder of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery and a member of the Pathological Society of Philadelphia, the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia County Medical Society. He was elected to fellowship in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1868.


2 items (1 volume and 1 box)

Custodial History

Autographs of Philadelphia physicians was donated to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by Grace R. Osler, former wife of Samuel W. Gross, on 28 May 1902. The volume was originally deposited in the Samuel D. Gross Library.

In August, 1978, the volume was water damaged. It was frozen and vacuum freeze dried in 1979.

An abstract of the information in the volume, compiled by Kevin Crawford in 1990, is available in the repository. The volume was catalogued in 1991.
Samuel W. Gross papers MSS 2/203 MSS 2/203
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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