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Benjamin Rush correspondence

Identifier: MSS 2/096

Scope and Contents

The collection includes a reply by Benjamin Rush and twelve other Philadelphia physicians, Charles Caldwell, William Dewees, John Redman Coxe, Philip Syng Physick, James Reynolds, Francis Bowes Sayre, John C. Otto, William Boys, Samuel Cooper, James Stuart, Felix Pascalis Ouviere, and Joseph Strong, to inquiry of Thomas Mifflin on 1797 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Rush maintains yellow fever is identical with bilious remitting fever of warm climates, discusses source of 1797 outbreak and earlier epidemics, and makes recommendations for prevention of future outbreaks. A direct consequence of this report was establishment of Academy of Medicine of Philadelphia in 1798.

In addition, also included in the collection are a holograph bill for medical services to Bradford and family, July through Nov., 1800, which includes charge for inoculation for smallpox; and a letter which describes a consultation with Philip Syng Physick and recommendations to treat an affliction of Law’s neck. inoculation for smallpox.


  • 1800, undated


Biographical / Historical

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. In 1783, he became Physician at Pennsylvania Hospital. In 1786, he helped to establish the Philadelphia Dispensary and was a physician there until his death. Rush was also 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 Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia from 1787 to 1793.


3 folders

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Small collections
Benjamin Rush 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