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Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard papers

Identifier: MSS 2/134

Scope and Contents

This small collection contains three brief holograph manuscripts, 1890-1891, of C. E. Brown Sequard. Two of the manuscripts, "Nouvelles remarques" and "Histoire et critique" concern the therapeutic use of animal testicular extract as an aid to rejuvenation and a specific against diseases such as tuberculosis. The third manuscript, "De la perte de connaissance" concerns epilepsy. All three manuscripts were published, "Nouvelles remarques" in Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des seances et memoires la Societe de Biologie (1890), the other two in Archives de physiologiejnormale et pathologie (1891).

The collection also includes an autographed letter signed by Brown Sequard, 27 December 1890, conveying the three manuscripts to S. Weir Mitchell.


  • 1890 - 1891


Biographical / Historical

Charles Edouard Brown Sequard, physiologist, was born on 8 April 1817 on Mauritius. He was married three times: to Ellen Fletcher (d. 1868) by whom he had one son; in 1873 to Maria R. Carlisle (d. 1875) by whom he had one daughter; and in 1878 to Elizabeth Emma Dakin. Brown Sequard died on 1 April 1894.

Brown Sequard received a bachelor of letters and a bachelor of science from the University of Paris, then received an M.D. from the Ecole de Medecine in Paris in 1840. He traveled extensively and held several teaching positions, including professor of physiology at the Medical College of Virginia, 1855, professor of physiology and pathology at Harvard University, 1864-1867, and professor of comparative and experimental pathology at the Ecole de Medecine in Paris, 1869-1871. In 1873, he was practicing in New York, but in 1878 assumed the chair of experimental medicine at the College de France. He also founded the Archives of scientific and practical medicine.

In 1849, Brown Sequard discovered sensory decussation in the spinal cord and worked for most of his life on diseases of the spinal column, nervous system, and muscular system. In the last years of his life, Brown Sequard developed the popular "Methode Sequardienne", advocating the use of an extract of testicular fluid to rejuvenate the body, cure certain diseases, and prolong life.

Brown Sequard was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London, the Royal Society of England, and the American Academy of Sciences.


1 folder

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Small collections

Custodial History

The three Brown Sequard manuscripts were donated to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by S. Weir Mitchell of Philadelphia on 13 January 1891. On 27 December 1890, Brown Sequard himself sent the manuscripts to Mitchell, apparently at the latter's request, specifically for presentation to the College.
Charles-Edouard Brown-Séquard papers
Language of description
Script of description
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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