Benjamin Rush

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Dr. Benjamin Rush Materials in the Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library

  • Notes on Medical Lectures: As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, William Baird Westmore of Petersburg, Virginia, took notes on Rush’s lectures on the practice of medicine, 1811-1812.
  • Admission Tickets: To Rush’s lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in 1799 and 1801 belonging to Carey Wilkinson of Williamsburg, Virginia. From the Carey Wilkinson Papers.
  • Certificate of Attendance: Signed by Rush, testifying to the attendance of Carey Wilkinson of Williamsburg, Virginia, at the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1802. From the Carey Wilkinson Papers.
  • An Account of the Bilious Remitting and Intermitting Yellow Fever, As It Appeared in Philadelphia in the Year 1794. Rush wrote this analysis of the terrible yellow fever epidemic that killed about 10% of the city’s population. Rush became a hero to ordinary Philadelphians, because he was one of the few doctors who did not flee the city and was the only one who cared for the poor without charge.
  • Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical: Features essays written by Rush on diverse topics, including public education, female education, the death penalty, slavery, and other pressing issues of his day. A progressive, he opposed slavery and the death penalty. He also was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and served as a doctor during the American Revolution. Call number: Rare Books AC7 .R85
  • The Drunkard’s Emblem, or the Effects of Ardent Spirits on the Human Body and Mind: Rush was the first doctor in the United States to recognize alcoholism as a disease. He was a strong advocate of temperance. He wrote the first American psychiatry textbook and is considered the “Father of American psychiatry.” Call number: Rare Books-Virginia HV5082 .R8
  • Medical Inquiries and Observations: Rush’s highly-regarded medical essays, here presented as 4 volumes in 2, include among other topics observations on Indian medicine (vol. 1), the disease caused by drinking cold water in warm weather (vol. 1), and a defense of bloodletting (vol. 4). Rush was the nation’s best-known doctor at his death. Call number: Rare Books R117 .R95 1794 & Rare Books R117 .R95
  • Additional books in the Special Collections Research Center's Rare Books collection may be found by searching Swem Library's online catalog.

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To search for further material, see Finding Materials in the SCRC for an introduction to the SCRC Collections Database, card catalogs, etc. Additional books in the Special Collections Research Center's Rare Books collection may be found by searching Swem Library's online catalog.

Questions? Contact the SCRC at spcoll@wm.edu or 757-221-3090, or come into the Special Collections Research Center (hours).