A History of the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania/Chapter XV
During the summer of 1852 the University sustained the loss by death of Dr. Rogers.
James B. Rogers was born in 1803, in the city of Philadelphia; but as his father, Dr. Patrick Kerr Rogers, had been appointed to succeed Dr. Hare as Professor of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy in William and Mary College, Virginia, he received his collegiate education in that institution. He studied medicine in Baltimore, and graduated, in 1822, at the University of Maryland, at the time the reputation of that school was sustained by the names of Potter, Davidge, Baker, and De Butts. He wrote a thesis upon Epilepsy.
After graduation, Dr. Rogers commenced the practice of medicine in Harford County, Maryland, but he soon abandoned the occupation of a country practitioner, and became the superintendent of the chemical works of Messrs. Tyson & Ellicott, in Baltimore. While engaged in this business he accepted the Chair of Chemistry in the Washington Medical College, of that city, and at the same time lectured in the Mechanics’ Institute. In 1835 he accepted the position of Professor of Chemistry in the Medical Department of the Cincinnati College, where he was associated with Drs. Drake, Gross, Parker, Cobb, and Harrison. During the four years of labor in that field, he devoted the summer season to the assistance of his brother, Professor William B. Rogers, in the geological survey of the State of Virginia. He had at this time the honor of being appointed by the Government melter and refiner of the Mint at New Orleans, a post which he, however, declined.
In 1840 Dr. Rogers settled himself in his native city, and was engaged with his brother, Henry D. Rogers, upon the geological survey of the State of Pennsylvania. The following year he succeeded Professor John K. Mitchell in the Medical Institute of Philadelphia. This institution was a summer school for teaching the branches of medicine, and having been founded by Dr. Chapman was closely associated with the University. When Dr. Hare resigned the Professorship of Chemistry, Dr. Rogers became an applicant for this important position. The canvass was a spirited one; the candidates were numerous and prominent; Rogers had secured to himself the earnest wishes in his behalf and the partialities of the profession of Philadelphia, who best knew the qualifications desirable for a medical teacher, and he became the successor of the same individual to whom his father had succeeded twenty-eight years previously, at William and Mary College. From this sole incident how gratifying a result!
Dr. Rogers was a popular teacher; the full store-house of his mind was drawn upon to instruct his pupils, and no pains or labor did he spare to make easy to their comprehension the important truths he taught. In one portion of his course he was especially interesting; this was organic chemistry. Of late years it has become a prominent department of medical science, and, from the success with which it has been cultivated, will become ultimately so interwoven with medicine as to require a large share of attention from medical students. Physiology and pathology are not the only branches to which organic chemistry is essential; therapeutics is gradually becoming amenable to its disclosures. The development of the mode of action of medicines to which organic chemistry has led has dissipated much uncertainty, and explained many phenomena which, although seen, were not understood. By demonstrating the importance of researches upon the subject, and creating an interest in them, Dr. Rogers bestowed important service, and it was apparent that, in its reaction upon other branches, his mode of teaching materially aided the exertions of his associates. His career was of short duration; after his fourth course of lectures it was closed, with the regrets of all who had been connected with him.
He was succeeded by his brother, Dr. Robert E. Rogers, August, 1852.
By the decease of Dr. Horner, in the spring of 1853, the Chair of Anatomy became vacant.
Dr. William Edmonds Horner was a native of Virginia, and was educated first at the academy of Mr. Charles O’Neill, at Warrenton, and afterwards at Dumfries. Upon the completion of his academic studies, in 1809, he commenced to study medicine under the direction of Dr. John Spence, a Scotch physician, educated at Edinburgh. He continued the pupil of Dr. Spence until 1812, and during this period attended two sessions of the University of Pennsylvania. Anatomy was the branch that more particularly interested him, and for which he manifested the most decided partiality.
In July, 1813, while an under-graduate, he entered the United States army as a surgeon’s-mate, and performed his first military duty upon the northern frontier. In this subordinate capacity he continued to serve until the conclusion of peace with Great Britain, in 1815, when he resigned. Of his adventures during this campaign he kept an interesting record, and published a series of papers, detailing his observations and experience, in the Medical Examiner of Philadelphia, as late as 1852, the year before his death. During the winter of 1813-14, having obtained a furlough, he attended the lectures in the University preparatory to his graduation, which took place in April, 1814. The thesis written by him was on “Gunshot Wounds.”
Upon resigning from the Army in 1815, after a brief sojourn in the village of Warrenton, his native place, Dr. Horner settled in Philadelphia; and here located, as we are informed by his biographer, “his enthusiasm for anatomy, his earnest application to dissection, his quiet demeanor, his steadiness of character, the neatness and elegance of his preparations, had attracted the notice of Prof. Wistar, and gained his friendship, confidence, and esteem.” In the spring of 1816 an arrangement was made with Dr. Wistar, by which Dr. Horner became his assistant in the anatomical course, preparing the subject for demonstration. By this association “the demonstrations of the anatomical course were fuller and more complete than they had been previously, and the Anatomical Museum was rapidly increased by numerous specimens and preparations, particularly of fine injections, as well as important pathological illustrations. He worked most assiduously, for it was a work of love.”
Upon the death of Dr. Wistar in 1818, he engaged with Dr. Dorsey as his assistant, and when that Professor was stricken down, at the very opening of his course, the engagement was renewed with Dr. Physick, who undertook the labor of delivering the anatomical lectures in addition to his own on Surgery. “The course of 1818-19 was completed in a manner highly satisfactory to Dr. Physick and the class. The assiduity and zeal of Dr. Horner, and the excellence of his demonstrations, by lightening the labor of the course, and facilitating its progress, contributed in no small degree to the result.” In 1820, Dr. Horner was elected, as has been stated, Adjunct Professor of Anatomy, and upon the resignation of Dr. Physick, in 1831, became the Professor.
“As a lecturer, Dr. Horner was not fluent or copious in language, nor had any pretensions to elocution. His plan, to a certain extent, was novel. He composed a text-book, his ‘Special Anatomy,’ which was a complete but concise treatise on Anatomy. It was written in strict reference to the course of study in the University of Pennsylvania, and was kept in as compendious a state as possible, so that there should be no unnecessary loss of time in reading it. This book was, in fact, his lectures. In the lecture-room he confined himself chiefly to the demonstrations of the text of his work, by dissections, preparations, drawings, and models.” Dr. Jackson further remarks, with respect to this plan: “On the value of the method there will be different opinions, but it is certain that he made good anatomists. I have frequently heard students declare, that plain, simple, and unadorned as were the lectures of Dr. Horner, that they had learned anatomy better from him than from any others they had heard lecture on that branch.”
“The Anatomical Museum of the University, founded, as has been narrated, by Dr. Wistar, is an evidence of the great anatomical skill and untiring application of Dr. Horner. A very large portion of it, upwards of two-thirds at the time of his death, and containing most of its finest preparations, rivalling those of the best anatomical museums of Europe, was the result of his labors. Dr. Horner, from time to time, presented the preparations he had made to the University, which was acknowledged by the Board of Trustees, but on his death he bequeathed an extensive collection, together will all his instruments and apparatus connected with dissections, to the Medical Department.” The Trustees have, in consequence of this liberal bequest, bestowed on the collection thus constituted, the name of the “Wistar and Horner Museum.”
Dr. Horner is entitled to credit as an original observer. He determined the existence of a special muscle, situated on the posterior surface of the lachrymal duct and sac, which solved the difficulty of explanation as to the mode by which the tears were conveyed into the nose. He named the muscle tensor tarsi. Its existence has been verified by anatomists in this country and in Europe, where it has been called “Musculus Horneri.”
He also first detected the fact that in cholera the whole of the epithelium was stripped from the small intestines, and hence the turbid rice-water dejections in that disease. This he did by making a minute injection of the mucous membrane, and then examining it by the microscope under water. The paper announcing this discovery was published in the “American Journal of the Medical Sciences” in 1835. Two years subsequently the same was published in the “Presse Médicale” of Paris, but without allusion to the American anatomist.
In 1852 Dr. Horner resigned the Deanship of the Medical Department, which is worthy of notice from the fact that he had held that important executive office for thirty years, and, in addition to his professorial labors, faithfully fulfilled its requirements. Prior to the assumption of the duties of this office by Dr. Horner, they were performed in rotation by the Professors. With him it became a permanent position, and has thus continued with advantage to the interests of the Medical Department. Dr. Horner twice visited Europe, first in the early part of his career, and again in 1848, when he journeyed for the sake of recuperation from his labors; but his health from this period rapidly declined. He died on the 13th of March, 1853, of extensive disease of the heart.
To the vacant Professorship Dr. Joseph Leidy was elected in May, 1853.
In 1855, Dr. Gibson resigned his Professorship of Surgery. This Chair he had held for thirty-six years. He was appointed Emeritus Professor of Surgery by the Trustees.
Dr. William Gibson was born in Baltimore, Maryland, March 14, 1788, and received his early education in that city, and at St. John’s College, Annapolis. He subsequently went to Princeton College, and remained during the session of 1803–4, leaving the Institution before the time that his class graduated. He commenced the study of medicine with Dr. John Owen, of Baltimore, and in 1806 attended a course of lectures in the University of Pennsylvania. He himself tells us that upon his arrival in Philadelphia he heard the first public lecture he ever listened to. “It was from my distinguished predecessor, the late Dr. Physick. Struck with the peculiar appearance of that extraordinary man, and with the precepts he poured forth, my attention was riveted to every action he displayed, and every word that fell from his lips.”
At the close of the lectures he sailed for Europe, and first repaired to Edinburgh, where he spent the summer in witnessing the private practice and operations of the celebrated John Bell, then in the zenith of his fame—in attending botanical and natural history lectures, and in devoting particular attention to hospital practice.
He graduated at the University of Edinburgh in 1809, having written a thesis, entitled, “De Forma Ossium Gentillium.” The materials for this inaugural Latin dissertation were obtained from the museum of Monro. It was descriptive of the different forms of the bones pertaining to the races of mankind, and has been quoted by Pritchard and other writers in connection with their ethnological researches. The science of ethnology was at that time almost in its infancy.
On a journey from Edinburgh to London, he formed an acquaintance with a brother of Sir John Moore, commander of the British army in Spain, who was killed at the battle of Corunna, and received from this gentleman such testimonials as enabled him to procure the means of witnessing, “in an unofficial capacity,” after the arrival of the wounded in England, the important cases of gunshot wounds, and other similar injuries, which occurred at that battle. It is probable that Dr. Gibson was thus first brought into close association with Sir Charles Bell, who was at the time a practitioner of surgery in London, and who had been detailed to assist in the care of the wounded soldiers. He entered, as a private pupil, the family of Sir Charles Bell, and with his taste for artistic delineations, had ample opportunities for improvement under the direction of so consummate a teacher. In 1809 there was a galaxy of distinguished medical men, at the height of their reputation, in London, of whom Dr. Gibson has mentioned Mr. Abernethy and Sir Astley Cooper as conducing to his improvement by their interesting lectures.
After his return home in 1810, after three years’ absence, Dr. Gibson entered upon the practice of his profession in Baltimore, and two years afterwards was appointed to the Chair of Surgery in the University of Maryland. This Institution had recently been established, and in it he was associated with Drs. Davidge, Potter, Baker, De Butts, and Hall. In 1814 he served as a medical officer in the militia of Maryland, at the time of the attack of the British on Baltimore. Upon the death of Dr. Dorsey, when Dr. Physick was transferred to the Chair of Anatomy in the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Gibson was elected to fill the vacant Chair of Surgery. The election took place in September, 1819.
It would be no small praise to state that Dr. Gibson fully sustained the reputation he brought with him from the University of Maryland, in the new position to which he had been called as the successor of Dr. Physick, the founder and illustrator of the Chair of Surgery in the University of Pennsylvania. As a lecturer he was clear and emphatic; his voice was distinct and melodious; his language was well chosen, and his style of enunciation was attractive. His demonstrations of surgical anatomy were readily comprehended by the student; some of them especially, as those in connection with the neck, with hernia, and with lithotomy, could not be surpassed in lucid exposition. For purposes of demonstration, Dr. Gibson had himself prepared, and procured by purchase, an ample collection of morbid structures, diseased and fractured bones, models and casts, as well as pictures of large size, illustrative of disease, or of the anatomical parts of the body involved in operations. To these were added the approved mechanical appliances of the day. In thus teaching he set the example that has been followed extensively by other surgeons.
As an operator Dr. Gibson was undoubtedly dexterous; of his operations and cases, a number were from time to time communicated to the Journals. In the treatment of fracture of the thigh, he placed before the notice of practitioners of this country a modification of the apparatus known as Hagedorn’s; and published a case that had been treated by it in the “Journal of Medical and Physical Sciences.” A remarkable circumstance in the surgical practice of Dr. Gibson was the performance of the operation of Cæsarean section twice successfully on the same individual. The details of the two operations have been published separately by Dr. Joseph G. Nancrede and Dr. George Fox, in the “American Journal of the Medical Sciences.”
Dr. Gibson published, in 1824, his Institutes and Practice of Surgery, being “Outlines of a Course of Lectures.” This work was intended as a guide to the students attending his lectures, and is marked for its accuracy of style and language. It passed through six editions, having been amended and improved; the last edition of 1841 being so enlarged as to constitute a respectable treatise on Surgery. He published, in 1836, a paper entitled, “A Sketch of Lithotripsy, with Cases;” and in 1841 was published his “Rambles in Europe in 1839, with Sketches of Prominent Surgeons and Physicians, Medical Schools, Hospitals, Literary Personages, Scenery, &c.” The sketches it contains are graphic and spirited. In 1847 Dr. Gibson again visited Europe, and for several successive years delivered occasionally to the class a lecture devoted especially to his observations and inquiries.
He died at Savannah, Georgia, on the 2d of March, 1868, aged eighty years.
Dr. Henry H. Smith was elected to the Professorship of Surgery, May, 1855.
In 1860 Dr. Wood resigned the Professorship of the Theory and Practice of Medicine, and was appointed Emeritus Professor; he was succeeded by Dr. William Pepper. In 1863 Dr. Wood was chosen a Trustee of the University.
The next changes that occurred in the School resulted from the resignation of Drs. Jackson and Hodge in 1863. Dr. Jackson had been thirty-six years in connection with the Medical Department of the University, and to the last day of his public career was an eminently distinguished and useful teacher of his branch. Dr. Hodge had occupied his position twenty-seven years, with the reputation of an admirably practical lecturer. The Chair of Institutes was filled by the election of Dr. Francis Gurney Smith, and that of Obstetrics by the election of Dr. R. A. F. Penrose. The dignity of Emeritus Professors of these several branches was bestowed on Drs. Jackson and Hodge on their resignations being accepted by the Trustees.
In the spring of 1864, Dr. Pepper resigned his professorship in consequence of ill health.
He was a native of Philadelphia, having been born in 1810. After his collegiate studies at Princeton College, where he graduated with the first honors of his class in 1828, he entered the office of Dr. Thomas T. Hewson, who, in his capacity of private preceptor, was excelled by none of his contemporaries. Dr. Pepper graduated at the University in 1832, the subject of his thesis being Apoplexy. After receiving his medical education, he spent two years in Europe, more especially engaged in studying disease in the great hospitals of Paris. Upon his return to Philadelphia he ardently devoted himself to the practice of his profession; for three years was one of the physicians of the Dispensary, and in 1841 was chosen one of the physicians of the Pennsylvania Hospital. He soon acquired the reputation of a sound medical practitioner.
The strong feature of Dr. Pepper’s medical character was the possession of analytical acumen and decided ideas of diagnosis. This he carried into his office of a teacher. “As a didactic lecturer he was clear, concise, and complete. Thirty years of active practice had made him familiar with disease in its varied forms, and had led him to reject as useless that which was merely speculative in medicine, while it enabled him to speak with authority of all that was valuable in our science. Thoroughly familiar with medical literature, he had also studied disease in the great book of nature, at the bedside in private practice, and in the wards of hospitals. Thus, to him, nearly every disease treated of presented itself in the form of individual cases which had come under his notice, or been under his immediate care. From this great treasury of knowledge he continually drew in illustration of the subject matter of his lecture. Catching at the typical features of the disease, its pathological history and phenomena, its diagnosis, general and differential, were given with such clearness and force, that the student saw before him, as at the bedside, all that was distinctive and important in the case; while the principles of treatment and its results followed with almost mathematical accuracy and precision.”
“Dr. Pepper made no effort at oratorical display. The main object of his teaching was apparent—to give a thoroughly practical course, one which, as far as possible, would prepare his pupils for the intelligent treatment of disease. His enunciation was distinct, and his delivery rather a rapid than a slow one. No one could visit his lecture-room without noticing the marked attention of the class, nor be associated with the students without perceiving with what affectionate respect they regarded their preceptor.”
“It is a remarkable fact, and in keeping with what has already been noticed, that during the four years of his professorship, a period the most exciting and important in our national history, notwithstanding the cares of a very large practice, and the infirmities of declining health, he was never absent from a lecture, and never failed to meet his class punctually at the time appointed for its delivery.”
The career of Dr. Pepper was short in connection with the University, but was so marked as to give promise of eminence and usefulness. Some papers were contributed by him to the periodical journals; they were few in number, but marked by excellent reflection and the spirit of inquiry, his long experience in the Pennsylvania Hospital having placed ample material at his command. He died October 16, 1864.
Upon the resignation of Dr. Pepper, Dr. Alfred Stillé was elected, June 7, 1864, to the Professorship of the Theory and Practice of Medicine, and Clinical Medicine.
In 1864 it was determined by the Board of Trustees of the University to institute an Accessory Course of Lectures to those delivered during the winter season, and on April 4, 1865, the subjoined report and resolutions were adopted:—
“The Standing Committee on the Medical Department to whom was referred the subject of instituting additional lectureships in connection with that department, and the mode in which the lecturers should be compensated, respectfully report as follows:—
“Whereas, the instruction as at present given in the Medical Department of the University, though as comprehensive as is consistent with self-support, does not embrace all the branches of knowledge specially subservient to Medicine, or closely connected with it; and,
“Whereas experience has shown that systematic instruction in these subordinate branches can be secured only through endowed lectureships, and
“Whereas, finally, in our Institution, holding the rank of a University, the very name of which implies universality of instruction, it is highly desirable that provision should be made for teaching all the sciences an acquaintance with which is in a greater or less degree essential to a complete and thorough medical education; therefore
“Resolved, That a Faculty is hereby instituted in connection with the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania, to be denominated the Auxiliary Faculty of Medicine, of which the several Professors shall receive a fixed salary, sufficient to serve as an inducement for competent persons to accept the position, yet insufficient to preclude exertion for its increase through the attendance of pupils.
“The Faculty shall comprise five Professorships, of—1, Zoology and Comparative Anatomy; 2, Botany; 3, Mineralogy and Geology; 4, Hygiene; 5, Medical Jurisprudence, including Toxicology. The occupants of these Chairs shall constitute the Members of the Auxiliary Faculty. It must be understood as essential in the fulfilment of the duties of these Chairs that the three branches of Natural History, forming the subjects of the three Professorships first mentioned, shall be taught mainly in reference to their medical relations, and in other respects only so far as may serve to give a general view of the subject whereby the several facts may be duly connected and arranged.
“The Faculty shall appoint a Dean from among its members, whose duty it shall be to preside over and keep minutes of the meetings, and to perform all the executive functions that may be entrusted to him.
“It shall have power to determine the time of lecturing of the several Professors, to fix the terms of admission to the lectures, which, however, shall be uniform for all, and shall not exceed ten dollars from each pupil for each Professor; to make rules for its own government; to regulate the common expenses; and to do whatever else is incidental to its constitution, every question being decided by a majority of the members present, provided they form a quorum.
“The several courses shall consist of at least thirty-four lectures, to be delivered at hours fixed by the Faculty, three times a week, during the months of April, May, and June, commencing on the first Monday of April, and ending on the last Saturday of June.
“They shall be given with the assent of the Medical Faculty in the Lecture Rooms of the building occupied by that Faculty, and it will be the duty of the Auxiliary Faculty to take care that the apartments appropriated to their use are kept in due order while occupied by them, and properly cleansed at the end of each course; and should this requisition be disregarded, the cost of supplying the deficiency shall be defrayed by a pro rata deduction from the salaries of the Professors.
“At the end of the courses the Faculty shall hold an examination, under such regulations as they may deem best, of the pupils who may have attended at least one full course of all the lectures and may apply for such examination, in order to decide on the proficiency of the pupils; and should the decision be favorable, a certificate to that effect shall be given to every successful candidate, for which the sum of two dollars and fifty cents may be demanded from each person receiving it.
“The certificate shall be in such form as the Faculty may determine, to be approved by the Trustees; and each certificate to a medical graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, or any other medical school on the ad eundem list, shall, under the sanction of the Board, receive the seal of the University and the signature of the Provost.
“The Professors shall be appointed for one year, after public notice of at least three months, at the regular meeting of the Board in November next, nominations having been made at a preceding meeting, and shall be reappointed annually thereafter during satisfactory service, at the regular meeting of the Board in the same month, so long as the plan for the establishment of the Auxiliary Faculty of Medicine now adopted shall continue in operation.”
In accordance with the above resolutions, on November 7th, 1865, the following gentlemen were elected by the Board of Trustees to fill the several Chairs that had been created:—
- Harrison Allen, M. D., Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy.
- Horatio C. Wood, M. D., Professor of Botany.
- F. V. Hayden, M. D., Professor of Geology and Mineralogy.
- Henry Hartshorne, M. D., Professor of Hygiene.
- John J. Reese, M. D., Professor of Medical Jurisprudence.
With the addition above stated, the Medical Faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, as constituted January 1, 1869, is as follows:—
- George B. Wood, M. D., LL. D., Emeritus Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine.
- Samuel Jackson, M. D., Emeritus Professor of Institutes of Medicine.
- Hugh L. Hodge, M. D., Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and the Diseases of Women and Children.
The first course of lectures by the Auxiliary Faculty was given in the spring of 1866, and was highly successful, there being about one hundred gentlemen in attendance. As a portion of the uniform regular instruction of the Medical School, the accessory course is now in full operation.
- Memoir of the Life and Character of James B. Rogers, M. D., Professor of Chemistry in the University of Pennsylvania, by Joseph Carson, M. D., Professor of Materia Medica and Pharmacy; delivered at the request of the Faculty, on October 11th, 1852. Published by the Class.
- A Discourse commemorative of the late William E. Horner, M. D., Professor of Anatomy, delivered before the Faculty and Students of the University of Pennsylvania, October 10, 1853, by Samuel Jackson, M. D., Professor of the Institutes of Medicine.
- Dr. Jackson’s Discourse, &c., p. 35.
- Lecture Introductory to the Course on the Principles and Practice of Surgery in the University of Pennsylvania. Delivered Nov. 1, 1841, by William Gibson, M. D.
- See Life of Sir Charles Bell, in Chambers’ Dictionary of the Lives of Celebrated Scotchmen.
The system of “Operative Surgery” of Sir Charles Bell was published in 1807. The results of his experience in gunshot wounds was published as an appendix.
- Introduct. Lect., cit.
- Some of these illustrations were painted by himself, and others by Mr. Sully and other artists.
- No. VI., page 231.
- Observations on the Cæsarean Operation, accompanied by the Relation of a Case in which both Mother and Child were preserved. By Joseph G. Nancrede, M. D.—Amer. Journ. of the Medical Sciences, Aug. 1835, vol. xvi.
Account of a Case in which the Cæsarean Section, performed by Prof. Gibson, was a second time successful in saving both Mother and Child. By George Fox, M. D.—Amer. Journ. of the Medical Sciences, May, 1838, vol. xxii.
- American Journal of the Medical Sciences, Aug. 1836.
- Dr. Jackson published, in 1832, his “Principles of Medicine.” He was a liberal contributor to the Journals.
- Dr. Hodge published, in 1860, a work “On Diseases Peculiar to Women, including Displacements of the Uterus,” and in 1864, his treatise, entitled, “The Principles and Practice of Obstetrics.”
- Dr. Hewson, for a number of years, held the position of Professor of Comparative Anatomy in the University. See ante.
- We have taken largely, in this notice, from the statements contained in the Biographical Memoir of the late Dr. William Pepper, M. D., by Thomas Kirkbride, M. D., prepared by request of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 1866.