A History of the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania/Preface

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The author of this History of the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania was appointed to deliver the opening lecture of the course of 1865, on the occasion of the centenary anniversary. That lecture, delivered at the request of the Faculty, consisted of a succinct statement of events preceding, and of the circumstances connected with, the foundation of the Medical School, with an exposition of the character and labors of the individuals who were prominent in the enterprise of transferring medical education from the Old World to the New, and who by their learning, talents, and energy contributed to its success. It was written for public delivery, and was by no means a complete history of the Medical Department of the University.

Although urged to the publication of that lecture, the author conceived that a more extended account should be given of the origin and progress of the School, and that a fuller notice should be presented of the lives of the eminent men who, by establishing its reputation and extending its usefulness, were identified with its history. A consider-able amount of materials had been collected to accomplish this object, but the entire field of research had not been exhausted, and many sources of information still remained available. In the intervals of leisure since the period referred to, the author has been steadily employed in collecting all the materials necessary for the extended history that is now placed before the medical public.

It is proper to state that a brief account of the Medical School has been in print for many years, prepared originally by Professor Wood as a valedictory discourse to the class of 1836. This was subsequently printed in connection with the catalogue of the graduates. Another notice of the Medical Department, by the same author, is contained in a General History of the College and University published in the third volume of the “Transactions of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania;” these have been employed for comparison and verification of impressions derived from original authorities.

The main sources from which the author has derived his materials are the Minutes of the Board of Trustees and those of the Medical Faculty. The former are entire from the foundation of the Academy and College; while the latter date from 1800. He has also consulted the Minutes of the Pennsylvania Hospital, and of the Philosophical Society, and the manuscript documents preserved in the Historical Society, as well as the public papers, more particularly the "Pennsyl-vania Gazette” and the “Pennsylvania Journal.” To these may be added numerous original letters in his own possession. He is largely indebted to biographies—many of them extremely rare—of the Professors who, at different epochs, have been connected with the University, and to the pamphlets and documents contained in the Philadelphia Library, as well as in the libraries of the Philosophical and the Historical Societies, and more especially in that of the Pennsylvania Hospital, which is rich not only in medical science, but in medical history.

Reference has been made to every source from which information is derived. There are, moreover, several mooted points discussed in the progress of the history which the author has endeavored to place in their correct light; in doing which it seemed just that the authority upon which statements are made should be open for examination.

In the publication of the work, great pleasure is taken in acknowledging the obligation the author is under to his friend, Dr. La Roche, for assistance with the revision, and for many valuable suggestions that have been adopted.

The work has occupied much time in its preparation, and entailed a large amount of labor, ample recompense for which will be received should it subserve the design for which it has been written—namely, to communicate to his fellow-alumni all the information he has been able to gather with respect to the history of their Alma Mater.