Rush family papers

The Rush Papers consist primarily of incoming correspondence and medical papers of Benjamin Rush and his son James Rush. BENJAMIN RUSH SECTION, (1762-1828). Benjamin Rush began his lengthy career as a Philadelphia physician by studying at the College of Philadelphia, then the University of Edinbu...

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Main Author: Rush family (Creator)
Collection:Rush Family Papers
Format: Manuscript
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040 |e dacs 
041 0 |a eng 
099 |a 
100 3 |a Rush family  |e creator 
245 1 |a Rush family papers  |f 1748-1876 
300 |a 40.0 Linear feet  |f 40 linear feet, 34 boxes, 179 volumes 
520 |a The Rush Papers consist primarily of incoming correspondence and medical papers of Benjamin Rush and his son James Rush. BENJAMIN RUSH SECTION, (1762-1828). Benjamin Rush began his lengthy career as a Philadelphia physician by studying at the College of Philadelphia, then the University of Edinburgh. He returned home in 1769 to teach and practice, and to promote his system of medicine wherein all diseases were the result of spasms of the blood vessels. Rush worked tirelessly during the Yellow Fever epidemics which swept the city in the 1790s, and he devoted much study to finding its causes. Rush was an early proponent of scientific and humane treatment for the insane. His popularity as a teacher caused his reputation to spread, especially in the South and West, although his blood-letting treatment was so controversial that his practice could not support his large family. He therefore sought and received appointment as Treasurer of the U. S. Mint, a position he held from 1797 to his death. Rush's active involvement in politics was brief: he served only long enough on the Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence, and campaigned in favor of the U. S. Constitution in 1787 and the PA state constitution in 1789. Rush was particularly interested in social reform movements, for which he wrote numerous articles and acted as sponsor. He condemned capital punishment and advocated prison reform; he supported a system of schooling to be partially financed by public funds, the education of women, and teaching subjects with practical applications. Rush was a founding trustee of Dickinson College and president of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery. He was a proselytizer for temperance. The largest portion of the Benjamin Rush section consists of incoming correspondence [2,700 items in 26 volumes, alphabetically arranged] from doctors, patients, and students concerning medicine, giving case histories, and requesting advice on treatment. Rush's response is sometimes noted on the letter. Among the correspondents in this series are: Ashton Alexander, James M. Anderson, Jr., Edward Fisher, Nathaniel Potter, Benjamin Vaughan, John Vaughan. Some of the letters have been separated into special groups and are of a more personal nature, relating to private affairs and interests of Rush and his correspondents, and reform activities, as well as medicine. The major correspondents here are: Jeremy Belknap, Edward and Charles Dilly, Elizabeth Graeme Ferguson, James E. B. Finley, Thomas Hall, David Hosack, John Coakly Lettsom, Edward Miller, David Ramsay, Jacob Rush, James Rush reporting on his studies in Edinburgh (this is in a different series altogether), Richard Rush, Granville Sharp, and Noah Webster. There are some of the Rush's own letter drafts. Subject groupings are: Dickinson College, consisting of Rush's correspondence with John Montgomery, Charles Nisbet, John Armstrong and others relating to the establishment and administration of the college; Northumberland County land papers containing Rush's letters to William Plunkett; Yellow Fever correspondence with letters from patients and reports from other doctors on the onset, progress, and cure of outbreaks outside of Philadelphia; letters and papers relating to Rush's disputes with Elias Boudinot and others. Many of Benjamin Rush's drafts for his medical lectures are here including courses in the practice of medicine, physiology, pathology, and fevers [8 boxes]. There are also drafts of "Lectures on Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, and Medicine for the Young Ladies Academy." Several of Rush's medical commonplace books are among the papers, with a special series of diaries kept as a record of epidemic diseases, 1779-1813 [5 volumes]. In addition to medical subjects, there are personal memoranda books of letters and reminiscences among which are notes on the Continental Congress and volume 9 of Rush's autobiography. (The other volumes are at the American Philosophical Society). Dr. Rush's professional account books, 1769-1815, consist of daybooks [9 volumes], journals [9 volumes], and ledgers [5 volumes]. There are personal receipt books, 1794-1802, 1807-1828 [3 volumes], continued by Julia Rush after Benjamin's death. Miscellaneous papers are comprised of notes on Dr. William Cullen's lectures while Rush was attending the University of Edinburgh, 1766-1768, dissertations by some of Rush's students and other third party essays and notes, mostly concerning medical matters. JAMES RUSH SECTION, 1802-1869 James Rush, following in the footsteps of his father, was educated as a doctor, but practiced and taught only occasionally. Having married Phoebe Anne Ridgway, heiress to a large Philadelphia fortune, he followed primarily literary and scientific pursuits. The only work to receive any public recognition was his first, "The Philosophy of the Human Voice," published in 1827. By the time of his death, Rush was considered a penurious, reclusive, eccentric grouch. The incoming correspondence [900 items in 6 volumes, alphabetically arranged] of James Rush is a miscellany of letters from friends, orators and elocutionists, patients, and beggars. In a separate series are letters from Benjamin and Julia Rush to their son while he attended Princeton. A small selection of James Rush's own letters are found in a volume of first copies of letters, 1835-1843. There are some scattered diaries: 1809, while studying in Scotland; 1838-1844; 1845-1847, while traveling in Europe. Rush's commonplace books [20 volumes] contain notes on medicine, literature, doodles, and memos for construction of his Chestnut St. house. There are notes, drafts, and printer's copies for James Rush's published works: "The Philosophy of the Human Voice," 1827; "Hamlet, A Prelude in Five Acts," 1834; "Brief Outline of an Analysis of the Human Intellect," 1865; "Rhymes and Contrast on Wisdom and Folly," 1869; and drafts and notes for an unpublished study "Hints for a New System of Medicine," 1835-1843. Additional material in this section are grocery accounts, 1859-1867; invitations; and visiting cards. RUSH FAMILY MISCELLANEOUS, 1811-1876 [5 volumes]. Cassie Murray Rush diary, 1876, with description of visits to the Centennial. [Provenance unknown]. Phoebe Anne Rush music book, presented to her in 1820 by Frank Johnson, a black Philadelphia musician. Richard Rush letter book, 1811, as Attorney General of Pennsylvania. [Provenance unknown]. Richard Rush "Memoranda of a Residence at the Court of London" from November, 1817 to January, 1819, written in 1833, containing recollections of official and personal activities of Rush's first year as U. S. minister to Great Britain. [Purchased, 1963]. William Rush, "Examinations on Materia Medica," 1832, given by him as lecturer on materia medica and therapeutics at the Philadelphia School of Medicine. 
541 1 |a Bequest of James Rush (except otherwise noted in abstract); 1869 acquired 
555 |a Finding Aid Available Online:  
650 0 |a Dickinson College. 
650 7 |a Education--Medicine and Medical Treatment--18th century  |2 Local sources 
650 7 |a Epidemics--Yellow Fever--Philadelphia--18th Century  |2 Local sources 
650 7 |a International Slave Trade--19th century  |2 Local sources 
650 7 |a Medicine--18th century.  |2 Local sources 
650 7 |a United States--Foreign Relations--Great Britain  |2 Local sources 
650 7 |a United States--History--Continental Congress  |2 Local sources 
650 7 |a Universities and Colleges--Administration  |2 Local sources 
852 |a The Historical Society of Pennsylvania  |b Rush Family Papers  |c 
856 4 2 |y Link to finding aid  |u