1783 – A Harvard undergraduate reports on the opening of the university’s medical school with introductory lectures presented by each of its first three celebrated professors including John Warren, the famed Revolutionary War surgeon. John Abbot.
1783 – A Harvard undergraduate reports on the opening of the university’s medical school with introductory lectures presented by each of its first three celebrated professors including John Warren, the famed Revolutionary War surgeon
1783 – A Harvard undergraduate reports on the opening of the university’s medical school with introductory lectures presented by each of its first three celebrated professors including John Warren, the famed Revolutionary War surgeon

1783 – A Harvard undergraduate reports on the opening of the university’s medical school with introductory lectures presented by each of its first three celebrated professors including John Warren, the famed Revolutionary War surgeon

Cambridge, Massachusetts: [1783. Envelope or Cover. This stampless, folded letter, measuring 12.5” x 8” unfolded, is datelined “Cambridge Decemr. 5th”. It was written by John Abbot, who attended Harvard between 1781 and 1784, to his brother Ezra Abbot at Andover.. It bears no postal markings as it was privately delivered as attested to by the notation in the lower left of the front panel. In nice shape; trimmed the top of the first page perhaps to facilitate folding.

Although the Harvard’s Medical School was formally established in 1782, it took some time to become organized. By November 1783, the college’s president’s patience was wearing thin and November 8, 1783, he rudely prodded its first three professors.

“I have been expecting some time past to see an advertisement from the Medical Professors in the Newspapers. I should think that if they begin their lectures this fall, as I hope they will, that the sooner they advertise the better . . . lest the public begin to think the University were mere parade, and that the medical institution was likely to be attended with no utility. . .. Upon letting the public know when they shall begin . . . I imagine . . . the professors will adjust according to their best disposition. . ..” (from Harrington’s The Harvard Medical School: A History, Narrative and Documentary 1782-1905

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Apparently, the professors did quickly “adjust” to their best “disposition” as Abbot’s letter indicates they began to “advertise” the Medical School with their first introductory lecture on 5 December.

“This afternoon & evening, the three Medical Professors, viz. Doctors: Warren, Waterhouse & Dexter, delivered in public, a lecture each, as introductory to their stated lectures. They will, it is hoped, do honor to the University. . .. They are all esteemed men of the first abilities. . .. Dr Warren has had great experience, & has for some time been esteemed one of the greatest Anatomists & Surgeons in the State. Dr Waterhouse has had a regular Medical education at the University of Leyden, & studyed with some of the most approved Physicians in Europe. Dr Dexter, tho’ a young gentleman, has distinguished himself, and become very famous as a Chymist.”

. Very good. Item #009881

Waterhouse was selected to be the first professor of medicine for Harvard shortly after the school was established dn 1782. Warren, who was also appointed in 1782 as the first professor of anatomy and surgery, was one of the famous patriot brother physicians who served in the Revolutionary War, and Dexter served as the professor of chemistry and materia medica.

Abbot went on to graduate in 1784 and joined with Bowdoin College at its establishment where he served as a librarian, trustee, treasurer and a professor of Ancient Languages and Classical Literature.

Scarce. At the time of listing, nothing similar is for sale in the trade. The Rare Book Hub shows no similar items have been auctioned. OCLC shows that the Warren and Waterhouse papers are held at Harvard.

Price: $750.00

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