University of Notre Dame
2014 to 2015
The Last Great System: Benjamin Rush's Physiological Worldview
With funding from the Philadelphia Area Center for the History of Science short-term research fellowship I plan to examine the medical system of Dr. Benjamin Rush, from approximately 1790 to 1813. Although, widely known as a famous Revolutionary era physician, political figure, and radical therapeutic bleeder, little work has been conducted on his fundamental medical positions and their relation to the rest of his work. Rush’s “universal” or “unitarian” system also contributed to the greater medical establishment during a transitory period in medical history. I would like to explore these developments and contributions by examining student notes, Rush’s lecture notes, notebooks, pamphlets, and correspondence at the University of Pennsylvania Van Pelt library, the Philadelphia College of Physicians, the America Philosophical Society, and the holdings of the Library Company.