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Guide to the Benjamin and Julia Stockton Rush Papers, 1766-1845 and undated

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147

Summary

The Benjamin and Julia Stockton Rush papers include letters, writings, financial records, a few legal documents and one educational record. Benjamin Rush's personal and professional outgoing letters, with some incoming letters, cover a wide variety of topics, but focus primarily on medical concerns, particularly the 1793 and other yellow fever epidemics in Philadelphia, as well as mental illness and its treatment, and the medical department of the Continental Army. There are a few letters from others to Julia Stockton Rush that seek to continue ties with her and the Rush family or offer condolences following Benjamin's death. Collection also contains a medical case book and a fragment of an essay or lecture written by Benjamin Rush, along with his travel diary for a trip to meet with the Board of Trustees for Dickinson College in 178[4]; other writings include Julia Rush's devotional journal and exercise book. The financial records include a few statements and receipts, but primarily contain two account books, one maintained by Benjamin Rush, the other by Rush with his wife. These account books provide a complete picture of the family finances from the period before the couple married, almost to Julia's death. Legal documents include a sworn statement and a land patent, and there is an educational record for one of Rush's students.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11044
Title
Benjamin and Julia Stockton Rush papers
Creator
Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813
Extent
0.8 Linear Feet, 3 boxes, 2 volumes
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials are in English.

Collection Overview

The Benjamin and Julia Stockton Rush papers include letters, writings, financial records, a few legal documents and one educational record.

Benjamin Rush's personal and professional outgoing letters, with some incoming letters, cover a wide variety of topics, but focus primarily on medical concerns, particularly the 1793 and other yellow fever epidemics in Philadelphia, as well as mental illness and its treatment, and the medical department of the Continental Army.

There are a few letters from others to Julia Stockton Rush that seek to continue ties with her and the Rush family or offer condolences following Benjamin's death. Collection also contains a medical case book and a fragment of an essay or lecture written by Benjamin Rush, along with his travel diary for a trip to meet with the Board of Trustees for Dickinson College in 178[4]; other writings include Julia Rush's devotional journal and exercise book.

The financial records include a few statements and receipts, but primarily contain two account books, one maintained by Benjamin Rush, the other by Rush with his wife. These account books provide a complete picture of the family finances from the period before the couple married, almost to Julia's death.

Legal documents include a sworn statement and a land patent, and there is an educational record for one of Rush's students.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Arranged into the following series: Letters, Writings, Financial Records, and Legal Documents and Educational Records.

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Collection is open for research.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Benjamin and Julia Stockton Rush papers, 1766-1845 and undated, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Letters, 1777-1824

The majority of the 136 letters in the series were composed by Benjamin Rush, and letters he wrote to Julia during the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia form a substantial part of the series. Main topics in the letters include Rush family matters, medical treatments for a wide variety of medical issues, American politics, and the country's relations with European nations. Other topics include mental illness and its treatment, the medical department in the Continental Army, the impact of epidemics upon commerce internationally, reading habits, parenting, and capital punishment.

Among the prominent correspondents who wrote one or more personal or professional letters to Rush or his wife are Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, and George Washington. Letters from others to Julia Rush seek to continue ties with her and the Rush family, and offer condolences following Benjamin's death. Included are several manuscript copies Benjamin Rush made of individual letters he penned.

Abigail Adams (n.p.) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Philadelphia), 1813 July 7
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Adams sends her condolences to Rush, and confides her own concern about her daughter's struggles with breast cancer.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 1
John Quincy Adams (St. Petersburg, Russia) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1811 January 11
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 23 cm)

Adams writes regarding his presenting a copy of Rush's "Medical Inquiries and Observations" to the Emperor of Russia, who is sending Rush a ring in thanks.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 2
John Dickinson (n. p.) letter to Benjamin Rush (n. p.), 1784 August 13
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 23 cm)

Dickinson writes that he has read with pleasure Rush's essay on female education. He requests Rush's help with another project, "to prepare the public Mind for receiving…the proceedings of the Convention."

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 3
John Dickinson (Kent [England]) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1798 April 2
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 21 cm)

Dickinson writes that he has purchased and perused all the doctor's works and requests his help in diagnosing and treating a child that is in excruciating pain.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 3
John Dickinson (n. p.) note to Benjamin Rush (n. p.), 1804
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 22 cm)

In a note, Dickinson comments on their health, and on the 4th part of an unidentified manuscript.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 3
Horatio Gates (New York) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1803 August 8
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Gates indicates that he will try the remedies Rush suggested. He believes that England is likely to become a despotism, and notes that there is a rumor in New York City that England will defeat America's treaty with France regarding Louisiana.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 4
Nathanael Greene (n. p.) letter to Benjamin Rush (n. p.), 1777 May 3
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 33 cm)

Greene writes of his support for Rush's recommendations regarding best methods for preserving the health of the Army. He suggests they print a pamphlet on the topic, to make adoption of the recommendations more likely. He comments on Congress' regulation of hospitals.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 5
Richard Henderson (Leesburg [Va.]) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1810 June 11
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 30 cm)

Henderson replies to Rush's letter regarding the debts of a Mr. Carter, assuring Rush that he is in error, all costs for the preparation of coffin and grave have been paid.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 6
Mary Hosack (New York) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Philadelphia), 1811 June 26
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Mary Hosack writes regarding family health matters, her husband's connections, and the Rush's possible visit to New York.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 7
David Hosack (n. p.) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Philadelphia), 1824 May 4
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

David Hosack acknowledges Julia Rush's letter and states that he has sent a keepsake in memory of his wife. He requests that she consider a visit to them.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 7
Thomas Jefferson (Washington [D.C.]) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1801 December 20
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Jefferson discusses vaccinations in Philadelphia, the impact of his sending a message rather than making a speech at the opening of Congress, the political implications of suppressing taxes, and his desire to live a long, healthy, and useful life.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 8
Thomas Jefferson (Washington [D.C.]) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1808 January 3
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 25 cm)

Jefferson notes that he has appointed Dr. Waterhouse to the Marine hospital in Boston, in return for his introducing vaccinations to the country, and describes the political fallout from the appointment. He plans to send his 15-year-old grandson to be with Rush in the Fall. He mentions Dr. Rose, and the impact on an embargo on relations with Europe.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 9
James McHenry (York Island, Fort Washington) letter to Benjamin Rush (n. p.), 1776 November 2
(2 Leaves, 8 pages; 24 cm)

McHenry details reforms required within the Army's medical department and makes recommendations for restructuring of general and regimental hospitals, controlling fraud in the commissaries, increasing the numbers of nurses and surgeons, and improving the distribution of medicine.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 10
James Madison (Washington [D.C.]) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1801 June 28
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 26 cm)

Madison writes regarding quarantine laws in Europe and their impact on commerce with the United States, with reference to yellow fever in particular.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 11
Thomas Paine (n. p.) letter to Benjamin Rush (n. p.), 1785 December 30
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 33 cm)

Paine recommends a candidate for the midwifery position on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 12
Felix Pascalis Ouvriere (New York) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1812 December 22
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 25 cm)

Pascalis acknowledges receipt of two essays. He states that he has not yet had the opportunity to read Dr. Rush's treatise on the diseases of the mind, but that he plans to write a review of it.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 13
Felix Pascalis Ouvriere (New York) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1813 March 1
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 25 cm)

Pascalis writes with citations regarding Rush's "Tranquilizer arm-chair" designed for maniacs, as well as details of publishing translations and copyright issues.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 13
Timothy Pickering (Philadelphia) letter to Benjamin Rush (n. p.), 1799 September 23
(3 Leaves, 6 pages; 25 cm)

Pickering notes that he sent Yellow Fever medicine developed by Dr. Conrad G. Bölke to the Board of Health, but is only now sending along copies of his letters from Bölke and the United States consul at Hamburg, Joseph Pitcairn, with instructions regarding the medicine's use.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 14
Timothy Pickering (Washington [D.C.]) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1804 November 17
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Pickering writes regarding his plans for caring for his mentally disturbed son, William, thanking Dr. Rush for his advice. In a postscript, he asks Rush if he should talk to his son about his derangement when he is rational in order to have his cooperation in effecting a cure.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 14
Timothy Pickering (Salem [Mass.]) letter to Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia), 1807 July 5
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Pickering details how the family is no longer able to care for William. He has decided to send William to Rush's hospital in Philadelphia, where he will not be able to escape and might recover. He adds that another son, George, is potentially manifesting the same symptoms as William.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 14
Timothy Pickering (Washington [D.C.]) letter to Benjamin Rush (n. p.), 1808 November 17
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Pickering describes symptoms for which he would like Rush's treatment advice. Includes Rush's own notes regarding two prescriptions he advised.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 14
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to unidentified, 1777 April 2
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 33 cm)

Rush congratulates the unnamed recipient on his recent appointment in the army, and makes note of the support of France and Spain in America's revolutionary cause, along with other Mediterranean countries. He mentions that the army expects to check any advance of General Howe into Philadelphia, whose appearance would cause a panic. He notes that his opposition to Pennsylvania's current government has cost him his seat in Congress, but that he had planned to join the army in any case.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (n.p.) letter to unidentified, 1777 Autumn
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 25 cm)

Rush discusses his appointment to the Army, the support of doctors Shippen and Brower for that appointment, his concerns about the medical system and the numbers of deaths the army has experienced, dispatches that have arrived from France, and that John Adams is on his way there.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Princetown) letter to unidentified, 1778 April 20-21
(2 Leaves, 8 pages; 22 cm)

Rush states that he is never indifferent to any thing relating to America, and that the basis for America's freedom is broad, but is in danger from a tedious and expensive war, and from "the ignorance, indolence, and avarice of too many of our Whigs." He follows with questions regarding the country's finances, then notes that he has ordered a court-martial of Dr. Shippen, for whom he will serve as prosecutor. A postscript discusses two bills before Congress.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Princetown) letter to James McHenry (n. p.), 1778 May 17
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 22 cm)

Rush recommends Dr. James Finley to McHenry, and requests that he visit Finley's patients with him. He adds that he is forced into a military retirement by Dr. Shippen's friends, but takes pleasure in McHenry's service. Finally, he comments on the alliance with France.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Rushhill), 1779 July 30
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 21 cm)

Rush relays his plans to visit Julia. A postscript instructs her how to protect herself and the babies from contracting a fever.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Morristown, NJ) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Philadelphia), 1780 March 17
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush writes regarding the health of Julia's uncle's family, one of whom is suffering from a stomach disorder. He also notes that Julia's father's health is deteriorating. Her father will accompany him upon his return, to be placed under another physician's care. He requests that Julia have his assistants call upon the parents of children Rush inoculated before his departure, with instructions for their care. He describes the trial of a Dr. Shippen. He mentions that the letter was written in company, in General Green[e?]'s office.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1781 March 12
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 34 cm)

Rush writes regarding shipment arrangements for materials Julia has requested. He notes that a new tenant has taken possession of their farm. He inquires regarding Julia's health, they comments on the difficulty of separation from her. Rush's signature has been removed from the letter.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (n.p.) note to Librarian of the Pensyla. Lib[rary] (n.p.), 1781 April 20
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 9 cm)

Note by Rush requesting that no more books be lent to Mr. Dick on Dr. Rush's account, but permitting the bearer of the note to borrow any books required.

Autograph collections of Dr. Max Thorek; Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to [General Nathanael Greene, n.p.], 1782 April 15
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 24 cm)

Rush congratulates Greene on his successes in North Carolina, then recommends that he move from Rhode Island to South Carolina, which is more active in manners and government and would suit him better. He then comments upon the country's need for Confederation and for a national character built upon something more than resentment of Great Britain.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Jacob Read (n. p.), 1782 April 23
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 24 cm)

Rush rejoices in Read's recovery and safe return to South Carolina and sends greetings to Read's family. He outlines family news, including that Julia has given birth to another girl and Mrs. Boudinott has spent the winter. He adds that the women humanize their friend, Dr. Ramsay, in preparation for his finding a wife.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Rush, Benjamin (n.p.) letter to [John Bubenheim Bayard], 1784 June 25
(2 Leaves, 3 pages; 34 cm)

A copy, in an unknown hand, of a letter from Rush to Bayard regarding sentiments expressed in an earlier letter to General John Armstrong. The letter reflects post-revolutionary state politics in Pennsylvania. In the letter, Rush censures his fellow Presbyterians, who refuse to revoke the test laws and to admit amendments to the state constitution. He also condemns the taking over by the Presbyterian dominated state government of the charter of the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania, and refers to the College of Carlisle, or Dickinson College, established in protest to the first action. He regrets the inflammatory remarks and publications made by members of the state's single legislative body, the Council of Censors, and by Joseph Reed and Mr. Smiley, and deplores the character of Henry Osborn and Owen Faris.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1786 August 23
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush writes that he expects their friend, Dr. Hall, to marry soon. He also writes of his activities with his boys. More particularly, his son John accompanied him on rounds at the hospital and showed no emotion while witnessing an operation. Rush also described in detail their visit to a mentally disturbed patient. He is pleased that John has expressed a desire to become a physician.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1787 August 16
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 32 cm)

Rush writes about solitude, and how he misses having his wife and family to impart his thoughts and ideas to immediately.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1787 August 22
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush writes that he wishes to share his reading of Paley's moral philosophy with her, because he would enjoy it more that way and it would better qualify her to educate their children. He describes a gathering where he provided beer to a group of laborers, and how affectionate one of them was to his dog, including a reflection of "infinite love which follows the human species." He then comments that their leaving a local congregation has finally been noticed. The signature line for this letter has been excised.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Rev [Ashbel?] Green (n. p.), 1787 September 19
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 24 cm)

Rush explains his reasons for leaving the Reverend's church; he mentions Rev. Sproat.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to George Clymer (n. p.), 1789 February 12
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 21 cm)

Rush outlines a full course of treatment for an undefined equine disease, including bloodletting.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1791 July 16-17
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush writes of their exchange of letters, and mentions both of their sons, along with the grandson of President Washington, who is ill with a fever and is being attended by doctors Shippen and Kuhn. He also successfully treats a woman with a locked jaw. He announces his plan to open an African Church, and describes the resulting excitement in the free black community.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1791 July 29
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush takes Julia to task for permitting their son John to have a gun against his expressed wishes. Rush believes John's character is not the correct one for gun ownership, because he lacks gentleness and compassion. Rush requests that Julia not override his dissent, and strengthen their parenting as a result. He announces that he has taken their son Richard to see patients. He is reading John Newton's Cardiphonia. He also is planning to develop a cure for the consumptive cough.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1791 August 24
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush explains his plans for travel to Princeton, and the minor ailments he has been suffering. He then describes how he visited a patient who was having a fit of colic, only find she was actually in labor. He expects the affair to give him some trouble, but has neither the constitution nor time to practice midwifery. He rejoices in hearing of the fall of the French monarchy, and expects that it will lead to the removal of all the kings in Europe. A later note was added stating that the letter's signature was given to an autograph seeker.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Richard Rush (Princeton [N.J.]}, 1792 May 17
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 21 cm)

Rush writes to his son regarding his education. He expects him to study Latin and arithmetic, and stresses that he needs to pay more attention to his spelling.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to James Thornton (n. p.), 1792 September 3
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush writes to Thornton regarding his opposition to capital punishment, and encloses copies of a his pamphlet on the matter, of which Thronton had approved. Rush also discusses his birthplace, Byberry, where Thornton resides.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 15
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 August 21
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 26 cm)

Rush announces that a violent "fever" has broken out in one district of the city, where 12 people have died. If it spreads he plans to have Julia remain at Princeton. He then reports that influenza continues to spread, with violent symptoms that cause him anxiety. He adds that Mr. Wolstonecraft has refused to purchase their property, because he could not support himself by hunting on it. Finally, he notes the arrival of a fellow physician's son from France, who brings disturbing news of the state of affairs, there.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 August 25-26
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush updates Julia on the alarming spread of the fever. He reports that the College of Physicians has met to consult on how to stop the spread of disease and to draw up instructions for that purpose. These directions will be handed to the mayor. He asks her to stay in New Jersey with the children, and to pray for his protection, although he takes all precautions possible. He plans to confine his boys to the house for their protection.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 August 26-27
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 32 cm)

Rush states that the boys are so apprehensive about contracting the fever from his clothes that he has decided to send them to Trenton. He asks her to have them read something useful, because he is worried about possible habits of idleness. He notes that the directions from the College of Physicians are to be published tomorrow, but worries that the fever will not subside before October's heavy rains and frost. His postscript provides instructions on how to protect the boys.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 August 27
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 20 cm)

Rush notes that both boys have headaches, but are travelling regardless. He reports on the fever in their neighborhood, listing who has died or left town.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 August 29-30
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush provides a detailed account of the yellow fever epidemic, describing its varied presentation among individuals. He notes that the violence of the fever has caused Philadelphians to mistake it for plague. He points out that common remedies have all failed, but he consults with Dr. Caspar Wistar regarding treatments.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 September 1-2
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush describes the funerals taking place in the city, and tells Julia that the fever has been particularly fatal to the young. He rejoices that the boys left the city, but hopes they avoid fatigue, heat, and cold, so that they do not excite any portion of the fever they might have carried with them from town. He expresses concern that the city is only at the beginning of the epidemic, but joins Julia in planning to express more gratitude for God's mercies in the future.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 3
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 26 cm)

Rush records that his case load is increasing, as is his fatigue, but that many of those he treats are out of danger. He reports on the progress of the epidemic in their neighborhood.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 September 4
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 26 cm)

Rush briefly notes that the disease spreads, but mortality is not in proportion to the numbers afflicted. His cure is jalap and mercury, taken on the first day of the attack.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 5
(2 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush writes that he has seen 100 patients, and that he now saves almost all those he sees within the first day. He notes that some doctors rail against the cure he uses, several of them publishing false information, even though they generally have not visited patients with the fever. He chronicles the fate of several doctors that have contracted the disease. He notes that some of his friends are ashamed to see him once they fall ill. He admonishes her once more to watch the boys closely for signs of infection, for the fever will lie dormant 1 to 16 days following contraction.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 6-7
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush notes that his cure is working, but there is a pause in new cases, and that fatalities are now among the poor without access to doctors or respectable people being treated by quacks. He states that if the fever breaks out in Princeton, he will send his assistant John Cox to execute his cure. Once again he documents the health status of his fellow physicians, although he records a rumor that some doctors have ceased seeing patients at all. He then discusses the various treatments that have been used for the fever. In a postscript, he adds that Africans in the city have proven immune to the disease.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 8
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush tells Julia that the pause is over; he has been called to countless cases. Two more doctors are ill, Dr. Morris has died, and Secretary Hamilton is sick. He describes the support he receives from friends, along with the more serious symptoms of the fever.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 10
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 33 cm)

Rush expresses amazement that he remains uninfected by the fever, for he has seen over 100 patients on this date, and 40 people were buried. He states that he does not forget to treat the poor "remembering my dream in the Autumn of 1780." Many doctors have adopted his treatment, but several oppose it, as they oppose his treatment for lockjaw. He remarks that more of the French exiles have come down with the fever. He is now using bloodletting as a tool, since the weather is cooler.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 11
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 33 cm)

Rush notes that the efficacy of his cures is now proven, and that his directions for treating and preventing the disease will be published in the newspapers. He adds that he is in surprisingly good health, since his meals now consist only of milk and vegetables, and water.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 12
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 21 cm)

Rush writes that he is preparing for the "awful duties of the day," as yesterday exceeded any of the preceding days in distress and death, and two more physicians are ill.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 13
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 21 cm)

Rush notes that the fever has been said to become more mild, but that is not the case, especially if his treatment has not been used. He adds that besides combatting the fever, he has to contend with the "prejudices, fears, & falsehoods" of his fellow physicians. He adds that all are tinged with infection, now. Even his own eyes are tinged a yellow color.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 15
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 34 cm)

Rush refers to the tremendous opposition fellow physicians have given him regarding his cures, and Dr. Kuhn's publications have done the most harm. Rush announces that he has used his methods to cure his own attack of the fever.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 17
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 21 cm)

Rush states that he is sending his assistants out to his patients, and will now visit the most serious cases. He updates her on those in the neighborhood who have not survived.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 18
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush seeks to reassure his wife that he is fully recovered and well cared for. He notes the numbers of those who oppose his treatments that have now left the city. He adds that it is cold, and that he hopes this will check the fever.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 18
(2 Leaves, 7 pages; 24 cm)

Rush describes how he has been forced to limit the number of patients he sees, and the reactions of those whose treatment he declines. He also describes how many of those who become infected are abandoned. He mentions that there is fear of famine in the city.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 20
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 24 cm)

Rush says that distress increases in Philadelphia, and names several friends and one doctor who have died.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 21
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush announces that he is well, but has a sore throat from his treatment. He saw 25 patients by carriage; then 25 more, mostly poor people, at home, but was still forced to turn away 38 others. Their house continues as a hospital. He says that his professional detractors are increasing their persecution of him.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 22-23
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush enumerates the close family friends that are ill or have died, and notes that only one doctor who continues to follow his treatment.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 23-24
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush announces that his pupil, Johnny Stall, has died. He mentions that citizens universally exhibit symptoms of the fever, but that the poor suffer the most. He hopes the weather will change.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 24
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush announces that another of his assistants, Alston, has died. He admits to extreme weakness, but otherwise is in good health. He points out that bleeders, doctors, apothecaries, and nurses are becoming scarce, as are the medical necessities used to treat the fever.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 25-26
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush says he has been spending time treating and putting up medicines for the poor. He hopes rain and frost will follow to weaken the contagion. He points out that many have died because they mistake their symptoms for a common fever. He notes that now even the African Americans are succumbing in large numbers.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 26-27
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush announces that his final apprentice, John Coxe, has died and that his sister is very ill. There is some rain in the city. He reports that Dr. Wistar has published an account of his recovery that is calculated to undermine Rush's treatments.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 29-30
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush reports that his sister is in grave danger and that, by popular demand, physicians have been forced to adopt his treatment for the fever.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 September 30 - October 1
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush defends his taking in Johnny Stall and Ed Fisher, as neither had any other home. His sister, who was at the brink of death, is better, but his mother is now ill and is refusing treatment.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 1
Folder 16
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 1-2
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush provides a detailed account of his sister's death, describing also the invaluable support she provided to him. He notes that there is a want of cash in the city, and that provisions are costly, and prices high. He adds that many of the committee men who sought to help the poor have now died. He hopes for a change in the weather. The close of the letter is missing.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 2-3
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush points out that Julia's letters are now delayed at the Post Office by 2 or 3 days, but her recent letter brought him comfort. He says that he cannot think of the family or the children, but lives in the moment, making himself useful to others. His sister has been buried, and he plans to plant medicinal plants at her grave; his mother is fully recovered.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 3-4
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush states that he receives many inquiries each day from country practitioners, and there is a high cost personally and in postage to answering each letter, so he is publishing an account of the fever, including preventatives and remedies. He reports that he is seeing 40-50 patients a day, and notes the progress in the cases.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 4-5
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush reports that he has had a relapse of the fever, but is still seeing patients as he can. He adds that the poor, children, and servants have been hardest hit by the fever. Nursing wages are now $4 a day. The signature for the letter has been excised.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 6-7
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush asks that Julia and the children mourn his sister's death, as he is doing. He is unable to see patients because of continued weakness.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 7-8
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 33 cm)

Rush announces that the publication about the fever has been well received by the citizens. He updates Julia on the condition of several patients.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 8-9
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush states that he would rejoice at news of the birth of his niece if he could, but he feels as though he will never feel joy again. The mortality this day is worse than ever. He believes it is now unsafe for her to receive articles of clothing from their house. Also, he would prefer to borrow money from her brother than from a bank at the moment.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 9-10
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush reports that the women who waited before sending for him to treat their fever have now died. His meals are now public, and he describes his diet. He notes that some doctors have been adding bark and laudanum to his new remedies. He plans to publish to expose their ignorance.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 10-11
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 24 cm)

Rush reports mortality is very great, and chiefly among the poor and servants. He adds that nearly 2000 people have died since the beginning of the fever. His own fever has returned and confined him to his house.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 11
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush is confined to his house, and has been prescribing based on the reports of his pupils. He remains weak, but otherwise healthy. He finds it strange when men write to propose business or contractual dealings at this point in time. Part of the final page of the letter is missing.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (n. p.), 1793 October 13-14
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 24 cm)

Rush informs Julia that he has been thinking more of the children than he has in weeks and describes a dream he has had about her. He inquires after the new baby. He plans to ride out to the countryside to repair his health and later reports feeling stronger. He lists the conditions of those among their acquaintances.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 14-15
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush points out that he has received no letters from Julia. He gains strength but must eat often to avoid becoming "weak and fainty." His patients now hand him a glass of milk or crust of bread as they would hand another a glass of wine. He adds that their servant, Marcus, has been very faithful and that his mother is well, but complains of the high cost of housekeeping.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 17-18
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush lists those in the neighborhood who were not his patients that have died. He praises their "black friend," Marcus, for faithfully waiting on him. He has received letters from Europe, among them a letter from Granville Sharp, authorizing him to draw on contributions in London for the African Church of Philadelphia. Among the contributors was the Duke of Grafton. Rush points out that no doctors have inquired after his health, and that their confederacy against him in stronger than ever. The letter's signature has been excised.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 18
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush announces that Dr. Sproat has died, adding, "It is truly distressing to think of the desolation which has followed the footsteps of this man, and of all the Doctors who use Bark- Wine- Laudanum, and hot, or cold Baths in this disorder. It is much more inflammatory than a common Pleurisy, & who ever thought of using those remedies in that disease?" He notes the health of other doctors, and reports that he is now employed again by Mr. Hammond, who had been persuaded against Rush's treatment. He ends noting that Julia's sister has written to urge him to leave the city, a move he feels would be "unwise, and perhaps sinful."

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 20-21
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 23 cm)

Rush details several patients' responses to treatment, or lack thereof, and includes consideration of the impact of psychological influences on recovery. He notes that the days grow colder, but they need rain. He has returned to his notes on yellow fever taken during his apprenticeship in 1762.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 October 21-22
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 24 cm)

Rush reports that the fever declines daily and that he expects she will be able to return to the city by mid-November. He rode out for the first time in weeks, and found more people in the streets, and those more cheerful. He adds that he is feeling stronger daily.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 October 23-24
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush notes that rain and cold weather have not decreased cases of the fever; 700 have died since 11 October, and 3400 since 1 August. He feels the distress of others all the more because he cannot assist them now. He has discovered further evidence that his sister gave her life to save his. Finally, he notes that his publications are still saving lives.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 October 24
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush reports that his practice has fallen off. Disease has left their district and it is well known that he is too weak to see patients. His pupils attend to the poor. He describes his financial situation, then notes how few friends he now has among medical brethren, and how that impacts his future career, since he now cannot consult or operate with them.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Trenton [N.J.]), 1793 October 25-26
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush reports that only one person has been buried today in the Quaker graveyard, when 5-17 have been regular. He complains of fever treatments used by French physicians.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 27-28
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush announces he is contemplating moving into a new house before her return and considers a few locations. He adds that his day no grave was opened in the Quaker graveyard and their were no admissions or deaths in the Bush Hill hospital.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 28-29
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush has taken measures to purify their house. He points to a new clamor regarding his assertion that yellow fever has been operating in the city. He has been asked to prove that assertion.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Mrs. [Rachel] Montgomery (n. p.), 1793 October 29
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

In this letter to his sister, Rachel, Rush provides details of their sister Rebecca's death, his grief, and the state of their mother's health.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 29-30
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush records a visit from physicians who have quietly sought to prove the effectiveness of his mercury treatment by using it to treat the poor. He asks Julia to join him in reading Psalm 103 and praising God for his protection. He expects to take charge of the hospital shortly.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 30-31
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush notes the health of several doctors and points out that St. Paul's Church has offered prayers twice a week since the fever began. He is not seeing patients, but is spending his time reading and making notes on the epidemic. He describes his melancholy when he contemplates the state of the city and those he has lost.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 October 31
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 23 cm)

Rush points out that many people are returning to town; he hopes not too soon, for there are still many who are ill or dying. The rest of the letter is regarding his professional feud with Dr. Wistar over treatment for the fever. Rush is especially offended because Wistar had originally assented to the efficacy of Rush's treatment, then changed his mind.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 November 1
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 24 cm)

Rush has discovered that a letter containing charges against him has been circulating among physicians. He plans to obtain a copy and publish it. He is inquiring after a house.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 2
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Rosehill), 1793 November 3
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush reports that he was driven to Rosehill to visit their son, Ben, and also met neighbors. He figures that two-fifths of all those sent to Bush Hill hospital have died, because his remedies were not used.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 2
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 November 4-5
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush outlines their full affection for each other, and makes tentative plans to visit Julia. The closing for the letter has been excised.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 2
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 November 7
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush challenges Julia to be patient regarding a return to town. He repeats the history of his relationship with his detractors, then returns to praising her as a "great woman" for never asking him to leave the city during the outbreak.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 2
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 November 8
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush reports having received various letters and items from London, including a medical book. He states that he has had no cases of yellow fever in two days. He uses the rest of the letter to recount fully his second attack of the fever, beginning October 10th. He writes that he expects her return the coming week.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 2
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 November 11
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush outlines the work that will keep him from visiting Julia, after all. He points out that there have been four deaths from fever, so unless there is a frost, she should not return to Philadelphia on the date they agreed upon. He repeats more of the "slander" against him.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 2
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1793 November 12
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 20 cm)

Rush points out that he is too weak and busy to ride out to her at Rosehill, but she may come in to town, or he will ride out to spend the next day with her.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 2
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Dr. [Basil G.] Middleton (London), 1796 January 15
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 22 cm)

Rush writes most likely to Dr. Basil G. Middleton, (c. 1740-1818), a former surgeon with Virginia forces in the Revolutionary War, now living in London. Rush discusses personal and medical matters, touching on College of Philadelphia medical school classes and enrollment, and comments on the unconcluded treaty with England and the American political system.

Purchase, 2013

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Mr. Harris (n. p.), 1796 October 11
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 34 cm)

Rush's copy of a letter to a Mr. Harris regarding Rush's ability to establish a patent for land in Lewistown.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1798 August 6
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush announces that yellow fever has broken out throughout the city, but there have been no measures yet to exterminate the disease. Their son Richard plans to move a mattress and books to their farm. Rush notes that a Mr. Thomas has left Philadelphia forever as a result of his debts, and has ruined many young men in the meantime. In a postscript, Rush points out that Capt. Mitchell of the American Army has the fever. Rush is considering leaving and is urging his patients to leave. Rush's signature has been excised.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1798 August 7-8
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 33 cm)

Rush notes that the fever has increased more in one week than it had in three weeks in 1793 and 1797. He had made plans to leave in 7-10 days when the U. S. Mint was closed, but by the end of the letter announces more immediate plans to remove to Sydenham, which has been prepared for the family and servants. Their son John is arriving via his ship in New Castle. A note was appended to the letter in 1848, saying that the close of the letter was cut out for an autograph seeker.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1798 August 9-10
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 32 cm)

Rush notes that John arrived, and they are now at Sydenham. He also reports that he has sold the Chapel farm for $2,500. He describes a new remedy he has developed for yellow fever. The signature has been excised from this letter.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1798 August 26
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush points out that though staying in the country helps him forget all that is going on around him, he cannot forget the poor, sick, and dying in the city. Three more persons were admitted to the hospital this day than were admitted in 1793.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Sydenham) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1798 August 31
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush notes that his pupil is better, and that he is using profuse sweating as part of his treatment for the fever. A later note was appended to the letter stating that Mrs. Rush allowed the signature to be cut away for an autograph.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (n.p.) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1798 September 27
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush reports that despite being exposed to the fever daily for two months, he is still healthy. However, he has "felt, mourned, and wept" until he could no longer do so. He reports that poor people chase him down in the street, and that he carries medicine with him in order to do all he can to help them. Free blacks and servants form a large percentage of his patients.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1798 September 28
(2 Leaves, 5 pages; 24 cm)

Rush recounts all the improvements he has made for her at Sydenham. He will begin sending the family from town with the warm weather in May or June.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Sydenham) letter to Nathaniel Potter (Baltimore), 1799 October 18
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 33 cm)

Rush comments on commerce and the work of physicians, and on Philadelphia physicians opposed to use of mercury and bloodletting.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (n.p.) note to Julia Stockton Rush (n.p.), 1798 or 1799
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 19 cm)

Rush writes a brief note to inform Julia that a friend has failed, physically.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (n.p.) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1798 or 1799
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Rush writes that deaths from fever are decreasing, and he will soon end his engagement with city hospital. He outlines activities in the family, and their preparations for her return the following week. The signature to this letter has been excised.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to unidentified, 1800 December 16
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 33 cm)

Rush makes treatment recommendations for an undisclosed ailment.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to unidentified, 1802 February 15
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 32 cm)

Rush records the benefits of using Kinepox over variolation to inoculate against smallpox.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to [James Currie, n. p.], 1802 March 15
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 25 cm)

Rush writes a letter of introduction for University of Pennsylvania chemist, Dr. James Woodhouse.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to John Bostock (Liverpool, England), [1805 May ]
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 24 cm)

Rush thanks Dr. Bostock for his essay on respiration, saying he will read it with interest and awaits Bostock's future work on the topic. The rest of the letter relates to Rush's English ancestry and friendship with Bostock's father.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (n.p.) letter to Thomas Jefferson (n. p.), 1805 June 15
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 20 cm)

Copy of a letter Rush composed to Jefferson regarding appointments Jefferson has made, as well as the impact of yellow fever epidemics on commerce with Europe.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to John Bostock (Liverpool, England), 1806 April 7
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 26 cm)

Rush thanks Bostock for his article "Analysis of Animal Fluides," then provides requested anecdotes regarding Bostock's father. Rush comments upon treatment for pulmonary consumption and the use of bloodletting in parturition and pregnancy.

2-page transcript available

Purchase, 1956.

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) note to Julia Stockton Rush (Princeton [N.J.]), 1808 August 25
(1 Leaves, 1 page; 25 cm)

Rush's brief note to his wife following her departure, enclosing 10 dollars and providing information on the family's health.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Three Rivers, Canada), 1809 July 7
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 25 cm)

Rush outlines how the family spent July 4th for Julia, then discusses possible successors to University of Pennsylvania chemist, James Woodhouse. Letter includes a poem by William Rush to his mother.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Three Rivers, Canada), 1809 July 15
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 25 cm)

Rush describes his parting with their son, James, and announces that Dr. Coxe has been appointed Professor of Chemistry. Includes a letter from Samuel Rush to his mother.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Julia Stockton Rush (Three Rivers, Canada), 1809 July 21-22
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 25 cm)

Rush relates how he misses Julia, then describes the activities of their boys. He notes that the weather has been uncommonly cool, which has damaged crops. There has also been an outbreak of yellow fever in the city, but he expects it to be checked by the cool weather. He points out that the "ejection of Mr. Erskine's convention with our government by the British Court" has caused outrage in the city.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Richard Henderson (Loudon Court House, Virginia), 1810 May 31
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Rush writes regarding a Mr. Carter's debts, particularly regarding his coffin and grave.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Richard Henderson (Loudon Court House, Virginia), 1810 June 27
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 32 cm)

Rush writes a more detailed letter regarding Mr. Carter's debts and ill treatment of Carter, who was insane, by his family. Includes a statement of charges certified by the hospital's steward. Letter features an additional written comment made by Henderson or someone in his firm.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to unidentified, 1810 October 20
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 25 cm)

Rush replies to a requested consult regarding a severe case of hemorrhoids or other bowel problem. He proposes that if the patient is willing to visit Philadelphia, the problem can be treated surgically.

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to W. Jones [Dr. Walter Jones] (n. p.), 1811 February 12
(1 Leaves, 4 pages; 26 cm)

Rush congratulates Jones on his decision to leave Congress, and records his own regrets regarding public service, with particular regard to the funding system and the banks. He now believes American citizens "unfit for and undeserving of liberty."

3-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller (n. p.), 1811 June 7
(2 Leaves, 7 pages; 33 cm)

Rush writes his memories of John Rodgers, the patriarch of Presbyterianism in the United States. Rodger's had been his boyhood friend at Dr. Finley's school in Maryland. In 1777, Rush had taken care of Rodger's son in Kingston following a battle.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to William Eustis (n. p.), 1811 December 16
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 26 cm)

Rush writes an unsolicited recommendation for Dr. James Mease to serve as head of the Office of Purveyor for the army's medical department.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to unidentified, 1812 August 11
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Rush's draft letter acknowledges receipt of his certificate of membership in the Royal Academy of Medicine in Madrid, and laments the general lack of appreciation one experiences at the end of a career.

2-page transcript available

Purchase, 2012

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (Philadelphia) letter to Dr. [David] Hosack (n. p.), 1812 September 25
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 25 cm)

Rush's copy of a letter to Hosack on the origin of the fortifications and other Native ruins in different parts of the country.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (n. p.) letter to Baron Van Sach (n. p.), 1812 September 28
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 20 cm)

Rush's copy of a letter assuring the Baron he has read all of the medical segments of Van Sach's letters from Surinam, regarding the origins of infectious disease, including yellow fever and influenza. He commends Van Sach on his plans for preventing fevers in Surinam.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
Benjamin Rush (n. p.) letter to John Thompson (Edinburgh), 1812 October
(1 Leaves, 2 pages; 21 cm)

Rush's copy of a letter he wrote regarding his memories of Dr. William Cullen.

2-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 4
George Washington (Valley Forge) letter to Benjamin Rush (Yorktown), 1778 January 12
(2 Leaves, 2 pages; 23 cm)

Washington acknowledges the receipt of Rush's letter, and regrets the defects of the medical department, as Rush and Gov. Livingston have described them. Washington reports that he has taken measures to have the hospitals inspected and considered regulations regarding them. Includes a separate invitation for Rush to dine with the ?Washington.

1-page transcript available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 5
Anthony Wayne (Charlestown) letter to Benjamin Rush (n. p.), 1783 January 20
(1 Leaves, 3 pages; 23 cm)

Wayne describes his fever and consumption and their treatment, following his loss of blood "in defence of the rights & liberties of America, 'from her coldest, to her hottest sun.'"

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 2
Folder 6

2. Writings, 178[4]-1845 and undated

Contains a medical case book and a fragment of an essay or lecture written by Benjamin Rush, along with his travel diary for a trip to meet with the Board of Trustees for Dickinson College in 178[4]. Other materials include Julia Rush's devotional journal and exercise book, as well as an undated presentation note written by Richard Rush.

Benjamin Rush travel diary, 178[4] April 2-7
(2 items, 23 pages)

The diary records Rush's travel, accompanied by a servant and via horses, between the outskirts of Philadelphia and Carlisle, Pennsylvania, for an initial meeting with the trustees of Dickinson College. During the meeting the Trustees selected Dr. Charles Nisbet to serve as the College's first president. Rush described the taverns and other travel lodges at which he stopped, along with Tavern staff and other patrons, the quality of the food and drink, along with conversations he witnessed or took part in. Discussion often centered on the topics of the Constitution, paper money, as well as Dickinson College. Rush also described the results of a rapid Spring thaw on the Susquehanna River, the unusually cold weather, the scenery, and the presence whiskey stills in Irish settlements and their impact on their communities.

5-page transcription available

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 3
Folder 1
Benjamin Rush medical casebook, 1811-1812
(1 items, 74 pages)

In the casebook, Rush provided brief histories for his treatment of about 75 individuals. Entries generally included the year, patient's name, presented medical issue, dates of treatment, prescriptions applied, pulses noted, and the progression or resolution of the problem. Rheumatism was the most common complaint, along with dropsy (edema), pneumonia, diarrhea, and mania. Among the other illnesses listed were palsy (paralysis), fever, typhus, epilepsy, consumption, scurvy, hydrothorax, swelled spleen, and hysteria.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 3
Folder 2
Julia Stockton Rush devotional journal, 1812-1845
(222 pages)

Rush not only detailed her religious thoughts and practiced devotional exercises but also outlined her feelings regarding family matters, especially in regard to her bereavement following her husband's death. She requested intersession for family members, such as when her daughters emigrated to England and Canada and their later return, when they suffered serious illnesses, and blessings for the christenings of her grandchildren. She also noted her general physical and mental health as she aged. Entries are irregular, but often annually mark the New Year and her birthday on March 2nd.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 3
Folder 3
Benjamin Rush lecture or essay fragments, Undated
(8 items)

Lecture or essay regarding use of cordial remedies and bleeding, a discussion of influenza, along with a 2-page partial report on an autopsy that noted the presence of a tumor in the abdomen.

2-page transcription available.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 3
Folder 4
Richard Rush note, Undated
(1 items)

Presentation note for three unnamed items initialed by Richard Rush, son of Bejamin and Julia Stockton Rush.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 3
Folder 5

3. Financial Records, 1766-1828

Includes a few medical statements and receipts, along with two volumes of household accounts maintained by Benjamin Rush, one in conjunction with his wife. Along with general expenses and accounting information, the account books feature the employment records for Rush family staff and servants, often containing comments on the character and notable aspects of the employment history of each employee.

Medical statements and receipts, 1766-1810
(6 items)

Includes statements and receipts for medicines, advice, consultations, and sundries. In one case, Rush collected a fee on behalf of another physician. Julia Stockton Rush also served as collector, along with her husband. Includes a receipt from Richard Henderson in Leesburg, Va., for payment on the account of Mr. Carter, who had been a patient in Rush's care (see Letters series).

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 3
Folder 6
Household Accounts, 1770-1797
(1 Volumes, 259 pages)

Contains primarily Benjamin Rush's records of his expenses, including tax and bond payments, rental property fees, classes and dance lessons for family members, as well as money lent or advanced, accounts paid, cash received, and income from boarders. Rush noted the wide variety of areas where his money was spent, from postage and travel, to clothing and shoes, to household provisions and stores, along with medicines purchased. In addition, Rush created accounts for servants when they arrived, and noted their wages and any increased wages, advances, or loans; cloth, clothing, and shoes provided; with occasional notes on their personal and work habits and work history, and when they exited his service or married. Several of the comments have been redacted, along with a few pages of the account book. Finally, Rush made a few brief commonplace notes randomly in the volume, providing a "style sheet" for description of pulses, outlining a few prescriptions for patients, describing the weather, listing inventories of his furniture and linens, recording a few recipes, and in 1783, noting the news of possible peace with England.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Volume 1
Domestic Account Book belonging to Benj & Julia Rush beginning June 1799, 1799-1828
(1 Volumes, 146 pages)

Contains primarily accounts for individuals the Rush's employed in their household, including various house servants, cooks, coachmen, farmers and gardeners, along with accounts for work completed by washerwomen outside the residence. Individual accounts include the servant's name, followed by notes on pay and payments made, as well as any holds on pay, advances, loans, and pay rate increases. They also indicated when an individual was supplied with shoes or clothing, or had time off to visit the country. In addition, for the majority of the individuals, Benjamin continued his habit of adding a descriptive note when the person left their service, stating the reason for the departure, commenting on the quality of that servant's work, outlining their personal and work habits (especially their drinking habits), whether they married or not, and their race or ethnic background. Includes an incomplete alphabetical index for servant names. There are a few additional household accounts briefly noted, for wood and an umbrella, as well as two receipts, one for taxes and another (laid-in) for bread.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Volume 2

4. Legal Documents and Educational Records, 1775-1795

Present are Benjamin Rush's sworn statement regarding a certificate for Dickinson College, a patent for a tract of land Rush purchased in 1795, along with a certificate of attendance Rush signed for one of his students at the College of Philadelphia Medical School.

Samuel Cole educational record, 1775 April 26
(1 items)

Rush issued this certificate documenting that Samuel Cole attended 3 courses of his lectures on Chemistry and Pharmacy. Signed by Rush, Professor of Chemistry, College of Philadelphia.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 3
Folder 7
Sworn statement, 1786 April 14
(1 items)

Sworn statement that the certificate dated 1 July 1784, payable to Thomas Gilby and signed by John Pierce, is really the property of Dickinson College. signed by Benjamin Rush.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Box 3
Folder 8
Land Patent, 1795 April
(1 items)

Land deed for the Williamsburg tract purchased by Benjamin Rush, signed by Gov. Thomas Mifflin and Dep. Sec. James Trimble, with the Pennsylvania State seal, with notice that it was recorded in the state patent books.

Gift of Josiah Charles Trent Collection, 1956

Folder 1
 

Historical Note

Benjamin Rush was a physician, politician, social reformer, educator and humanitarian, as well as the founder of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He married Julia Stockton in 1776.

Benjamin Rush

Date Event(s)
1746 January 4 Born, in Byberry Township, Pa.
1760 Graduated with A. B., College of New Jersey (Princeton)
1761-1766 Medical apprenticeship, College of Philadelphia medical department
1768 Completed medical degree, University of Edinburgh
1769 Began medical practice in Philadelphia
Appointed Professor of Chemistry in College of Philadelphia's medical department
1776 Took his seat in Second Continental Congress
1776 August 2 Signed Declaration of Independence
1777 April Commissioned Surgeon General of Middle Department of the Continental Army
1778 Resigned from the Army
Became lecturer at University of the State of Pennsylvania
1783 Helped found Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa.
1784-1813 Surgeon at Pennsylvania Hospital, with responsibility for psychiatric ward
1797-1813 Treasurer of the U.S. Mint
1813 Died

Julia Stockton Rush

Date Event(s)
1759 Born, at "Morven" family estate near Princeton, N.J.
1776 Married Benjamin Rush; the couple went on to have 13 children
1848 Died at their county property, "Sydenham" (now 15th Street and Columbus Ave, Philadelphia)

Related Material

Sarah Eve diary, 1772-1773. Eve was the daughter of ship captain and merchant Oswell Eve, and the fiancee of Benjamin Rush until her death on 4 Dec. 1774, three weeks before the date set for their marriage.


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.