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THE HISTORIC LIBRARY

On the left of the entrance to the present historical library is the second of the two paintings created by artist Thomas Sully. The painting is of Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the father of American psychiatry. Rush served on the Pennsylvania Hospital medical staff from 1783 until the time of his death in 1813.

 

 

 

 


Next to the painting of Rush is a portrait of Jacob Ehrenzeller who was the colonies' first medical apprentice. Ehrenzeller was indentured to the Hospital in 1773 at the age of 16 to serve the Hospital for five years and three months. During that time he was forbidden to "fornicate, play at cards, buy or sell goods, or run away."


 

 

 

 

The Historic Library
This room has been used to house the library since 1807, with the exception of the period from 1824 to 1835 when the room was used as a lying-in area, the obstetrical ward. In 1847 the American Medical Association designated the Pennsylvania Hospital library as the country's most important medical library. The collection now contains over 13,000 volumes dating back to the 15th century -- including medical and scientific volumes as well as books on natural history. The library includes the nation's most complete collection of medical books published between 1750 and 1850. The collection also contains several incunabula, books written before 1501, when the printed process was invented.

Continue on to The Nation's First Amphitheatre

 



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