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.
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
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