A medical diploma from the University of PennsylvaniaBenjamin Rush Medical Diploma Signed "Benjm Rush MD." One vellum page, partially printed in Latin, 25.5" x 20.5" (sight; height and width vary due to the irregular cut of the edges), Philadelphia, April 19, 1810, conferring on "Joseph G. Shippen...a Doctorate of Medicine" from the University of Pennsylvania. Signed by eleven faculty members, including Rush, who places his famous signature at bottom left. Light overall toning with staining at the top and bottom edges. Smoothed folds; light tear near the intersection of the main vertical and horizontal folds resulting in minor paper loss. Matted and framed with a short biography engraved on a black plate and a portrait print of Rush by Charles Wilson Peale, circa 1818 to an overall size of 48.25" x 34.5".
Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, became Professor of medical theory and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania in 1791, and during his lengthy career, he educated over 3,000 medical students. He wrote a descriptive account of the yellow fever epidemic that struck Philadelphia in 1793, during which he treated up to 100 patients per day, further enhancing his reputation. Rush was also far ahead of his time in the treatment of mental illness and is considered by some to be the "father of American Psychiatry". He published the first textbook on the subject in the United States, Medical Inquiries and Observations upon the Diseases of the Mind, in 1812; the emblem of the American Psychiatric Association also bears his portrait.
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