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H MS c17

Waterhouse family. Papers, 1780-1894 (inclusive), 1811-1818 (bulk): Finding Aid.

Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)


Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Preservation and description was supported in part by the Arcadia-funded project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: H MS c17
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: Waterhouse family.
Title: Waterhouse family papers,
Date(s): 1780-1894 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1811-1818 (bulk).
Quantity: 0.5 cubic feet (1 flat storage box and 1 half legal document box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Waterhouse family papers, 1780-1894 (inclusive), 1811-1818 (bulk) principally consist of the correspondence of Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846) and John Fothergill Waterhouse (1791-1817) with family members. Also included are medical, subject, and lecture notes; writings; a journal; and a biography of Benjamin Waterhouse.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Includes accession number 2010-001.

Processing Information:

Processed by Bryan Sutherland in October 2009, with additional processing conducted by Sutherland in November 2015 and Brooke McManus in 2016 as part of the Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries initiative.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine analyzed, arranged, and described the papers, and created a finding aid to improve access in 2009; folder level scope and content notes were added, and call numbers where extant were eliminated in November 2015.
Please note that the following abbreviations have been used: "A.L." for autographed letter; "A.L.s." for autographed letter signed; and "A.D.s." for autographed document signed.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access requires advance notice. Contact Public Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use:

The Harvard Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to Public Services. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Public Services Librarian are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright. Public Services

Preferred Citation:

Waterhouse family papers, 1780-1894 (inclusive), 1811-1818 (bulk). H MS c17. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Related Papers in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine

Biographical Note

Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), Hersey Professor of Theory and Practice of Physic at Harvard Medical School, introduced vaccination against smallpox to the United States. Born in Newport, Rhode Island in 1754, Waterhouse traveled to Europe in 1775, studying at the University of Edinburgh and the University of Leyden in the Netherlands, where he earned an MD in 1780. While attending Leyden, Waterhouse stayed in the home of John Adams, then American minister to the Netherlands. After returning to the United States, he became the first professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (1782) and was one of the three original members of the Harvard Medical School faculty. Waterhouse married Elizabeth Oliver in 1788 and they had six children: Andrew Oliver (1789); John Fothergill (1791); Elizabeth Watson (1793); Daniel Oliver (1795); Benjamin, Jr. (1797); and Mary (1799). Elizabeth Oliver Waterhouse died in 1815, and Waterhouse remarried in 1819 to Louisa Lee. Benjamin Waterhouse died in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1846 at the age of 92.
John Fothergill Waterhouse was Waterhouse's second-eldest son. He studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, before graduating from Harvard College (1811) and University of Pennsylvania Medical School (1813). After obtaining his MD, John Fothergill Waterhouse began a medical practice in Philadelphia, but he contracted tuberculosis, and died in 1817.


Scope and Content

The Waterhouse family papers, 1780-1894 (inclusive), 1811-1818 (bulk), consists of correspondence from Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846) to his children, son-in-law William Ware (who was married to his daughter, Mary Ware), and wife Elizabeth Oliver Waterhouse, as well as correspondence from John Fothergill Waterhouse (1791-1817) to his father, sisters and brothers, brother-in-law Henry Ware, and Sylvanus Fansher. Correspondence from Sylvanus Fansher concerns John Fothergill Waterhouse's request for vaccine, discussions about the vaccine and how to broaden its use, and Fansher's suggestion that John Fothergill Waterhouse travel to India to promote its use. Correspondence from Benjamin Waterhouse, Jr. (1797-1843) to his father Benjamin (1754-1846) and sisters about his personal experiences at Edisto Island, South Carolina, updates on his activities at Phillips Academy, and his time spent in Charleston, South Carolina and Georgia are included. Correspondence among other Waterhouse family members includes letters of Elizabeth Oliver Waterhouse to her children containing updates on her activities in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The collection also contains a biography of Benjamin Waterhouse written by his second wife, Louisa Lee Waterhouse. The biography focuses on Waterhouse's youth and his influences. Records in box two (Accession 2010-001) consist of additional Waterhouse family correspondence acquired at a later date, including letters of Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846), John Fothergill Waterhouse, and Elizabeth Oliver Waterhouse. Box two also contains medical, patient, lecture, and subject notes ("magnesia genus," whales), as well as a copy of Observations Upon Paralitic Affections Including Apoplexia made in Philadelphia by John Fothergill Waterhouse.
Materials are entirely in English.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Family life.
Families -- New England -- History -- 19th century.
Medicine -- History -- 19th century.
Parent and child -- United States -- 19th century.
Physicians' writings.
Smallpox -- New England.
Smallpox -- Vaccination -- History -- 19th century.
Medicine -- 19th century.
Smallpox -- history.
Smallpox -- prevention & control.
Smallpox Vaccine -- history.
Andover (Mass.).
Boston (Mass.).
Cambridge (Mass.).
Charleston (S.C.).
New England -- Social life and customs.
Philadelphia (Penn.).
Medical records.
Fansher, Sylvanus, 1770-1846
Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1754-1846
Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1797-1843
Waterhouse, Elizabeth Oliver, 1769-1815
Waterhouse, John Fothergill, 1791-1817
Waterhouse, Louisa Lee, d. 1863
Ware family.
Waterhouse family.