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.
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.
Includes accession number 2010-001.
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
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to Public Services
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Waterhouse family papers, 1780-1894 (inclusive), 1811-1818 (bulk). H MS c17. Harvard
Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.
- Papers of Benjamin Waterhouse. H MS c16.
- Papers of Benjamin Waterhouse. B MS c10.
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
- Records have been maintained in the order in which they were originally cataloged.
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,
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.
- Box 1, Folder 3, Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1754-1846, A.L.s. to Elizabeth Watson, (Waterhouse) [Ware];
Cambridge, 1 side (4 pages), 1816 November 11
Date: 1816 November 11
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to his daughter about a visit she was planning with her sister, Mary,
to their grandmother, and the inheritance they may hope to receive from her, as well
as his plans to remarry to Louisa Lee.
- Box 1, Folder 6, Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1754-1846, 4 A.L.s. to William Ware; Cambridge, 1823 August
Date: 1823 August 23
Scope and Contents: Contains correspondence to his son-in-law regarding news and activities of family
and mutual friends, including comments on John Quincy Adams, a wedding Waterhouse
attended, and a fever that had afflicted Henry Ware. Also contains a typed transcription
of one letter.
- Box 1, Folder 10, Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1754-1846, 3 A.L.s. to Elizabeth [(Oliver)] Waterhouse, 1808
August 26-1811 August 15
Date: 1808 August 26-1811 August 15
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to his daughter relaying details of his travels New Haven, Connecticut,
where he met with United States Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin, and his visit
to Noah Webster's home, as well as a trip to Philadelphia, where he visited with Benjamin
Rush. Waterhouse also writes about his other children and his own social activities,
which included a dinner with Harvard President John Thornton Kirkland.
- Box 1, Folder 15, Waterhouse, Andrew Oliver, 1789-1832, 8 A.L.s. to Henry Ware; [verso page] Folder
2, 1819 September 30-1822 July 9
Date: 1819 September 30-1822 July 9
Scope and Contents: Correspondence written from Missouri while he was traveling there on an expedition
with the army, in which he reports on his daily activities, the local wildlife and
landscape, and his regiment's skirmish with "an unruly set of Indians."
- Box 1, Folder 18, Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1797-1843, 13 A.L.s. to Elizabeth [Watson] (Waterhouse) Ware,
Folder 1, 1813 June 18-1819 January 19
Date: 1813 June 18-1819 January 19
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to his sister from Phillips Academy, Andover, where Waterhouse was
a student, regarding troubles he was having with a teacher, as well as correspondence
written while he was living in South Carolina and Georgia, concerning his work as
a teacher, his finances, and social activities. Some correspondence is addressed to
- Box 1, Folder 19, Waterhouse, Benjamin, 1797-1843, 13 A.L.s. to Elizabeth [Watson] (Waterhouse) Ware,
Folder 2, 1819 February 18-1821 September 10
Date: 1819 February 18-1821 September 10
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to his sisters describing his travels to Amelia Island, Florida, and
Cumberland Island, Georgia, including comments on the people he encountered and local
vegetation. He provides observations from Savannah, Georgia, following a fire in that
- Box 1, Folder 22, Waterhouse, John Fothergill, 1791-1817, 18 A.L. to Elizabeth Watson (Waterhouse) Ware
and Mary (Waterhouse) Ware; Philadelphia, Folder 1, 1812 March 18-1813 March 30
Date: 1812 March 18-1813 March 30
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to his sisters describing the state of his lodgings and discussing
his interest in botany and etymology, and lectures he attended as a student at the
University of Pennsylvania Medical School, as well as details of his social life.
- Box 1, Folder 24, Waterhouse, John Fothergill, 1791-1817, 18 A.L. to Elizabeth Watson (Waterhouse) Ware
and Mary (Waterhouse) Ware; Philadelphia, Folder 3, 1815 February 17-December 16,
Date: 1815 February 17-December 16
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to his sisters discussing his work, social life, and other events in
Philadelphia, such as ceremonies for the launch of the United States naval ship Franklin,
several deaths with the launch, and an ensuing riot. He also writes expressing grief
over the death of their mother, and offers observations on cultural differences between
Boston and Philadelphia.
- Box 1, Folder 27, Waterhouse, John Fothergill, 1791-1817, 2 A.L.s. to Andrew Oliver Waterhouse, 1814
Date: 1814 March 23-1816
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to his brother written from Philadelphia, mainly regarding Andrew's
relationship with his family and his professional future, and from Edisto Island,
South Carolina, regarding social activities and life on the island.
- Box 1, Folder 29, Waterhouse, John Fothergill, 1791-1817, 4 A.L. to Benj[ami]n Waterhouse; Philadelphia,
1813 July 28-1816 March 30
Date: 1813 July 28-1816 March 30
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to his father regarding his siblings, Elizabeth and Andrew, and their
presence in Philadelphia, as well as topics such as botany and his study and practice
of medicine. Also contains correspondence addressed to both his parents sharing his
opinions on Sylvanus Fansher and discussing his own marriage prospects.
- Box 1, Folder 30, MS.L. to Mary (W[aterhouse]) Ware; Cambridge, 1 side (4 pages), 1825 April
Date: 1825 April
Scope and Contents: Correspondence from an unknown friend in Cambridge, discussing news of mutual family
and friends, including Mary's niece, who was in Boston with Henry Ware to consult
a physician regarding her eye health.
- Box 1, Folder 31, Clarke, Jane, 3 A.L.s. to Elizabeth (Oliver) Waterhouse; Birmingham [England], 1787
January 9-1792 February 25
Date: 1787 January 9-1792 February 25
Scope and Contents: Correspondence written from Birmingham, England, regarding Elizabeth's grandfather,
Peter Oliver, including his death, and other family in Great Britain.
- Box 1, Folder 32, Folsom, Charles, 1794-1872, 8 A.L.s. to Elizabeth W[atson] (Waterhouse) [Ware]; [verso
page], 1816 February-1817 February 15
Date: 1816 February-1817 February 15
Scope and Contents: Correspondence regarding the Waterhouse family, mutual friends, religion, and his
travel to the Mediterranean as a mathematics tutor and chaplain aboard the U.S.S.
- Box 1, Folder 40, Ware, Mary (Waterhouse), 1799-1872, 2 A.L. to John [Fothergill Waterhouse] and Elizabeth
[Watson (Waterhouse) Ware]; Cambridge, 1816 February 3-February 18
Date: 1816 February 3-February 18
Scope and Contents: Correspondence to her siblings inquiring about their well being and activities, sharing
news of family and friends, and expressing her displeasure at being separated from
Elizabeth, who was staying with in Philadelphia to restore her health.
- Box 1, Folder 43, Waterhouse, John Fothergill, 1791-1817, 8 A.L.s. to Elizabeth [(Oliver)] Waterhouse,
1806 July 5-1815 November
Date: 1806 July 5-1815 November
Scope and Contents: Correspondence written to his mother while he was a student at Phillips Academy in
Andover, and later as student at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and
a physician practicing in Philadelphia. He writes about his studies and social life,
and comments on the culture of Philadelphia
- Box 2, Folder 3, Correspondence, 1811 August 1-1814 November 13
Date: 1811 August 1-1814 November 13
Scope and Contents: Contains correspondence from Benjamin Waterhouse to his son, John Fothergill Waterhouse,
then a student a the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, in which he offers
advice regarding John's course of study and his compositions, and relays news regarding
family members. Also contains correspondence from John Fothergill Waterhouse to an
unknown recipient regarding minerals.
- Box 2, Folder 5, Notes on whale and list of small pox patrons, 1811-1814 November 6
Date: 1811-1814 November 6
Scope and Contents: Contains notes on the biology of whales, and notes on smallpox vaccination administered
by Sylvanus Fansher and other physicians. Also contains a list of individuals who
offered recommendations on behalf of Fansher, and a list of names and payments, presumably
for performing smallpox vaccination.
- Box 2, Folder 7, Correspondence and dissolution of partnership document, 1814 July 27, 1876 July 21
Date: 1814 July 27,
Date: 1876 July 21
Scope and Contents: Correspondence from Benjamin Waterhouse to his son, John Fothergill Waterhouse, discussing
his position as director of the army's 1st Military District, his soured relations
with Harvard, and botany. Also includes a document dissolving the partnership of Wm.
Beatty & Sons, a tool manufacturing business in Springfield, Pennsylvania.
- Box 2, Folder 8, Diagnosis notes, notes on brain, and journal, 1813, undated
Scope and Contents: Undated, unsigned manuscript on dissecting the brain and diagnosing and treating various
conditions like rheumatism, and journal entries of John Fothergill Waterhouse while
he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
- Box 2, Folder 9, Medical and Patient Notes, "Observations Upon Paralitic Affections Including Apoplexia
made in Philadelphia," 1813 October 15-1815 December 13
Date: 1813 October 15-1815 December 13
Scope and Contents: Contains notes taken on a near-daily basis by John Fothergill Waterhouse on his patients,
the course of treatment he prescribed, and their progress. Also contains notes on
mercury and recipes for assorted medicines, including emetics and cathartics, and
other notes on medicine, surgery, and natural history.
Families -- New England -- History -- 19th century.
Medicine -- History -- 19th century.
Parent and child -- United States -- 19th century.
Smallpox -- New England.
Smallpox -- Vaccination -- History -- 19th century.
Medicine -- 19th century.
Smallpox -- history.
Smallpox -- prevention & control.
Smallpox Vaccine -- history.
New England -- Social life and customs.
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