Thomas Jefferson Papers

Robert M. Patterson to Thomas Jefferson, 7 January 1814

From Robert M. Patterson

At the Hall of the Society,— january 7th., 1814.


I have the honor to inform you, that, at an election of the American Philosophical Society, held this day, you were unanimously reelected their President.

It gives me great pleasure, Sir, to announce to you this renewed proof of the high estimation with which you continue to be regarded by the Society.

Permit me, Sir, to take this opportunity of expressing to you my personal feelings of veneration and of gratitude.

R. M. Patterson,
Secretary A. P. S.

RC (MHi); dateline at foot of text; at head of text: “To Thomas Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 14 Jan. 1814 and so recorded in SJL.

Robert Maskell Patterson (1787–1854), physician and educator, was a native Philadelphian and the son of TJ’s longtime friend Robert Patterson. The younger Patterson received an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1804 and a medical degree from that institution four years later. The American Philosophical Society elected him to membership in 1809. Later that year he traveled to Europe to continue his training, bearing letters of introduction from TJ to leading French scientists. Shortly after his return to America, in 1813 Patterson was appointed professor of natural philosophy in the medical department of the University of Pennsylvania. One year later he was given the chair of natural philosophy and mathematics in the university’s arts faculty. He served his alma mater as vice provost, 1814–28, and trustee from 1836 until his death. From 1828–35 Patterson held the chair of natural philosophy at the University of Virginia. He returned to Philadelphia as director of the United States Mint, 1835–51. Patterson served the American Philosophical Society as a secretary, 1813–24, as a vice president, 1825–30 and 1836–44, and as president from 1849 until his death. He also helped manage the Franklin Institute, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind (Samuel Breck, A Short Biography of Robert M. Patterson, M.D. [1854]; PPAmP: Patterson Family Papers; Peale, Papers description begins Lillian B. Miller and others, eds., The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, 1983– , 5 vols. in 6 description ends , 3:10n, 4:18n; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Minutes, 21 Apr. 1809, 1 Jan. 1813, 7 Jan. 1825 [MS in PPAmP]; Robert Patterson to TJ, 10 May 1809; TJ to Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours, André Thoüin, and Bartelémy Faujas de Saint-Fond, 16 May 1809; TJ to Robert M. Patterson, 15 Feb. 1818; TJ to James Monroe, 22 July 1824; Joseph Carson, A History of the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania [1869], 117; Edward Potts Cheyney, History of the University of Pennsylvania, 1740–1940 [1940], 435; Catalogue of the Trustees, Officers, & Students of the University of Pennsylvania. Session 1851–52 [1852], 3–5; J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609–1884 [1884], 2:1943; Bruce, University description begins Philip Alexander Bruce, History of the University of Virginia 1819–1919: The Lengthened Shadow of One Man, 1920–22, 5 vols. description ends , 2:162–4; JEP description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States description ends , 4:498, 501 [28 Dec. 1835, 5 Jan. 1836]; William L. Mactier, A Sketch of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia [1885], 51; APS description begins American Philosophical Society description ends , Proceedings 6 [1854]: 60–4).

Index Entries

  • American Philosophical Society; R. M. Patterson as secretary of search
  • American Philosophical Society; TJ reelected president of search
  • Patterson, Robert Maskell; as secretary of American Philosophical Society search
  • Patterson, Robert Maskell; identified search
  • Patterson, Robert Maskell; letters from search