Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Cooper to Thomas Jefferson, 23 January 1818

From Thomas Cooper

Philadelphia 23d Jan. 1818

Dear sir

Last night at 8 o’Clock died our friend Dr Caspar Wistar aged 56. The vacancy occasioned by his death, may make a vacancy in the chemical Chair here: for I suspect either Dr Physick or Dr Dorsey the one professor of Surgery, the other a surgeon and professor of materia medica already, will succeed. In either case the Materia Medica Chair will become vacant, which Dr Coxe the present chemical incumbent is very desirous of Obtaining. I do not think any election will take place till May: what will happen I cannot know, and therefore can at present have no opinion about, but such as is founded on contingency and surmise. I thought it would interest you to know these circumstances. Pray accept Dear Sir my assurances of affection and great respect.

Thomas Cooper

RC (ViU: TJP); endorsed by TJ as received 28 Jan. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to James Madison, 6 Feb. 1818, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esq Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 23 Jan. Enclosed in TJ to Madison, 6 Feb. 1818.

John Syng dorsey was elected in May 1818 to succeed Wistar as professor of anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania. Two months later John Redman coxe transferred from the professorship of chemistry to that of materia medica, Dorsey’s old post. In September 1818 Robert Hare became the new chemistry professor (Joseph Carson, A History of the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania [1869], 133, 142).

Index Entries

  • Cooper, Thomas; academic career of search
  • Cooper, Thomas; letters from search
  • Coxe, John Redman; as university professor search
  • Dorsey, John Syng; as university professor search
  • Hare, Robert; as university professor search
  • Pennsylvania, University of search
  • Physick, Philip Syng; as university professor search
  • schools and colleges; University of Pennsylvania search
  • Wistar, Caspar; death of search