(Hirsch 50) 03/22/1910
Barton, Benjamin Smith, 1766-1815.
Notes from Dr. Bartonís lectures on natural history, or zoology, 1809-1810.
Benjamin Smith Barton, son of Rev. Thomas and Esther (Rittenhouse) Barton, was born February 10, 1766, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Orphaned as a teenager, Barton went to live with an elder brother and became a medical student at the College of Philadelphia under the tutelage of Dr. William Shippen, Jr. In 1786 Barton went to Europe to further his studies at the University of Edinburgh and in London. Barton returned to Philadelphia without a medical degree in 1789 and set up private practice. In 1796 he received an honorary M.D. from the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany.
As a physician and a noted botanist and educator, Barton held prominent positions in the Philadelphia medical and scientific community. In 1789 he was appointed professor of natural history and botany at the College of Philadelphia. When the College joined with the University of the State of Pennsylvania in 1791, to form the University of Pennsylvania, Barton continued in this position. After the resignation of Dr. Griffith, Barton also became professor of materia medica and in 1813 succeeded Benjamin Rush as professor of the theory and practice of medicine.
Barton wrote extensively on the topics of natural history, botany, paleontology, etymology and medicine. He penned the first basic American textbook on botany, Elements of Botany, in 1803. In 1805 he founded and edited the Philadelphia Medical and Physical Journal.
As a professional advocate, Barton was extremely active in the American Philosophical Society, the Philadelphia Linnean Society, and the Philadelphia Medical Society, serving as its president (1815). He also was a member of the Linnean Society of London, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Danish Royal Society of Sciences, the Imperial Society of Naturalists of Moscow, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Royal Academy of Science of Sweden, and the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland. Barton was elected a Fellow of the College of Physicians in 1790.
In 1797 Barton married Mary Pennington, daughter of Edward Pennington of Philadelphia. They had 2 children, including a son, Thomas P.
Pulmonary hemorrhages and gout afflicted him throughout his life. In 1815 Barton took a sea voyage to Europe to bolster his health, but returned to Philadelphia in December suffering from hydrothorax. On December 19, 1815, Barton died.
Scope and Contents
One volume (56 leaves) of notes taken by an unidentified student on 13 natural history or zoological lectures of Benjamin S. Barton, delivered at the University of Pennsylvania. Lectures 2-10 are dated from December 9, 1809 to January 6, 1810. Lecture 11 is either missing or not identified as such. Lectures 1-12 cover mammals and lecture 13 discusses ornithology