Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831

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Physician Joseph Carson taught medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The College of Philadelphia's Medical School, founded in 1765, became known as the University of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Medicine In 1779.

From the guide to the Joseph Carson letters, 1789-1858, 1789-1858, (American Philosophical Society)

Physician and naturalist.

From the description of Papers, 1792-1928. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 35203561

Mitchill (Edinburgh, M.D. 1786), a physician, scientist, and legislator from New York, served in the U.S. Congress from 1804 to 1813. He taught natural history, chemistry, botany, and agriculture at Columbia College from 1792 to 1801, and at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York from 1807 to 1826. He also helped found Rutgers Medical College, was a physician to New York Hospital, and helped found the journal Medical Repository (established 1797).

From the description of Papers of Samuel Latham Mitchill, 1809-1828 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 281437060

One of the great polymaths of the early Republic, Samuel Latham Mitchill was born in North Hempstead, Long Island, on August 20, 1764, to Quaker parents, Robert and Mary (Latham) Mitchill. After receiving basic medical training from an uncle, Dr. Samuel Latham, Mitchill attended the University of Edinburgh, from which he received his medical degree in 1786. A man with extraordinarily wide ranging interests, a "chaos of knowledge," Mitchill was seldom tied long to any single discipline, and after returning to New York and obtaining a license to practice medicine, he launched into the study of law. Very shortly, too, he entered into the public affairs of the young country. In 1788, he was appointed a commissioner to negotiate with the Six Nations for the purchase of lands in western New York state, and he served three terms in the New York state legislature beginning in 1791. Mitchill was again in the legislature in 1798, when he supported Fulton and Livingston's monopoly of steam navigation in New York waters. His last term in state office came in 1810.

Mitchill's scientific career began in earnest in 1792, when he was appointed to the chair of natural history at Columbia University, where he later also taught chemistry and botany, 1793-1795. His early analysis of the spring waters at Saratoga, N.Y., brought him widespread public attention. As an avid dabbler in many areas of science, from chemistry and mineralogy to biology and a host of applied sciences, Mitchill's scientific productivity was impressive, even by the prolific standards of the day, and while his theories often proved erroneous, equally often his research formed the foundation for later, more fruitful work. His research in chemistry, for example, led to better products in gunpowder, detergents, and disinfectants, and as an offshoot of his interest in agricultural development, he explored the mineralogy of the Hudson River valley.

Mitchill's contributions to the development of the natural sciences in the United States, however, lie mainly in the structural, rather than theoretical realm. In 1797, he, Edward Miller and Elihu H. Smith, founded the Medical Repository, a leading scientific journal of the day, and Mitchill served as its chief editor for over twenty-three years. Most crucial of all, though, may have been his role as one of the most ardent promoters of the sciences in the U.S. Congress. Mitchill resigned his chair at Columbia in 1801 to take a seat in the House of Representatives (1801-4), followed by a term in the Senate (1804-9), and again in the House (1810-13). He became an advocate of quarantine laws and the exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, and a strong supporter of the Library of Congress. Proving that his back, and not just his brain, were useful to his country, Mitchill helped dig trenches for the defense of New York City during the War of 1812.

While in Congress, Mitchill continued to pursue his own scientific research. He received an appointment as Professor of Chemistry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, 1807, and from 1808 to 1820, held the chair of natural history, and afterwards that of botany. In 1826 he helped found Rutgers Medical College and served as Vice-President of that school during the four years of its existence. His furious rate of publication never abated.

On June 23, 1799, Mitchill married Catherine, the daughter of Samuel Akerly and widow of William Cock. They had no children. He died September 7, 1831.

From the guide to the Samuel Latham Mitchill papers, Mitchill, Samuel Latham, 1802-1815, (William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831. A complete copy of notes, on a course of natural history : delivered in the College of Physicians and Surgeons / by Samuel L. Mitchill ... ; taken by one of his auditors. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Samuel George Morton Papers, 1819-1850 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Priestley, Joseph, 1733-1804. Correspondence and memoirs, 1696-1803. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831. Letter, 1819. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Thomas Addis Emmet collection, 1483-1876, 1700-1800 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826. Thomas Jefferson papers, 1606-1943 (bulk 1775-1826). Library of Congress
referencedIn Robinson, Jeremy, 1787-1834. Jeremy Robinson papers, 1806-1832. Library of Congress
referencedIn Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York (New York, N.Y.). Records, 1816-1830. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831. Papers, 1792-1928. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, 1668-1983, Bulk, 1750-1850, 1668-1983 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, L-Q. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Samuel Latham Mitchill papers, Mitchill, Samuel Latham, 1802-1815 William L. Clements Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers Medical College (New York, N.Y.), 1792-1973 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Hewson family papers, 1767-1836, 1767-1836 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831. A complete copy of notes, on a course of natural history : delivered in the College of Physicians and Surgeons / by Samuel L. Mitchill MD. Profr. & c &c. ; taken by one of his auditors. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
referencedIn Zabrinskie, John B., 1805-1848. Notebooks, [ca.1827] Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831. Letters, 1794-1827. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Thomas Jefferson papers, 1775-1825, 1775-1825 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Vaughan, Benjamin, 1751-1835. Papers, 1746-1900. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives, 1743-1984 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Rusconi, Mauro, 1776-1849. Letter : Pavie [Pavia, Italy], [to S.L. Mitchill, New York, N.Y.], 1820 Nov. 4. American Museum of Natural History
referencedIn Caspar Wistar Papers, 1794-1817 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives. Record Group IIa, 1743-1806 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Burr family. Burr family papers, 1750-1890? (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Wynant Van Zandt, Jr. papers, 1784-1828, 1804-1807 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Anderson, Henry J. (Henry James), 1799-1875. Letters of recommendation for Timothy Clowes, [manuscript] 1827 Apr 24. May 11. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Benjamin Vaughan Papers, 1746-1900 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Medico-Chirurgical Society of the University of the State of New York. Minutes, 1807 Dec.-1813 Feb. Churchill County Museum
referencedIn Symmes, John Cleves, 1780-1829. Draper manuscripts: John Cleves Symmes papers, 1791-1846. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Thomas A. Brayton papers, 1820-1833 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives. Record Group IIb, 1807-1825 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Records of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1775-1800 (inclusive). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
referencedIn Francis, John W. (John Wakefield), 1789-1861. Reminiscences of Samuel Latham Mitchill : holograph, [1859]. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Briggs, Isaac, 1763-1825. Letters and essay, 1802, n.d. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Issachar Cozzens Portfolio Print Collection, 1800-[1865] @ 2011 New-York Historical Society
referencedIn Columbia University. University Archives. Columbiana Manuscripts, 1572-1986 [Bulk Dates: 1850-1920]. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Miller, Samuel, 1769-1850. Papers, 1790-1814. New-York Historical Society
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel Latham, 1764-1831. Autograph letters signed (2) : Washington, to Henry Wheaton, 1813 Feb. 1 and 25. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Van Zandt, Wynant, 1767-1831. Wynant Van Zandt, Jr. papers, 1784-1828, bulk (1804-1807). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Mease, James, 1771-1846. Letters, 1803-1846. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Stickney, Benjamin Franklin, 1775-1857. Papers, 1788-1830. Western Reserve Historical Society, Research Library
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831. [Lectures on natural history]. American Museum of Natural History
referencedIn Spalding, Lyman, 1775-1821. Papers, 1799-1820. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn Joel Abbot letters to Thomas U. P. Charlton and Samuel L. Mitchell, 1819-1820 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Burr family papers, 1750-1890 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Joseph Carson letters, 1789-1858, 1789-1858 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826. Letter to Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchill [manuscript] 1809 Feb. 27. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Scientists Collection, 1563-1973 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831. Papers of Samuel Latham Mitchill, 1809-1828 (inclusive). Harvard University, Medical School, Countway Library
creatorOf Abbot, Joel, 1776-1826. Joel Abbot letters to Thomas U. P. Charlton and Samuel L. Mitchell, 1819-1820. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Morton, Samuel George, 1799-1851. Papers, 1819-1850. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Eustis, William, 1753-1825. William Eustis papers, 1757-1908 (bulk 1801-1825). Library of Congress
creatorOf Madison, James, 1751-1836. Papers of James Madison [manuscript], 1765-1836, n.d. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Thomas Jefferson Papers, 1606-1943, (bulk 1775-1826) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn William Eustis Papers, 1757-1908, (bulk 1801-1825) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Columbiana Manuscripts, 1572-1986, [Bulk Dates: 1850-1920]. Columbia University. Columbia University Archives Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
referencedIn King, N. (Nicholas), 1771-1812. Journals of Nicholas King 1793, Oct. 12 -- 1805, May : typescript. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Carson, Joseph, 1808-1876,. Letters, 1789-1858. American Philosophical Society Library
creatorOf Mitchill, Samuel L. (Samuel Latham), 1764-1831,. Scale of levels between Lake Erie and Hudsons River. Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
referencedIn Brayton, Thomas A. Thomas A. Brayton papers, 1820-1833. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Meigs, Henry, 1782-1861. Correspondence, 1816-1822. Churchill County Museum
Role Title Holding Repository
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associatedWith White, George Willard, 1903-1985, person
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associatedWith Zabrinskie, John B., 1805-1848. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Washington (D.C.)--Social life and customs
Medicine
Mineralogy
Legislators--New York (State)
Botany
Archaeology--Study and teaching
Medical education--United States
Geology
Zoology
United States--Congress--Senate
Marriage
Physicians
United States--Politics and Government--1789-1815
Medicine--Practice
United States--Foreign relations--Great Britain
Geology--Study and teaching
Occupation
Scientists
Collector
Function

Person

Birth 1764-08-20

Death 1831-09-07

Americans

English

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