Pettigrew, Thomas Joseph, 1791-1865

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Thomas Pettigrew, antiquarian and Librarian to the Duke of Sussex, was active in a number of British learned societies, including the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquarians. He was the author of History of Egyptian Mummies (1834) and Chronicles of the Tombs (1857), as well as of a memoir of the life of Lord Nelson.

From the description of Pettigrew papers, 1815-1863. (Yale University). WorldCat record id: 70064103

From the description of Pettigrew papers, 1797-1865. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702147864

English surgeon and antiquarian.

From the description of Note, 1820, Dec. 9 : to the Countess of Blessington. (Duke University). WorldCat record id: 31756951

Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, second son of the surgeon-apothecary William Pettigrew, was born in London on October 28th, 1791. After serving his apprenticeship under the surgeon John Taunton, he was elected secretary of the Medical Society of London in 1812, became secretary to the Royal Humane Society in the following year, and was subsequently appointed surgeon to the Duke of Kent

Pettigrew was appointed surgeon and librarian to the Duke of Sussex in 1819, and in the following two decades successfully pursued a dual career as surgeon and as antiquary. He became surgeon to the Asylum for Female Orphans and to the Charing Cross Hospital, and he was elected fellow of the Royal Society. In his role as librarian, Pettigrew planned an ambitious catalogue of the Duke of Sussex's collection, the first volume of which was published in 1827 as Bibliotheca Sussexiana .

During the 1830s, however, Pettigrew faced difficulties in both of his chosen fields. The Duke of Sussex, embarrassed by Pettigrew's tendencies to gossip and by his mismanagement of the Duke's 1830 election as President of the Royal Society, dismissed him from his posts. In 1835, Pettigrew resigned from Charing Cross Hospital in the wake of accusations that he had accepted fees from candidates for assistant surgeons' appointments.

Although he published a spirited defense of his conduct, Pettigrew withdrew to private medical practice and devoted increasing time to his antiquarian interests. He published A History of Egyptian Mummies in 1834 and the first part of his planned Encyclopaedia Aegyptiana (never completed) in 1842. While Sussex refused to reinstate him as his librarian, he did allow Pettigrew to complete and publish the second volume of of his planned Bibliotheca Sussexiana in 1834. Pettigrew's four volume Medical Portrait Gallery, which included his own biographical sketch, appeared in 1839.

In 1843 Pettgrew was elected as fellow to the Royal College of Surgeons, and in the same year became one of the founding members of the British Archaeological Association, serving as its treasurer for the rest of his life. He was also active in the Percy Society, the Historical Society of Science, and the Society of Antiquaries, and authored many antiquarian articles for the Journal of the British Archaeological Association and Archaeologica .

During the early 1850s Pettigrew again engaged in controversies, publishing an attack on the management of the Society of Antiquaries in 1852 ( Letter to the Lord Viscount Mahon ) and defending his own management of the British Archaelogical Association from an attack by Richard Hugo in 1854. In that year his wife died, and Pettigrew retired from medical practice entirely. He published Chronicles of the Tombs in 1857. Thomas Pettigrew died at home in Brompton on November 23, 1865. His library was sold at Sotheby's seven months later.

From the guide to the Pettigrew papers, 1797-1865, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Pettigrew, Thomas Joseph, 1791-1865. Pettigrew papers, 1815-1863. Yale University Library
referencedIn Autograph File, C Houghton Library
creatorOf Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. (James Orchard), 1820-1889,. Autograph letters signed from James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, London and Oxfordshire, to Thomas J[oseph] Pettigrew [manuscript], 1840-1859. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Autograph File, B, ca.1500-1982 Houghton Library
referencedIn Augustus Frederick, Prince, Duke of Sussex, 1773-1843. Sussex correspondence, 1812-1841. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Simpson, Thomas, fl. 1848,. Autograph letter signed from Thomas Simpson, Bramley, near Guildford, to T.J. Pettigrew, Esq. [manuscript], 1848 March 4. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Dryden, John, 1631-1700. The state of innocence [manuscript], ca. 1677. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn John Edward Gray papers, 1783-1884, 1783-1884 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Harness, William, 1790-1869,. Autograph letters signed from William Harness, London, to various people [manuscript], 1838 (?)-1849. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Harry Elkins Widener manuscript file, 1861-1908. Houghton Library
referencedIn Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878,. Autograph letters signed from George Cruikshank to various recipients [manuscript], 1847-1867. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878. Autograph letter signed : Pentonville, to T.J. Pettigrew, 1824 July 5. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Pettigrew, Thomas Joseph, 1791-1865. Note, 1820, Dec. 9 : to the Countess of Blessington. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
creatorOf Pettigrew, Thomas Joseph, 1791-1865. [Scrapbook from the library of Lepsius] Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Sussex correspondence, 1812-1841 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Collier, John Payne, 1789-1883,. Autograph letters signed and initialled from John Payne Collier to various people [manuscript], 1818-1882. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Lettsom, John Coakley, 1744-1815. Papers, 1788, 1789, 1794, [1801], 1813. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
creatorOf Pettigrew papers, 1797-1865 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn John Bruce collection, 1835-1845 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Johnsoniana; or, Supplement to Boswell: being anecdotes and sayings of Dr. Johnson, extra-illustrated, 1738-1840 (inclusive), 1784-1837 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 1772-1834. Autograph letter signed S. T. Coleridge to: T. Pettigrew, Esq. Wellesley College
referencedIn Autograph File, A, 1518-2002. Houghton Library
referencedIn Bruce, John, 1802-1869. John Bruce collection, 1835-1845. Yale University Library
creatorOf Horne, Thomas Hartwell, 1780-1862. Autograph letter signed Tho: H: Horne to: T.J. Pettigrew, Esq. February 6, 1826. Wellesley College
referencedIn Autograph File, P, 1554-2005. Houghton Library
referencedIn Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878. History of Egyptian mummies : drawings, 1834. Princeton University Library
referencedIn Jane Porter collection, 1805-1848 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Burney, Charles Parr, 1785-1864. Letters to Thomas Joseph Pettigrew (1791-1865), 1825-1844. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Hodgkin, Thomas, 1798-1866. Letter. 20-11-1843, [London, Eng.] to Tho[ma]s J. Pettigrew. Haverford College Library
creatorOf Pettigrew, Thomas Joseph. Papers, 1815. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Donald Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles Autograph Collection, 1505-1957 (inclusive), 1702-1854 (bulk). Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Augustus Frederick, Prince, Duke of Sussex, 1773-1843. person
associatedWith Beattie, William, 1793-1875. person
associatedWith Betham, William, Sir, 1779-1853. person
associatedWith Blessington, Marguerite, Countess of, 1789-1849. person
associatedWith British Archaeological Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Brodie, Benjamin, Sir, 1783-1862. person
associatedWith Bruce, John, 1802-1869. person
associatedWith Burney, Charles Parr, 1785-1864. person
associatedWith Carlisle, Nicholas, 1771-1847. person
associatedWith Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 1772-1834. person
correspondedWith Collier, John Payne, 1789-1883, person
associatedWith Cooper, Astley, Sir, 1768-1841. person
correspondedWith Croker, John Wilson, 1780-1857 person
associatedWith Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878. person
associatedWith Dryden, John, 1631-1700. person
associatedWith Ellis, Henry, 1777-1869. person
associatedWith Gray, John Edward person
correspondedWith Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O. (James Orchard), 1820-1889, person
correspondedWith Harness, William, 1790-1869, person
associatedWith Hodgkin, Thomas, 1798-1866. person
associatedWith Horne, Thomas Hartwell, 1780-1862. person
associatedWith Lee, John, 1783-1866. person
associatedWith Lettsom, John Coakley, 1744-1815. person
associatedWith Londesborough, Albert Denison, Baron, 1805-1860. person
associatedWith Medical Society of London. corporateBody
associatedWith Meyrick, Samuel Rush, Sir, 1783-1848. person
associatedWith Planché, J. R. (James Robinson), 1796-1880. person
associatedWith Porter, Jane, 1776-1850. person
associatedWith Royal Society (Great Britain) corporateBody
correspondedWith Simpson, Thomas, fl. 1848, person
associatedWith Smyth, W. H. (William Henry), 1788-1865. person
associatedWith Society of Antiquaries of London. corporateBody
associatedWith Westmacott, Richard, Sir. person
associatedWith Wilkinson, John Gardner, 1797-1875. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Great Britain
Learning and scholarship
Learning and scholarship


Birth 1791

Death 1865



Ark ID: w62r3qrq

SNAC ID: 38115040