Pettigrew, Thomas Joseph, 1791-1865Variant names
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)
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|Learning and scholarship