VTU Review: Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences

“Let us, therefore, stimulate one another”: John Fothergill’s Letters and the Notion of Value and Professionalism

Marcel Hartwig Universität Siegen, Germany

Страници: 24-31


Around the middle of the eighteenth century, the London Quaker John Fothergill, M.D., established himself as an essential node in a transatlantic epistolary network. Via letter writing, Fothergill closed book deals, forwarded anatomical drawings, and exchanged botanical seeds and investment schemes that eventually culminated in the financial politics of the first North American hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. He also provided books for the Hospital’s first Medical Library and made suggestions for people to be employed and teaching tools to be used in the first anatomical lectures in Philadelphia. Fothergill’s network sheds much needed light on transatlantic trade and the circulation and commercialization of medical print media in North America’s first regulated medical institutions. The many letters that he wrote provide insights into practices of knowledge production in these institutions. In this article, Fothergill’s epistolary web is represented as a semi-institutionalized network showing colonial medical practice to have been linked to semi-institutionalized spaces that were themselves connected to custodians of knowledge but also functioned as social networks. I argue that such networks were user-based and community-driven, and that they relied on a semi-authoritarian dispersion of knowledge.

Ключови думи:

eighteenth-century America, letters, networks, history of medicine, history of science, the Pennsylvania Hospital, the Enlightenment.


58 изтегляния от 28.12.2020 г.