October 1970

The Jefferson-Dunglison Letters.

Author Affiliations



Edited by John M. Dorsey MD. Price, $5. Pp 120. University Press of Virginia. The Rotunda, Charlottesville, Va, 1970.

Arch Intern Med. 1970;126(4):700-701. doi:10.1001/archinte.1970.00310100146023

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This exchange of letters between two fine minds concerns in the main early 19th-century medicine in America. Jefferson's letters herein are among the last that he wrote to anyone. No more absorbing documents have appeared in American medical history. Here, in summary, is the establishment of the system of full-time, academic medicine as well as the events surrounding Jefferson's final illness as he guided the University of Virginia into being.

The correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Robley Dunglison (May 27, 1825 to April 7, 1826) is fragmentary and has been bridged with notes and ancillary documents by the editor. Dunglison was the first full-time professor of clinical medicine in America. Jefferson as rector of the University of Virginia had been instrumental in bringing him from London to the new university, founded in 1819 and opened on March 7, 1825. There was the usual hue and cry about importing foreigners to

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