Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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DORSEY, John Syng, physician, born in Philadelphia, 23 December 1783; died there, 12 November 1818. He received his early education at the Friends' academy in Philadelphia, studied medicine, and was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1802. The yellow fever broke out in Philadelphia a few weeks later, and committed such ravages that a hospital was opened, and the young graduate received the appointment of resident physician. He combated the idea of contagion, and strengthened his theory regarding the disease by courting infection in the most reckless manner. The next year, 1803, he visited France and England, attended the lectures of Humphrey Davy, the distinguished chemist, and afterward visited the medical schools of Paris, returning to Philadelphia after an absence of about a year. He was elected adjunct professor of surgery in the school where he had been graduated but five years previously, was transferred to the chair of materia medica in 1816, and. having given two courses of lectures on that subject, was chosen to the professorship of anatomy made vacant by the death of Dr. Wistar. On the evening after delivering his introductory lecture he was attacked by a fever, and died at the end of a week. He had the reputation of being one of the first surgeons of America. He contributed papers to the "Portfolio" and other medical journals, and published an edition of "Cooper's Surgery" in the notes, and "Elements of Surgery" (Philadelphia, 1813). The last was adopted as a Textbook in the University of Edinburgh, and was long a favorite in this country.
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