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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 biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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William Pepper

PEPPER, William, physician, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 21 January, 1810; died there, 15 October, 1864. He was graduated with first honors at Princeton in 1829, began the study of medicine under Dr. Thomas T. Hewson, and received his degree in 1832 at the University of Pennsylvania. He subsequently spent two years in study in Paris, and the friendships that he formed with some of the ablest men of the French school were strong and lasting. On his return to Philadelphia in the latter part of 1834 he entered upon the practice of his profession and rose rapidly in reputation until for several years before his death he was recognized as the chief consultant in the community. He was physician to Wills hospital and to the Pennsylvania hospital. With the latter he was connected for twenty-six years, until the close of 1858, and during this long term of service took an active share in clinical teaching. In 1860 he was elected professor of the theory and practice of medicine in the University of Pennsylvania, but he was forced by ill-health to resign in 1864. His clinical and didactic lectures were models of clear, forcible, and practical teaching, and he was especially renowned for his diagnostic skill and for his judicious and successful treatment of disease. He was a member of various learned societies and a fellow of the College of physicians. His engrossing practice prevented him from contributing largely to medical literature. His most important memoirs in journals are on " Chronic Hydrocephalus " (1850); "Scrofulous Inflammation of the Lungs and Pulmonary Condensation" (1852); " Treatment of Intermittent Fever by Quiniodine" ; and "The Use of the Spirometer in Diseases of the Lungs" (1862).--His eldest son, George, physician, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1 April, 1841; died there, 14 September, 1872, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1862, and in medicine in 1865. He enlisted on 15 September, 1862, as a private in the 6th Pennsylvania cavalry, was promoted to a lieutenancy, and saw much active service, but was disabled in 1863, and on 22 May received an honorable discharge. He was chiefly instrumental in founding the Philadelphia obstetrical society, and served as its secretary until illness compelled him to resign. He was a member of many professional bodies, and rapidly acquired practice in the branches to which he devoted himself. His artistic talent, his mechanical ingenuity, his retentive memory, his industry and devotion to his profession, gave assurance of a career of unusual brilliancy. His contributions to the proceedings of the societies of which he was a member were numerous. Among the more important are that on "Adipose Deposits in the Omentum and Abdominal Walls as a Source of Error in Diagnosis" and that on "The Mechanical Treatment of Uterine Displacements."--Another son, William, physician, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 21 August, 1843, was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1862, and in medicine in 1864. He has been connected with various hospitals, and was chiefly instrumental in the establishment of the University hospital, securing the gift for a site from the city of Philadelphia, and serving as chairman of the finance and building committees. In the University of Pennsylvania he was lecturer on morbid anatomy in 1868-'70, and on clinical medicine in 1870-'6, and professor of the latter branch from 1876 till 1887. when he was elected to the chair of the theory and practice of medicine to succeed Dr. Alfred Still& In January, 1881, he was unanimously elected provost of the University, and at the same time the dignity and powers of the office were materially increased. During no equal period of this institution's history have its interests been more rapidly advanced than since his assumption of this office. He founded the "Philadelphia Medical Times," and was its editor in 1870-'1, and was medical director of the Centennial international exposition, and for his services in connection therewith he received from the king of Sweden the decoration of knight commander of the order of St. Olaf. He was largely instrumental in founding the Pennsylvania museum and school of industrial art, and was for several years a mere-bet of its board of managers. He is a fellow of the College of physicians, a member of the American philosophical society, of the Pathological society of Philadelphia, of which he was president in 1873-'6, of the Academy of natural sciences, in which he has been director of the biological section, of the American climatological association, of which he was president in 1886, and of many other learned bodies. In 1882 he was a member of the assay commission of the United States mint. In 1881 he received the degree of LL.D. from Lafayette college. Dr. Pepper has also been president of the first sanitary convention of Pennsylvania and of the Foulke and Long institute for orphan girls. His most important literary work has been the editing of the " System of Medicine by American Authors" (5 vols., Philadelphia, 1885-'6). This secured an immediate success, and is recognized as the chief American authority on medical questions. He published, in conjunction with Dr. John F. Meigs, successive editions of their work on " Diseases of Children" (1870). Among his contributions to journals or the transactions of societies are "Trephining in Cerebral Disease" (1871) ; "Local Treatment of Pulmonary Cavities" (1874) ; .... Catarrhal Irritation" (1881) : "Report on Mineral ;Springs of America" (1880); "Epilepsy" (1883); and " Phthisis in Pennsylvania" (1886). Other publications of less technical character have been "Sanitary Relations of Hospitals" (1875); " Higher Medical Education: the True Interest of the Public and the Profession" (1877); "Report of the Medical Department of the Centennial Exposition" (1877); his inaugural address and annual reports as provost; and public addresses on " Force vs. Work" (Baltimore, 1884) and "Benjamin Franklin" (Lancaster, 1887).

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