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Catalog Number 2015.02.0039
Object Name Letter
Date 1819
Title 1819 March 7 Mason Brown to Samuel Brown
Scope & Content Letter from Mason Brown (New Haven, CT) to Samuel Brown (Philadelphia, PA). Mason writes of Samuel's professorship of anatomy at Transylvania University. He also notes with frustation that the Kentucky Legislature will not fund Transylvania but wishes to create four new colleges.

He also writes about Yale medical students exhuming a body (without premission) in order to dissect it.


Dear Uncle,

I congratulate you upon Cousin James' recovery from his late indisposition and I sincerely hope he may continue to enjoy that share of health to which his amiable disposition and manners entitle him. Indeed the little fellow made friends of all the students who saw him and I am repeatedly asked what has become of my cousin.

I am glad to find that you have had the honor of Professor of Anatomy conferred on you, for the honor is the same whether you accept or refuse the appointment. Will you accept it Uncle? I took a copy of the notice you sent me and handed it to Mr. Silliman; he said that the present number of his Journal was so far advanced that he was not certain whether it could be included, but that if it did not appear in the present it should in the ensuing number.

I suppose you have seen by the papers that the Legislature of Kentucky not being able to grant any funds to the Transylvania University have in the plenitude of their wisdom chartered four new colleges, viz. in the Middle, the Southern and the Western Colleges of Kentucky and the college of [illegible]! O Novelty what a charm dost thou posess! I shrewdly suspect Uncle, that your prophecy relative to Dr. Holly will be fulfilled, for if he possesses any sensibility it must have been severely wounded by this conduct of the Legislature.

You may tell Cousin James that a short time since the students of the medical college of this place removed a body from a neighborhood graveyard. It was discovered that the body had been removed and a search warrant was procured for the College. After a dilligent search no body could be found and the persons who examined the college retired. A few days after the Doctors through compassion for the family of the deceased, who were very much afflicted at his removal, returned the body. But lo! When the friends examined the pieces (for it had been dissected) they found that the doctors had returned a wrong arm and leg, as the arms and the legs they returned were not fellows! I shall probably visit Philadelphia during the ensuing vacation, if you do not depart from it before that period; if you do depart I hope you will visit this place.

I have written in great haste, you will therefore excuse the many imperfections of this scrawl, and believe me to remain your
Affectionate Nephew,
Mason Brown
Dr. Saml Brown
My best love to cousins.

[Address Block]
Doctor Saml Brown,
Philadelphia, Pen


New Haven
Mar 9
People Mason Brown
Samuel Brown
James Percy Brown
Horace Holley
Benjamin Silliman
Search Terms Transylvania Medical School
Transylvania University
Kentucky State Legislature
Yale University