Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/417

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SHIPPEN


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SHIPPEN


the introductory lecture to his course of anatomy lectures in 1762 the latter had referred to the importance of estabhshing a medical college in the colonies and this statement of Shippen's is sometimes quoted to show that the credit of being the founder of the department of medi- cine of the College of Philadelphia should belong to him rather than to Morgan. There is no doubt, however, that this was merely an expression of opinion and should not be taken as proving the exist- ence of any definite plan for such an institution in Shippen's mind. To John Morgan belongs the sole credit of drawing up the scheme of the first organized medical school in this country.

When in 1779 the Legislature repealed the charter of the College of Philadelphia and recreated them in the newly-created University of Pennsylvania, Shippen was the only member of the faculty who at once accepted a professorship in the new school. In 178.3 the friends of the college succeeded in having its charter restored, whereupon the trustees re- elected the professors in the medical school to the chairs they had previously occu- pied. It is curious to note that Shippen was a professor in both the college and the university, despite the rivalry between them, but in 1791 the College of Phila- delphia and the University of the State of Pennsylvania agreed to combine and form one body under the title of the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Shippen held the chair of anatomy, surgery, and midwifery, with Dr. Caspar Wistar as adjunct professor in the same branches.

Shippen served as physician to the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1778 and 1779. He seems to have resigned because of his necessary absence on military affairs. In 1791 he was re-elected to the staff of the hospital and served until 1802, when he resigned.

He was a member of the American Philosophical Society and one of the founders of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, being president of the latter from 1805 to 1808. Vol. 11-24


Dr. Shippen's first military position during the Revolution was that of med- ical director of the Flying Camp in the Jerseys, and as such he was directly subject to the authority of Dr. John Morgan. When Morgan was dismissed from the position of director-general of the military hospitals and physician-in- chief of the American Army, Shippen was appointed by order of Congress, October 9, 1776, director of the hospitals on the west side of the Hudson River. He was by this order placed on an equal footing with Morgan, whose authority was henceforth to be limited to the hos- pitals on the east side of the Hudson. Shippen was ordered to report directly to Congress, thus ignoring Morgan, through whom such reports had hitherto been made. Morgan, in his " Vindica- tion" directlj' accuses Shippen of being the cause of his overthrow, and of aiming at securing the position of head of the department for himself. If this were so Shippen's efforts were crowned with success, for, on April 11, 1777, he was appointed to succeed Morgan as director- general of the Military Hospital and physician-in-chief of the American Army. This position he held until his resigna- tion in January, 1781. In August, 1780, he was courtmarslialled on charges af- fecting his financial integrit}^ He was acquitted and, as stated above, continued in his position.

In 1798 Shippen suffered a terrible blow in the death of his son, a young man of great promise. Dr. Caspar Wistar, in hisEulogium of Shippen delivered before the College of Physicians shortly after his death, says that this loss seemed to destroy his interest in every remaining object. He seldom lectured and his practice decUned. He died in German- town, a suburb of Philadelphia, on July 11, 1808.

Wistar gives a delightful pen picture of Shippen : " His person was graceful, his manners polished, his conversation various, and the tones of his voice singu- larly sweet and conciHatory. In his intercourse with society be was gay