American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

Surgical Set collection from 1860 to 1865 - Civilian and Military

Civil War:  Medicine, Surgeon Education & Medical Textbooks

 Dr. Michael Echols  &  Dr. Doug Arbittier


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 William Pepper, M.D.

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Name: William Pepper
Cause of death: angina pectoris
Death date: Jul 1898
Place of death: CA
Birth date: Aug 22, 1843
Place of birth: Philadelphia, PA
Type of practice: Allopath
States and years of licenses: PA, 1881
Medical school (s): University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, 1864, (G)
Other education: Univ. of PA, 1862
Professorship: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, pathology, theory & practice of medicine, clinical med
Journal of the American Medical Association Citation: 31:313


William Pepper (August 21, 1843 - July 28, 1898), American physician, was born in Philadelphia.  He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating from the academic department in 1862 and from the medical department in 1864. In 1868 he became lecturer on morbid anatomy in the same institution, and in 1870 lecturer on clinical medicine. From 1876 to 1887 he was professor of clinical medicine, and in 1887 succeeded Dr Alfred Still as professor of theory and practice of medicine.

He was elected provost of the university in 1881, resigning that position in 1894. For his services as medical director of the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 be was made knight commander of St Olaf by King Oscar II of Sweden. He founded the Philadelphia Medical Times, and was editor of that journal in 1870-1871. He was known particularly for his contributions on the subject of the theory and practice of medicine, and the System of Medicine which he edited in 1885-1886 became one of the standard textbooks in America. He died on the 28th of July 1898 at Pleasanton, California.

Among his contributions to the medical and scientific journals of the day, were:

Trephining in Cerebral Disease (1871)

Local Treatment in Pulmonary Cavities (1874)

Catarrhal Irrigation (1881)

Epilepsy (1883)

Higher Medical Education: the True Interest of the Public and the Profession.

Pepper was also the founder of Philadelphia's first public library, chartered in 1891 through funds provided by the estate of his late uncle, which became the Free Library of Philadelphia. Today, a commemorative statue of Pepper sits in the landing of the main staircase of the Central Library.

From Wikipedia

William Pepper, born in Philadelphia, January 21, 1810, received his Collegiate education at Princeton, New Jersey, and was graduated with the first honors, receiving the degree of A. B. in 1828. He studied medicine, under Dr. Thomas T. Hewson, and received the degree of M. D. in 1832, from the University of Pennsylvania. During this year the Asiatic Cholera made its appearance in Philadelphia, and Dr. Pepper volunteered his services and resided in the Cholera Hospital during the epidemic. He subsequently spent two years in Paris, devoting himself with remarkable industry and ability to the investigation of disease. The friendships then formed with some of the ablest men of the French School, and especially with the eminent Louis, were strong and lasting. On his return to Philadelphia, in the latter part of the year 1834, he immediately entered upon the practice of his profession and with such conspicuous success that he steadily and rapidly rose in the estimation of the profession and the public until, for a number of years before his death he was recognized as the leading consultant in the community.

He was Physician to the 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 a leading share in the clinical teaching for which that institution has so long been celebrated. In 1860, he was elected Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. He had delivered only four annual courses of lectures when he was forced by ill- health to resign this position in the spring of 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 the American Philosophical Society and of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians.

His familiarity with medical literature was extensive and accurate ; but although he had accumulated an enormous number of records of important cases, the constant claims of his engrossing practice prevented him from contributing very largely to medical literature.

He married Sarah, a daughter of William Platt, Esq. He was elected to the Medical Staff of the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1842; resigned, 1858.

Born in Phila , 1843. Son of Dr. W. Pepper. University of Peun., 1862. M. D., University of Penn., 1864. Visiting Phys. to Phila. Infirmary, 1864 to 1865. Curator and Pathologist of Penn. Hosp., 1867 to present time. Lecturer on Mor. Anatomy, 1870 to present time, Univ. of Penn.; also on Clinical Med. from 1876 to 1887. Now holds chair of Theory- end Practice of Med. and Clinical Med. there. 1881 was elected Provost of Univ. of Penn. Author of valuable articles and editor of " System of Medicine by American Authors." See Biography of Eminent Amer. Phys. and Surg.

(The personal edited research notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or may not be completely documented)

Medical Antiques Index

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques Index

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Civil War Medical Collections 


Direct links to all medical & Civil War collections on this site                         

American Surgical Sets:

Pre-Civil War:  1 | 2  -   Post-Civil War:  3  -  Civil War 1861-1865:  4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   INDEX

Medical Text-Books:

1 | 1a | 2 | 2a | 3 | 3a | 4 | 4a | 5 | 5a | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 9a | 10 | 11 | 12    INDEX

Surgeon General's Office Library printed catalogues: 1840 | 1864 | 1865
Medical Lecture Cards: 1 | 2 | 34 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21    INDEX

Medical Faculty and Authors:


Navy Surgeon Exams:

1863 Navy Surgeon Applicant Exams with Biographies   INDEX ONE | INDEX TWO

Surgeon CDVs, Images:

Army: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8    INDEX

Navy: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8   

Hosp Dep't Bottles, Tins, 

U.S. Army Pannier:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

American Civil War Medicine & Surgical Antiques

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Last update: Monday, December 12, 2016