Finding Aid for the James Mease Papers 1794-1848

Processed by Pat L. Walter.
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
History and Special Collections Division
UCLA
12-077 Center for Health Sciences
Box 951798
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1798
Phone: 310/825-6940
Fax: 310/825-0465
Email: biomed-ref@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/biomed/his/hisdiv.htm
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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: James Mease Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1794-1848
Collection number: 185
Creator: Mease, James 1771-1846
Extent: 0.8 linear feet ( 2 document boxes)
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: James Mease (1771-1846), physician, scientific thinker and author, was one of Philadelphia's most prominent citizens and an ardent booster of both the United States and Pennsylvania. His interests were wide-ranging, as were his contacts with notable figures in science, agriculture and natural history in the United States and abroad. The papers consist of two folio volumes, over fifty letters mostly addressed to Dr. Mease, and some newspapers and other miscellaneous materials. One of the folios volumes is a letterbook, containing mostly précis, but sometimes entire copies, of outgoing correspondence over the years 1802-1836. The other volume is a register of Mease's agricultural notes, experiments, theories, plus notes on conversations and correspondence.
Physical location: History and Special Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles
Language of Material: Collection materials in English

Access

The collection is open for research. Contact the History and Special Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA, for information.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], James Mease Papers, 185, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, University of California, Los Angeles.

Acquisition Information

Purchased by the UCLA Biomedical Library from William Reese Company, New Haven, CT in Oct. 2000.

Biography

James Mease (Aug. 11, 1771-May 14, 1846), physician, scientific thinker and author, was one of Philadelphia's most prominent citizens and an ardent booster of both the United States and Pennsylvania. His interests were wide-ranging, as were his contacts with notable figures in science, agriculture and natural history in the United States and abroad.
Mease was born in Philadelphia into a wealthy and patriotic shipping merchant family; during the Revolutionary War his father, John Mease, served in the Philadelphia Troop of Light Horse. James graduated from the College of the University of Pennsylvania, and received an M.D. degree in 1792 from the same institution. He married Sarah Butler, the daughter of a South Carolina senator, in 1800. During part of the War of 1812 the younger Mease served as a hospital surgeon. Mease was one of the managers of the "Company for the Improvement of the Vine," in connection with which he developed a vineyard; he was a prominent member of The Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, a member, curator, and councilor of the American Philosophical Society, and one of the founders and first vice-president of the Philadelphia Athenaeum
Mease belonged to an informal international network of scientifically-inclined thinkers who shared information, books, pamphlets, geological samples, seeds, etc. in an ongoing exchange. He wrote to Count Rumford, to Sir Joseph Banks, sent a pamphlet to Cuvier, had a lively correspondence with the Scottish horticultural writer, John C. Loudon, and sent rocks to Donald Stewart, mineralogist of the Dublin Society. On the subject of the Pennsylvania penal system and general criminal reform he wrote to the President of the United States, cabinet department heads, state governors, and numerous federal and state legislators. He was interested in a wide range of agricultural and horticultural topics, in various technologies, in geology, in the medicinal properties of plants. All together these papers render a portrait of a remarkably intelligent, dedicated and thoughtful individual.

Scope and Content

The papers consist of two folio volumes, over fifty letters mostly addressed to Dr. Mease, and some newspapers and other miscellaneous materials.
One of the folios volumes is a letterbook containing mostly précis, but sometimes entire copies, of outgoing correspondence over the years 1802-1836. The timing of entries is quite uneven, sometimes recording several letters a day, at other times indicating intervals of three or four months or even a year between entries. Dr. Mease noted the name of the recipient, the date, and occasionally a marginal note indicated how the letter was to be conveyed: the name of a ship, perhaps the captain's or the courier's name.
The other volume is a register of Mease's agricultural notes, experiments, theories, plus notes on conversations and correspondence. The topics cover a wide range of agricultural and horticultural subjects, methods and theories. There is a fairly complete index to topics included.
Aside from a few autobiographical pages, there is little trace of Dr. Mease's personal life in this collection. The correspondence contains only an occasional greeting to his wife; his letters rarely mention his own state of health or being, and almost never mention the family. There is also very little information on his activities as a clinical physician.
The collection is organized into the following series:
  • Series 1. Biographical materials.. 2 folders
  • Series 2. Writings and Speeches, 1799-1836. 1 document box plus 7 folders
  • Series 3. Correspondence, 1794-1842. 5 folders
  • Series 4. Miscellaneous Papers, 1787-1847. 2 folders

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

Subjects

Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture
Agriculture--United States--History--19th century.
Physicians--United States--Archival resources.
Physicians--United States--History--19th century.
Prisons--Pennsylvania--History--19th century.


Container List

 

Series 1. Biographical materials.

Physical Description: 2 folders
Box 1, Folder 1

Biographical sketches.

Scope and Content Note

typed transcripts of personal accounts by JM, original manuscript and transcriber unknown; tells of JM's early medical training, for a short time under Dr. Romeyn in New York, then under Dr. Rush in Philadelphia (4 p.); also, personality and character of JM's mother (1 p.)
Box 1, Folder 2

John Mease's (father) Revolutionary War service. 1823

Scope and Content Note

facsimile of a letter of discharge from The Philadelphia Troop of Light Horse signed by George Washington, dated Morris Town, 23 Jan. 1777; cover letter from Captain J. R. D. Smith to John Mease, dated 8 May 1823, stating that Mr. Mease was an active member of the Troop at the time of discharge
 

Series 2. Writings and Speeches 1799-1836

Physical Description: 1 document box plus 7 folders
Box 2, Folder 1

Letterbook. 1802-1836

Physical Description: folio volume, 21 x 33 cm., 272 pp. ; bound in contemporary reversed sheepskin; spine title: "Letter Book No. 2"; signature inside front cover

Scope and Content Note

records and summaries, sometimes complete copies, of outgoing letters
Box 2, Folder 2

Agricultural Register.

Physical Description: folio volume, 21 x 33 cm., 184 pp.; alphabetical tabs in front of the volume for index

Scope and Content Note

records of JM's horticultural and agricultural interest, thoughts, experiments
Box 1, Folder 3

Agricultural Register.

Scope and Content Note

photocopies of outside and inside covers of folio volume, showing jottings and list of books
Box 1, Folder 4

Eulogium on Dr. Cooper. 1799

Scope and Content Note

text of address delivered to the Medical Academy of Philadelphia, Jan. 10, 1799 on the death from yellow fever of Dr. Samuel Cooper, 1772-1798
Box 1, Folder 5

Plan of a Corporation Bank to enable the Council always to anticipate the City funds, respectfully submitted by James Mease, Philadelphia, June 30, 1801. 1801

Scope and Content Note

three pages
Box 1, Folder 6

Biography of General Thomas Mifflin.

Scope and Content Note

partial draft and scattered notes on Mifflin's military career during the Revolutionary War, plus some additional information on his earlier and later life
Box 1, Folder 7

Natural history of the alligator.

Scope and Content Note

manuscript notes, including a sixteen-page collection, on the alligator, caiman and crocodile; also, a few printed pages (page proofs?) from "The English Reader," part I, chapter IX: "Promiscuous Pieces," with the word "Alligator" written across
Box 1, Folder 8

A speech to young people.

Scope and Content Note

partial draft of 3+ pages concerning the duty of performing one's assigned tasks to the best of one's abilities
Box 1, Folder 9

Fragments and notes.

Scope and Content Note

seven scraps of paper with writing usually on both sides, found between the pages of the "Letterbook"
 

Series 3. Correspondence 1794-1842

Physical Description: 5 folders
Box 1, Folder 10

Letters from JM to: 1814-1815

Scope and Content Note

TILTON, James, M.D. (pysician and Surgeon General), 10/7/1814 and 4/13/1815; WATTS, David (not in letter format, but folded to letter size and addressed to Watts), undated
Box 1, Folder 11

Letters to JM from U.S. correspondents: 1803-1842

Scope and Content Note

BAYLIES, Francis, Taunton, Mass., 12/11/1831; BEGGS, Andrew, Kiskiminetas, 3/5/1832; CHAMBERS, George, Cham...(?), 12/1/1832; CLINTON, Dewitt (governor of N.Y.), Albany, 12/4/1821; COCHRAN, Richard E., M.D., Columbia, Lancaster Co., Penn., 1/20/1832; COXE, William, Sunbury, 6/9/1823; EVERETT, Edward, Cambridge, 7/20/1822; FIELD, Martin, Fayetteville, 4/22/1833; FRAZER, Rev. Thomas, Inverness, 8/25/1830; GOODACRE, William, New York, 4/20/1833; GRIFFITH, M., Charlieshope (?), 8/16/1830; LOCKWOOD, Ralph, Milan, Huron Co., Ohio, 6/20/1821; MIFFLIN, James E., Wrightsville, York Co., 2/23/1830; MILLER, Edward (Principal Asst. Engineer, Allegheny Portage Railroad), Ebensburg, Cambria Co., Penn., 7/9/1832; MORRIS, Ann C., Morrisania, 3/25/1826; PLYMPTON, Henry, Boston, 11/27/1841 and 12/27/1841; PRINCE, William, (horticulturist), Flushing, 1/21/1803; STREATER, Charles, Wilkeshame, undated (first pages missing); TAYLOR, John, (U.S. Senator), Port Royal, Virginia, 8/1/1807; WHITNEY, Henrietta F., (wife of Eli Whitney), New Haven, 11/22/1826; * Williamson, William, West Chester, 2/21/1842

Note

on verso of Miller letter, shows profile of crest line of 15 miles of the summit of the Allegheny Mountains, based on a 1830 survey
Box 1, Folder 12

Letters to JM from abroad: 1794-1841

Scope and Content Note

ANDERSON, James, M.D., London, 4/16/1799 and 9/7/1801 (the later letter is somewhat fragmentary); COWPER, John, St. Simons, 6/12/1841; DASCHKOF, A., St. Petersburgh, 7/8/1826; De la BECHE, Henry T., (geologist), Falmouth, 6/10/1837; EBELING, C. D., Hamburg, 7/30/1815; FABBRONI, Jean, Florence, 5/12/1805; FLINT, James, Edinburgh, 12/6/1830; GARDINER, Henry, Liverpool, 4/24/1825; GUILLEMARD, J., Woodford in Essen, 4/20/1833; HATZFIELD, Adolph, Hamburg, 2/10/1836; HORNE, Thomas Hartwell, London, 6/30/1831, 7/31/1834 and 3/9/1841; HUNTER, William, M.D., Calcutta, 11/1/1810; LETTSOM, J.D., M.D., London, 9/22/1802, 6/21/1803 and 5/25/1812; MACLAREN, Charles, (journalist), Edinburgh, 9/16/1830; MAFIZ(?), Charles C., Copenhagen, 10/28/1841; MOSELEY, Benjamin, M.D., London, 4/29/1793 and 7/26/1817; OBERS, Albert, M.D., Bremen, 1802 (?); PEARSON, G., M.D., London, 9/12/1802; PRICHARD, J.C., Bristol, 9/6/1838 and 10/25/1838; P_TRY, R. Wm. (?), Esher Surry (?), England, 7/31/1829; RENOUARD, George Cecil, Swanscombe, Dartford, 6/19/1841; ROSCOE, William, (historian) Liverpool, 4/21 and 5/1/1821, 7/17/1822; THEMMEN, Phoebus Hiberus, M.D., Amsterdam, 4/2/1794; VOGHT, Caspar, Hamburg, 9/20/1803; WILLICH, A. F. M., London, 8/1/1801; WILLICH, Charles M., London, 1/19/1833; YOUNG, Arthur, Bradfield Hall, England, 11/19/1802; [UNIDENTIFIED], Philipsburg Centre County, 4/14/1818; NOTES headed "cashmere goat," addressed on verso to Dr. James Mease, unsigned, undated
Box 1, Folder 13

Letters to JM from John C. Loudon, Bayswater. 1827-1837

Scope and Content Note

five letters from the Scottish horticultural writer and editor of "Gardener's Magazine"
Box 1, Folder 14

Other letters.

Scope and Content Note

* from Dr. Akinside to M. Wilkes in St. John's St., London, 5/21/1745; at head of sheet "Fac simile of Dr. Atkinside's hand-writing"; * from Gouvernor Morris, Morrisania, to David C. B. Ogden, 10/2/1816
 

Series 4. Miscellaneous Papers 1787-1847

Physical Description: 2 folders
Box 1, Folder 15

Map, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Physical Description: 7 x 8"
Box 1, Folder 16

Newspaper clippings. 1826-1848

Scope and Content Note

* "The Daily Union," City of Washington, Saturday Night, October 23, 1847; * "Public Ledger," Philadelphia, Saturday, November 11, 1848; * clippings of newspaper stories and poems, pasted into the front cover and on six leaves of a ledger, with some partial manuscript entries visible, dated newspaper items range from 1826 to 1838; * "Consolidation. An account of parties in the United States, from the Convention of 1787, to the present period", print columns pasted unto blank leaves, no date or source; * "Justice to the memory of John Fitch, who in 1785 invented a steam engine and steamboat, planned, constructed and put in operation the steamboat 'Perseverance,' of sixty tons, moving at the rate of eight miles an hour in 1788, by C. Whittlesey; from The February 1845 number of The Western Literary Journal and Monthly Review", print columns pasted unto blank leaves; bears a partially legible handwritten note: "from Hesperian vol. 2, p. 106 and Amer. Review...p. 22"; * miscellaneous newspaper columns, pasted unto blank leaves, no date or source