Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital; From its first Rise, to the Beginning of the Fifth Month, called May, 1754. [With related period letter]. Benjamin Franklin.
Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital; From its first Rise, to the Beginning of the Fifth Month, called May, 1754. [With related period letter].
Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital; From its first Rise, to the Beginning of the Fifth Month, called May, 1754. [With related period letter].
Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital; From its first Rise, to the Beginning of the Fifth Month, called May, 1754. [With related period letter].

Some Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital; From its first Rise, to the Beginning of the Fifth Month, called May, 1754. [With related period letter].

Philadelphia: B. Franklin and D. Hall, [1754]. Small 4to (245 x 181 mm), original stiff tan wrappers, stab-sewn, manuscript annotations on front and back wrappers reading “Hospital” and “Pennsylvania Hospital.” 40 pp. Collation: A-E4. [with] Laid-in autograph letter to Thomas Worth signed by John Smith and John Reynell, Philadelphia, 1 August 1754, 8vo bifolium, 1 p.

An account of the founding and initial operation of the first hospital established in the English colonies, with a revealing autograph letter of transmittal and solicitation to one Thomas Worth signed by Hospital managers John Smith and John Reynell.

Written by Franklin at the request of the Hospital trustees, the Account “describes the plan on which the hospital was founded, rules for admission, rules for the choice of staff, and an 'Abstract of Cases Admitted'” (Streeter). Franklin completed the manuscript on 28 May 1754. 1500 copies “were ordered off the press,” as noted by Miller, but the actual number printed is unknown. “Franklin was a prime force in founding the institution, its first secretary, and later chairman of its trustees; in his Autobiography…he wrote that he could remember no maneuver the success of which gave him at the time more pleasure than that of persuading the citizens and assembly to contribute matching funds to start the hospital initially.” (Miller)

The letter to Thomas Worth provides excellent evidence of the fundraising methods of those working on behalf of the hospital as well as the means by which at least some copies of the pamphlet were distributed. It reads as follows: “Phila. 8th month 1754. Loving Friend, At the desire of the managers of the Pennsilvania Hospital we now enclose thee one of the Books lately published giving an Accott of the rise and present state thereof, A Scheme designd for the relief of our miserable fellow Creatures, many of whom as thou will perceive by the Account have already received great relief by it, and if thro’ the blessing of God, the funds should encrease in such manner as may be reasonably expected, more will receive benefit by it. As we have been witness to the Cures and kindness which has been already done by this tru[ly] charitable Foundation, we cannot but earnestly recommend it to those who either by their situation or for other reasons have not yet attended to it, And as we believe kind providen[ce] hath bless’d many in thy Neighborhood with sufficien[t] means to contribute to this good design, and probably with Hearts delighting in such Acts of Goodness too, if any person wi[ll] call upon them for that purpose— we therefore begg thy interes[t] and Solicitation among them to that End. Any Sums wi[ll] be gladly received & faithfully applied and if thou will be so kind as to inform us by a line or two with thy success and wh[at] thou Art willing to give towards it, it will oblige Thy real Friends John Smith John Reyn[ell].” Smith and Reynell were two of the original twelve managers of the project, elected at a meeting of the contributors at the State-House in Philadelphia on 1 July 1751. Reynell, a Quaker merchant, served as Treasurer.

A second part, Continuation of the Account of the Pennsylvania Hospital covering the history of the hospital from 1754 to 1761, was published in 1761, and was also printed by Franklin.

An important colonial medical imprint, both written and printed by Benjamin Franklin, made especially appealing by the inclusion of a contemporary letter of solicitation.

REFERENCES: Evans 7197; Miller 587; Streeter Sale 956; Howes F-331; Austin 794; Hildeburn 1363; Campbell 519.

PROVENANCE: Thomas Worth.

CONDITION: Threads broken or wanting, spine perished, covers nearly detached, some minor chipping or chewing at spine, no loss to text. Letter with some loss to letters in words along lower right side, but no loss of sense.

Item #6759

Price: $27,500.00

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