C. W. (Caspar Wistar) Pennock papers, 1829-1891


Date: 1829-1891 | Size: 0.25 Linear feet, 56 items


These are primarily letters, with some receipts for medical services rendered included. They relate to the general social and intellectural life of Philadelphia and to publications on medical topics. Many of the letters are introductions to Europeans when Pennock first visited there. Letters dated post-1867 are to relatives and colleagues (?).

Background note

Caspar Wistar Pennock, MD was born July 2, 1799 and died April 16,1867. He was born in Philadelphia and received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1828. He studied and received clinical experience at the AlmsHouse and Hospital for poor, insane, destitute and orphans of Philadelphia. To further his education, he moved to Paris, France between 1831-1833 to study with Pierre C.P. Louis. At this time, Paris was considered the medical center of the world where there was unrivaled access to practical experience and clinical studies. Under the influence of the French scientists, he and fellow American graduate students William W. Gerhard and James Jackson, Jr. learned to use autopsy as a means to verify diagnoses, studied listening techniques for the heart, lungs and other organs by way of the developing stethoscope, and participated in clinical studies of cholera and typhus with Louis in the wards and autopsy room. Their exposure to French medical practices influenced American medicine in new ways. Upon the return of the young doctors to Philadelphia, C W Pennock, MD and W W Gerhard, MD were soon able to put Louis' approach to typhoid fever to work when an outbreak occurred in Philadelphia in 1836. Dr. Pennock had been appointed attending physician at the AlmsHouse and Hospital and Dr. Gerhard was appointed to the Pennsylvania Hospital. With the hundreds of patients in their care they were able to distinguish typhus from typhoid fever, which saved lives. For most of his career, Caspar Wistar Pennock focused on the study of the anatomy of the heart and authored several papers based on experiments of physiological actions and sounds of the heart and cardiac diseases. He retired from medicine earlier than planned due to the steady progress of a debilitating disease of the spinal marrow.

Digital objects note

This collection contains digital materials that are available in the APS Digital Library. Links to these materials are provided with context in the inventory of this finding aid. A general listing of digital objects may also be found here.

Collection Information

Physical description

56 items.

Early American History Note

Much of this collection deals with Caspar Wistar Pennock's medical practice and travel abroad, especially his time in Paris in the 1830s. There is one interesting letter from Andrew Comstock that references his attempt to foment a revolution (in elocution) in Philadelphia in 1830. There are a few letters in French.

Indexing Terms


  • Manuscript Essays
  • Receipts.
  • Travel Narratives and Journals

Geographic Name(s)

  • Philadelphia (Pa.) -- Social life and customs.

Personal Name(s)

  • Audubon, John James, 1785-1851
  • Bache, Franklin, 1792-1864
  • Comstock, Andrew
  • Griscom, John, 1774-1852
  • Harlan, Richard, 1796-1843
  • Hays, Isaac,1796-1879.
  • Michaux, Francois André, 1770-1855
  • Morton, Samuel George, 1799-1851
  • Pennock, C. W. (Caspar Wistar), 1799-1867
  • Travers, Benjamin, 1783-1858
  • Vaux, Roberts,1786-1836.


  • Americans Abroad
  • International Travel
  • Medicine
  • Medicine.

Detailed Inventory

 James Tyson . Letter to Mrs. S.W Miller
1809 November 11 

Other Descriptive Information: Nov.11

 Hugh L. Hodge. Receipt to Miss Isabella L. Pennock
1829 January 4 
 R. Smith t.. Letter to Benjamin Travers
1830 September 7 
 J. Griscom. Letter to Dr. Pritchard
1830 April 14 
 Roberts Vaux. Letter to William Allen and Robert Forster
1830 April 14 
 Richard Harlan. Letter to J. Audubon
1830 April 15 
 Judah Dobson . Letter to F. A.Michaux
1830 April 15 
 Joseph G. Nancrede . Letter to Dr. Orfila
1830 April 15 
 W. E.Horner . Letter to George Borthwick
1830 April 16 
 Rene La Roche . Letter to Dr. Mahon
1830 April 16 
 W. Gibson . Letter to Prof. Bell
1830 April 18 
 Samuel George Morton. Letter to James Morton
1830 April 18 
 Theodore Dewees. Letter to Madame Faures
1830 April 19 
 Thomas Parke . Letter to Robert Barclay
1830-April 20 
 Chervin . Letter to Caspar W Pennock
1830 July 21 
 Biori. . Receipt to Caspar W Pennock
1830 November 1 
 A. Comstock. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1830 December 1 
 Samuel Hazard, Secretary. Resolution of the Philadelphia Almshouse...
1831 March 22 
 John C. Spencer. Letter to William and A.Gould
1833 July 15 
 Charles Martins . Letter to C.W.Pennock
1833 October 8 
 J Jackson. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1833 December 5 
 William Norris. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1835 February 25 
 C. C. Felton. Letter to Henry C. White
1843 March 8 
 R. C. Carter. Letter to Nehemiah Banker(?)
1844 June 14 
 Charles D. Meigs. Receipt to Miss Isabella Pennock
1848 February 14 
 George B. Wood. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1848 November 14 
 Theophilus E. Beetley. Letter to Isabella L. Pennock
1849 May 5 
 Isaac Hays. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1850 March 26 
 George L. Morse . Letter to Mrs. Kerlin
1850 March 29 
 Francis Conde. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1850 April 19 
 Isaac Parrish. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1850 September 18 
 Sarah Jenkins. Letter to Carline Pennock
1856 April 3 
 S. Jackson. Letter to Caspar W Pennook
1857 July 6 
 Franklin Bache. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1858 June 3 
 J. S. Davis. Letter to Dr. Meriwether
1958 December 28 
 William Darlington. Note
1858 April 30 
 Joseph Parrish. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1860 December 11 
 George Smith. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1862 August 12 
 W. A. Hummon. Autograph
1864 Feb. 8 
 Thomas S. Kirkbrid. Letter to Caroline Pennock
1867 May 31 
 Henry J. Bowditch. Letter to Mrs. Pennock
1873 September 8 
 John F. Hartranft, Governor of Pennsylvania. Appointment of William H. Miller to build a hospital for the insane.
1876 December 7 
 E. Seguin . Letter to Dr. Kerlin
1877 June 
 J. R. Lambdin. Autograph
1880 May 4 
 H. Carvill Lewis. Letter to Mrs. Miller
1884 May 14 
 Goplie Venaykk Joshee. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
1887 March 15 

Other Descriptive Information: Check date and correspondence as Pennock died in 1867

 Joseph Willcox. Letter to Mrs. Miller
1888 September 2 
 Joseph Leidy . Letter to Joseph Willcox
1889 April 10 
 E. Otis Kendall. Certification from University of Pennsylvania.Caspar Wistar Miller
1891 April 20 
 Dr. James. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
 John Lownes. Autograph
 J. K. Mitchell. Letter to Caspar Wistar Pennock
 E. D. Palmer. Autograph
 Joseph Parris. Autograph
 W. C.Rivers. Letter to Pennock
 S. B. Woodward. Letter to unknown

Other Descriptive Information: fragment