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Benjamin Rush Portal: Return to America

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Rush's Early Career Timeline

  • August 1, 1769: Rush is officially named the first professor of chemistry at the College of Philadelphia and begins his private medical practice.
  • November 1769: Rush begins teaching chemistry.
  • February 1772: Rush publishes his first pamphlet "Sermons to Gentlemen upon Temperance and Exercise".
  • January 20, 1773: Encouraged by abolitionist Anthony Benezet, Rush publishes “An Address to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in America, Upon Slave-Keeping," one of the first major pieces of abolition writing in the colonies, and the first to address not only legal and humanitarian issues but the medical and psychological impact of slavery.
  • October 1773: Rush co-writes, with other members of the Philadelphia “Sons of Liberty” the anti-tea-tax broadside which is published in Philadelphia and Boston as the justification for what becomes the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773.
  • In 1774, Rush, along with other physicians, established the Society for Inoculating the poor to help stop the spread of smallpox (The Sutton Method).
  • February 1774: Rush gave his first oration at the Philosophical Society.
  • August 29, 1774: Rush meets John Adams and the Massachusetts delegation to the First Continental Congress, outside of Philadelphia and gives them advice Adams considers impertinent at the time but later decides was brilliant.
  • During First Continental Congress, Rush meets and gets to know George Washington, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry (who he inoculated), and others.
  • February 1775: Rush meets "a certain Thomas Paine" who he encourages to write what will become Common Sense (which Rush edited and got published).
  • May 1775: Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia where Rush meets Thomas Jefferson.
  • Fall 1775: Rush begins writing love letters to Julia Stockton the sixteen-year-old daughter of Princeton lawyer Richard Stockton and his writer wife the former Annis Boudinot.


Rush's Publications (1783-1813)