This page features an outline of Benjamin Rush's life and publications.
Please explore the pages, located to the right, for a more comprehensive exploration of Rush's life.
1745: Benjamin Rush was born on Christmas Eve in Byberry, Philadelphia.
1754: Rush enrolled in the Nottingham Academy, a small boarding school in Colera, Maryland.
1759: Rush entered college as a junior.
1745: Graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University).
1761: Became an apprentice of Dr. John Redman.
1763: Rush begins studying with Dr. Shippen, first course in America on anatomy.
1766: Studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh.
1768: Rush met Benjamin Franklin in London; Franklin opened doors for him there-with medical, literacy, and political figures. Franklin financed his trip to Paris where Rush met with medical, literacy, and political figures.
1769: Rush Returned to Philadelphia, and was officially named the first professor of chemistry at the College of Philadelphia.
1773: Rush co-wrote, with other members of the Philadelphia “Sons of Liberty,” the anti-tea tax broadside that inspires the Boston Tea Party.
1774: Met John Adams who became his lifelong friend; he also met Samuel Adam, George Washington, Patrick Henry, and other future founders at the 1st Continental Congress.
1775: Met Thomas Paine whom he convinced to write “Common Sense” Met Thomas Jefferson during the 2nd Congressional Congress.
1776: Married Julia Stockton, daughter of Richard Stockton, another signer of the Declaration of Independence. Elected to the 2nd Congressional Congress at age 30 to represent Pennsylvania Signed the Declaration of Independence.
1777: Appointed Surgeon General of the Middle Department of the Continental Army.
1778: Resign from his post by Congress.
1782: Established Dickinson College.
1783: Joined the staff at the Pennsylvania Hospital.
1787: Helped establish the first American medical society, the College of Physicians. Put in charge of the care of patients with mental illness and addiction, who were treated in the locked basement of Pennsylvania Hospital. Helped Franklin reinvigorate the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, the first in the nation that was started by Anthony Benezet in 1774.
1791: Taught at the new University of Pennsylvania after the old College of Philadelphia was closed; Penn was merged with the University of the State of Pennsylvania.
1793: Remained in Philadelphia to sure his patients from Yellow Fever.
1803: Was a medical consultant to Meriwether Lewis for his expedition with William Clark.
1810: Devised his most famous and in some corners, the infamous-treatment devise, the Tranquilizer Chair.
All of Benjamin Rush’s letters published and annotated letters are now available online at the UVA/Rotunda Letters of Benjamin Rush Digital Edition. It brings together all the volumes of Rush letters annotated by Lyman Butterfield, with a new essay by Stephen Fried