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Medical Department and Law Department Records
Transylvania University Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40508 USA
Open to researchers.
[Identification of item], Medical Department and Law Department Records, 1803-1859, TUA 2,Special Collections, Transylvania University, Lexington.
ca 35 cubic ft.
The Medical Department was established at Transylvania University shortly after the incorporation in 1799, with Lexington physicians Samuel Brown and Frederick Ridgely appointed as professors. Although the department was largely inactive until 1815, it experienced rapid growth following the appointment of President Horace Holley in 1818, attracting an excellent teaching staff which included Charles Caldwell, Benjamin W. Dudley, and Daniel Drake; and making sizable expenditures for its medical library and equipment. In its years of operation the department enrolled nearly 6,500 students of whom 1,881 received medical degrees. During the period from 1824 to 1835 the school's enrollment was the second largest among American medical schools. The 1830s were marked by stagnation in the economic vitality of Lexington, in contrast with the rapid growth of Louisville and Cincinnati, both of which competed with Transylvania for prospective students. In 1837 half the medical faculty left to join the Louisville Medical Institute, led by Dean Charles Caldwell. The remainder of the department's history was one of gradual decline which culminated with its closing in 1859. The department was revived briefly in the late 1890s and closed for the last time in 1907. The Law Department of Transylvania University was also established soon after the university's incorporation as the first law school in the West. Among the early faculty were Henry Clay, Jesse Bledsoe, and Willian T. Barry. Many graduates of the department entered politics being elected to various positions including more than 100 members of the United States Congress and twenty governors of various states. After a period of decline the department closed in 1858. In the years that followed it would be revived periodically, closing for the final time in 1912.
This collection is comprised of faculty and trustee minutes, matriculation records, student dissertations, compiled lists of graduates and other materials from the Medical and Law Departments of Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. Materials from the Medical Department include an indexed faculty minute book (1819-1849); matriculation records (1819-1859); student dissertations with student index (1820-1859); a record book of purchases made in London by Charles Caldwell (1812); and student lecture notes (1823-1842). Law Department materials include a small number of papers, various records, and historical information. Unpublished catalog of holdings.
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