Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Harry M. Horton Letters, 1833-1835

Duane Norman Diedrich Collection

Finding aid created by
Meg Hixon, May 2012

Summary Information
Title: Harry M. Horton letters
Creator: Horton, Geo. F. (George Firman), 1806-1886
Inclusive dates: 1833-1835
Extent: 81 items
Abstract:
This collection is made up of 76 letters that Harry M. Horton of Terrytown, Pennsylvania, wrote to his brother George while attending Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between 1833 and 1835. In his densely written letters, Horton described aspects of his medical studies, his social and religious life, and local and national political events, such as the Philadelphia race riots of August 1834. Additional items include two letters George wrote to Harry in 1835, a letter Harry received from William Arms, a letter by Ezra Stiles Ely attesting to Harry's membership in Philadelphia's Third Presbyterian Church, and a retained copy of George's letter to Professor Samuel McClellan describing Harry's death in 1835.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2007. M-4635.2.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Harry M. Horton Letters, Duane Norman Diedrich Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically, with undated items placed at the end.


Biography

Harry M. Horton, a native of Terrytown, Pennsylvania, was the son of Major John Horton and Deborah Terry. Between 1833 and 1835, he attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and became a member of the Third Presbyterian Church, led by Ezra Stiles Ely (1786-1861). After his graduation in the spring of 1835, Horton returned to Terrytown, where he died of a sudden illness on May 6, 1835. George Firman Horton (1806-1886), Harry's older brother, also studied medicine and practiced in Terrytown. George served as Terrytown's postmaster between 1830 and 1856.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of 76 letters that Harry M. Horton of Terrytown, Pennsylvania, wrote to his brother George while attending Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between 1833 and 1835. In his densely written letters, Horton described aspects of his medical studies, his social and religious life, and local and national political events, such as the Philadelphia race riots of August 1834. Additional items include 2 letters George wrote to Harry in 1835, a letter Harry received from William Arms, a letter by Ezra Stiles Ely attesting to Harry's membership in Philadelphia's Third Presbyterian Church, and a retained copy of George's letter to Professor Samuel McClellan describing Harry's death in 1835.

Harry corresponded with George during his time at Jefferson Medical College, writing 1- to 4-page letters regularly between October 1833 and February 1835. His letters provide detailed information about contemporary medical practices and medical education, as Horton described his lectures, medical experiments, operations, new theories, his professors, and his fellow students. He frequently commented on the sermons of Eliza Stiles Ely, who preached at Philadelphia's Third Presbyterian Church; on his social life; and on various aspects of student life, such as living with roommates. Horton often mentioned local and national political issues, such as the decline of the Second Bank of the United States, race relations, and abolition. In August 1834, he reflected on recent race riots in Philadelphia (see August 14, 1834, for example). On June 26, 1834, Horton gave his account of a balloon flight over Philadelphia, and on May 6, 1834, he wrote of a boating trip in Liverpool, England. In his later letters, Horton anticipated his upcoming graduation and potential career as a physician, and debated possible future relocations.

The remaining letters include 3 written by Harry's brother, George Firman Horton, a practicing physician in Terrytown, Pennsylvania. George wrote Harry 2 letters (March 9, 1835, and undated) about his upcoming plans to visit Philadelphia and about a recent religious discussion. In his third letter, a retained copy dated May 8, 1835, he informed Professor Samuel McClellan (of Jefferson Medical College) of Harry's death, and included a detailed account of his brother's final illness and attempts to treat it. Also included are a letter in which Ezra Stiles Ely recommended Harry M. Horton as a member of the Third Presbyterian Church and as an upstanding physician (March 24, 1835) and a friendly letter Harry received from William Arms, an acquaintance (April 18, 1835).

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Bank of the United States (1816-1836)
    • Ely, Ezra Stiles, 1786-1861.
    • Jefferson Medical College.
    • Liverpool (England)--Description and travel.
    • Medical students--United States.
    • Medicine--Study and teaching--United States.
    • Medicine--United States--History--19th century.
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)--History.
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social life and customs.
    • Race riots--Pennsylvania.
    • Students--Religious life.
    • Terrytown (Pa.)
    • Third Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    • United States--Politics and government--1829-1837.
    Contributors:
    • Arms, William.
    • Ely, Ezra Stiles, 1786-1861.
    • Horton, Harry M., d. 1835.
    Genre Terms:
    • Letters (correspondence)
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Harry M. Horton letters,  October 23, 1833-May 8, 1835, and  undated [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Bibliography

    Kelly, Howard A., and Walter L. Burrage. "Horton, George Firman." American Medical Biographies. Baltimore: The Norman, Remington Company, 1920.