Benjamin Rush was an American Founding Father, physician, writer, educationalist, humanitarian, politician, military general, and professor. His accomplishments are many - he founded Dickinson College, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Surgeon General during the Revolutionary War, and a professor of chemistry, medical theory, and clinical practice at the University of Pennsylvania. He is considered the father of modern psychiatry.

Full Name Benjamin Rush
Who physician
Birth Date January 4, 1746
Death Date April 19, 1813
Country United States
Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Cause of Death typhus fever

Princeton University

University of Edinburgh

Father John Harvey Rush
Mother Susanna Hall Rush
Spouse Julia Stockton

Jacob Rush

John Rush

James Rush


John Rush

Ann Emily Rush

Richard Rush

Mary B. Rush

James Rush

Benjamin Rush Jr.

Julia Rush

Samuel Rush

William Rush


From age eight to approximately age 13, Rush went to a small county school, where he was taught by Samuel Finley, his uncle-in-law. After his father's death around age 8, Rush lived in the Finley's home. Many attribute Finley for Rush's interest in medicine. Decades later, he attended Finley on his deathbed.

Rush studied law under William Shippen. Years later, he resigned from his post as Surgeon General due to a bitter feud between them.

Rush was the next-door neighbor and close friend of William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania. During the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793, Rush and White were among the only members of Philadelphia society to remain behind in the city and tend the sick.

Rush wrote two furiously defaming letters about George Washington, one of them to Patrick Henry, and requested that they be read aloud to Washington by the recipients. Instead, they were shown to Washington, who recognized the handwriting despite them being unsigned. Ten days later, Rush wrote a third letter to John Adams, again slandering Washington. It was a move that ended Rush's military career, and one that he expressed deep regret over later in life. When John Marshall began writing a biography on Washington around 1803, Rush successfully convinced him not to include his name in any relaying of this affair.

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis to personally train with Rush in preparation for his famous expedition. Rush tutored the explorer in bloodletting, frontier illnesses, emetics, and the use of some medicines, many of which were supplied by Rush himself.

Rush was a friend of Thomas Jefferson.

Rush was a friend of William Bingham, and after a conversation with on Bingham's porch, Rush formed the idea of Dickinson College, which was founded in 1773.

Through his marriage to Julia Stockton in 1776, Rush was the son-in-law of Richard Stockton and the nephew-in-law of of Elias Boudinot.

Rush believed in extreme bloodletting, despite much emerging evidence discrediting it. His copious bleeding is sometimes attributed to hastening the deaths of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

Samuel A. Cartwright was a student of Rush's.

Rush was a friend of John Adams, and numerous letters between them have been found.

Rush was the father of Richard Rush.

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