Lexington, KY and Philadelphia, PA: J. Kneass, 1819. Small square 4to. (190 x 165 mm). Notebook of a single quire of 24 leaves, folded and stitched in center to produce 48 pp., with 25 pp. of manuscript in cursive, the rest blank. Top edge of front cover and three subsequent leaves stained, browning. Spine a little chipped but sound. Very good. Item #3439
This manuscript notebook is of twofold interest. On the cover is an excellent stipple-engraving of war hero Commodore Stephen Decatur; the only other example of this engraving is the crude cut-out at the Naval History and Heritage Command Museum (Acc. #65-433-H). While the artist did not sign his work, it is possible that this individual was Philadelphia engraver / architect / polymath William Strickland, who is known to have engraved a portrait of Stephen Decatur for John Kneass (Stauffer, II, no. 3046). John Kneass, "Copper-plate printer," gives his address as No. 125 Market St. Philadelphia. He is not to be confused with his brother William (1781-1840) who left Philadelphia to become engraver to the U.S. Mint.
The manuscript itself consists of transcription of (unpublished?) Latin speeches by Horace Holley (1781-1827), third president of Transylvania University, on behalf of the Medical Department. Holley was a Unitarian minister by vocation; he served as president of the University from 1819 to 1827 during which time its national prominence rose considerably; enrollment increased; and the medical school rivalled Harvard's. Kappa Lambda of Hippocrates, the first medical fraternity of its kind, was founded by professor Samuel Brown at Transylvania, and branches of the society ultimately lead to the founding of the American Medical Association.
The first speech was pronounced at the Inauguration of the Professors of the Medical Department, together with the reply made by the Dean of the Faculty, Charles Caldwell, M.D.; the second was delivered on the conferrence of medical degrees to several students; the third is Holley's commencement address delivered on July 12, 1820; the fourth is the Medical Commencement delivered on March 12, 1821; the fifth and final speech is the Commencement address to the whole body of students delivered on July 11, 1821.
With the bookplate of Caroline Schimmel. From the Dorothy Sloan Americana collection.