As a volunteer at the National Library of Medicine, History of
Medicine Division, I was assigned to sort a large number of medical
dissertations from European universities dating from the early 18th century.
At that time, a dissertation was required for a medical degree.
Among the dissertations from Edinburgh University in Scotland, I found two
copies of the medical dissertation of Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) written in
Latin and titled Coctione Ciborum In Ventriculo, dealing with stomach
digestion. Rush, who is considered the father of American psychiatry, wrote
the first psychiatric textbook in America (1812).
Rush was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the College of New Jersey
(now Princeton University) and apprenticed in medicine for six years with Dr.
John Redmond in Philadelphia. He left for Edinburgh in 1766 and two years
later was granted the medical degree. He returned to Philadelphia the
following year to open his medical practice. He was a signee of the
Declaration of Independence.