Cotton Tufts

Dr. Cotton Tufts, a founder and soon-to-be President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, requests Dr. Draper of Dedham to inform him of the next meeting of his “Association of Physicians” as he desires “to do whatever lays in my Power to encourage every laudable Effort for the advancement of medical knowledge.”

Autograph Letter Signed “Cotton Tufts,” one page, 7.5” x 9.25”. Weymouth, October 26, 1785. On watermarked laid paper. Integral leaf addressed by Tufts to “Doc. Philip Draper / Dedham.” Loss of paper on integral leaf. Reparable tear in text and minor flaws in this darkly penned letter. Near fine condition.

In full, “I read your letter of the 12th inst. containing an invitation to meet an Association of Physicians on the 7th of Nov. next – I beg you to inform the gentlemen, that as the Gen. Court will then be sitting I shall not probably have it in my power to attend – But I would request you to inform me of the next meeting and also how for the society have proceeded, and the names of the Gentlemen constituting it - At some future meeting I shall endeavour to attend and shall all Times be ready to do whatever lays in my Power to encourage every laudable Effort for the advancement of medical knowledge.”

On October 26, 1785, the day Dr. Tufts wrote this letter, according to its Recording Secretary, Nathaniel Walker Appleton, the Massachusetts Medical Society “voted that Committees be appointed in the several counties of this Commonwealth for the purpose of encouraging the communications of all important or extraordinary Cases that may occur in the practice of the medical Art, and for this purpose to meet, correspond and communicate with any Individuals or any Association of Physicians that have been or may be formed in their respective counties, & make report from time to time of their doings to this Society as occasion may require.”

Dr. Cotton Tufts was an original incorporator and second Vice President (1785-1787) and fourth President of the Massachusetts Medical Society (1787-1795). He was married to Abigail Adams’ aunt. At the time of this letter, while serving as U.S. Minister to England, John Adams left his business affairs in the care of Dr. Tufts.


Item: 54023

Price: $1,500.00
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Cotton Tufts
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