Who is Dr. Cadwallader Colden?

The following are very early biographies written about Cadwallader Colden.  Rather than rewrite or essentially rephrase much of what has already been told about Dr. Colden, numerous times before the production of this review, these various views of Colden’s importance in local or national history as a scientist and physician are provided.  these biographies provide the best insights in his early roles in American history, the purpose of providing you this information.  For history’s sake, they are presented in chronological order, as they appeared in the popular and professional press.

 

The Portfolio (Vol. 3, 1810)

 Following his father’s death, a search began by members of the scientific and medical community for Cadwallader Senior’s most important research notes, manuscipts and personal belongings in the form of his previously published writings.  The American medical and surgical journal had several brief announcements published noting this desperate search for the documents, followed by their successful recovery by the son of Dr. Colden, Cadwallader D.  Colden.  The Portfolio provided a simple listing of Colden’s writings and notes recently uncovered from the property by his son, a number of which were republished. 

As part of this re-publication of many of these writings by the medical journals, a listing of these items was produced and published in The Portfolio.  Over the years, we will find several listing of Colden’s publications in the scientific and popular press.  The majority of these writings are found on this list, although subsequent studies over the years uncovered a number of items not referred to in this bibliography contained in The Portfolio.  One of the most important things to note is the lack of any detailed review of the sum of these writings.  Most reviews of Colden’s accomplishments in science and medicine take a fairly narrow view of the importance of his work.  No complete and interdisciplinary overview of Colden accomplishments as a scholar of the “scientific enlightment period” has not been produced.

The Analectic Magazine (October 1814)

The next biography to be presented here was produced a few years later (1814) and published in The Analectic Magazine printed and distributed by way of Philadelphia.   This magazine was an example of a popular press magazine regularly distributed to the general public.  For the most part it consisted of various stories, prose, and educational articles concerning various topics of interest to both professionals and the general public.

 

 

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Lexicon Medicum (1829)

Although not a journal, Lexicon Medicum was an important information source for the general public as well as physicians.  The biography provided in this reference is important due to some of the additional information it provided about Cadwallader Colden.  As noted at the end of the essay, the original source of this biography is the newly published American Medical Biography by James Thacher (2 vols. 1828).  Thacher often provided personal impressions into his writings on the physicians based on personal and professional experience and his association with a number of Colden’s younger colleagues during the period of Colden’s later years.

[Please note: these pages can be somewhat difficult to read.  The text on these is rough, and at times is overlain by greyish overtones, which could not be removed. The original document is published in a format that has two columns per page, separated her in ordeer to enlarge the text.]

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The Documentary History of the State of New York, 1850

The Documentary History of the State of New York was the first detailed attempt to document the history of New York as Colony and State.  The production of this multivolume work took several years and resulted in a detailed collection consisting of transcripts from the colonial and war periods published for the first time using a standardized font and printing press.  On occasionl, original manuscript versions of the text appear, such as in the form of official signatures, and occasional drawings or other artisan-types of work. 

Please note: since this information is provided in footnote form, the text consists of a very small font that cannot be corrected for without risk of losing a portion of the right edge of each image.  Just click on the image to open it in a separate window, and hopefully, in an easier to read format.

Also note, we now have several renderings of Colden’s writings and journals for comparison.  There are differences in how the same document is cited, and may impact whether or not the original document can be found using standard search engines on the web or in the electronic archives libraries.

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The Treasury of Knowledge . . . American Biography, 1855

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History of the City of New York, 1876

Dr. Colden is mentioned on and off throughout the historical tales in this book.  This section is the most focused on Colden’s biography.   The year the first edition of this book was published is 1876.  Subsequent edicitions were published in 1880 and 1896.

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