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DE WITT, Benjamin.

(1774 – 1819)

(Born: 1774; Died: New York City, New York, U.S.A., 11 September 1819) American physician, scientist & educator.

De Witt was educated in medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received his M.D. in 1797. He was appointed professor of medicine at Columbia College in 1807 and the following year a professor of chemistry as well. While holding the position of health officer for New York City, De Witt was stricken with illness while inspecting the Yellow fever quarantine grounds of Staten Island. He published a disseration, {\nsl A Chemico-Medical Essay to Explain the Operation of Oxigen [sic]} (Philadelphia, 1797).

Biographical references: ABA: I 432, 386-389. Adams, Dictionary of American Authors, 1904. Appleton Cyclopedia of American Biography. BBA: I 323, 378-379. Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography. Poggendorff: 1, col. 566. WBI. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994.

Catalogue of Minerals, 1820

1. English, 1820 [Collection catalog].
A | Catalogue | Of | Minerals, | Contained In The Cabinet Of The Late | Benjamin DeWitt, M.D. | Professor Of Mineralogy, &c. | In The College Of Physicians And Surgeons, | New-York. | Consisting Of More Than Eleven Thousand | Specimens, Collected In Europe | And America. | [tapered rule] | Albany: | Printed By G.J. Loomis, & Co. | No. 108 State Street. | [tapered rule] | 1820.

8°: π1 1-134 141; 54l.; [1]-108 p. Bound in printed wraps with the title repeated and contained within an ornate border on the front cover. Page size: 222 x 128 mm.

Contents: [1-2], Title page, verso blank.; [3]-108, Text [=catalog of mineral specimens].

Rare. A collection sale catalog of De Witt's very large mineral collection (purchased from the estate of Archibald Bruce?). The text lists thousands of specimens by species with each locality represented in the collection arranged underneath. Many foreign examples are present. In 1804, he had donated a suite of New York mineral specimens to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Bibliographical references: Hazen & Hazen, American Geological Literature, 1980: no. 3169. NUC: 142, 126-27 [ND 0232299]. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 167 & 210.