Benjamin Smith Barton - Encyclopedia


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BENJAMIN SMITH BARTON (1766-1815), American naturalist, was born at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1766, studied for two years at Edinburgh, and afterwards graduated at Göttingen. He settled at Philadelphia, and soon obtained a considerable practice. In 1789 he was appointed professor of botany and natural history in the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania; he was made professor of materia medica in 1795, and on the death of Dr Benjamin Rush in 1813 he obtained the chair of practical medicine. In 1802 he was chosen president of the American Philosophical Society, of which he was a strong supporter. Barton was the author of various works on natural history, botany and materia medica, his Elements of Botany (1803) being the best known. He died at Philadelphia on the 19th of December 1815.

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