MITCHILL, Samuel Latham

1764–1831

Biography

MITCHILL, Samuel Latham, a Representative and a Senator from New York; born in Hempstead, Nassau County, N.Y., August 20, 1764; pursued classical studies; studied medicine and graduated from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1786; returned to the United States, studied law and was admitted to the bar; commissioner to purchase the lands of the Iroquois Indians in western New York in 1788; member, State assembly 1791, 1798; professor of chemistry, botany, and natural history in Columbia College 1792-1801; one of the founders of the State Society for the Promotion of Agriculture in 1793; editor of the New York Medical Repository 1797-1813; elected as a Democratic Republican to the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Congresses and served from March 4, 1801, until his resignation November 22, 1804, before the close of the Eighth Congress, having been elected Senator; one of the managers appointed by the House of Representatives in 1804 to conduct the impeachment proceedings against Judge John Pickering; chairman, Committee on Commerce and Manufacturers (Eighth Congress); elected to the United States Senate on November 9, 1804, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Armstrong, but did not qualify immediately, retaining his seat in the House; served in the Senate from November 23, 1804, to March 3, 1809; elected to the Eleventh Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William Denning; reelected to the Twelfth Congress and served from December 4, 1810, to March 3, 1813; surgeon general of the State militia 1818; founder and president of the Lyceum of Natural History of New York City 1817-1823; professor of chemistry and natural history in the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons 1808-1820 and of botany and materia medica 1820-1826; one of the founders and vice president of Rutgers Medical School 1826-1830; died in New York City September 7, 1831; interment in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.

View Record in the Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress

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External Research Collections

Albany Institute of History and Art

Albany, NY
Papers: In New York State Agricultural Society records, 1792-1840; Caldwell family papers, ca. 1684-1832; and Albany Institute of History and Art records, 1791-1926.

American Philosophical Society

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: In Joseph Carson letters, 1789-1858, on 1 microfilm reel of originals in College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Benjamin Vaughan papers, 1746-1900; Samuel George Morton papers, 1819-1850; and Thomas Jefferson papers, 1775-1825.

Boston Public Library

Boston, MA
Papers: 7 letters.

Columbia University
Rare Book and Manuscript Library

New York, NY
Papers: In Literary and Philosophical Society of New-York records, 1816-1830. 39 items. Chiefly letters, documents, and manuscripts relating to the society founded by Mitchill, who also served as vice president.

Downstate Medical Center

Brooklyn, NY
Papers: Lecture on "Materia Medica, Botany and Universal Science" in John B. Zabrinskie notebooks on anatomy lectures delivered in the University of New York, ca. 1827.

Harvard University
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine

Boston, MA
Papers: 1809-1828. 1 box. Includes letters pertaining to medicine, archaeology, and geology; his history of West Point Academy; and a proclamation (1828). Also in American Academy of Arts and Sciences records, 1775-1800.

Library of Congress
Manuscript Division

Washington, DC
Papers: In the Catharine Mitchill papers, 1806-1822, 1 container; and Thomas Jefferson papers, 1606-1889, available on 65 microfilm reels. Finding aid.

New-York Historical Society

New York, NY
Papers: 1792-1829. 72 items.

New York Public Library

New York, NY
Papers: 11 letters (1789-1827) in various collections. Also notes on lectures in Thomas A. Brayton papers, 1820-1833.

New York State Library
Manuscripts and Special Collections

Albany, NY
Papers: Discussed in a letter (January 2, 1802) by William North.

Pierpont Morgan Library

New York, NY
Papers: 1813. 1 item.

Rutgers University Libraries
Special Collections and University Archives

New Brunswick, NJ
Papers: 1794-1827. 20 items. Correspondence relating to medical affairs, Indian affairs, agriculture, lotteries, politics, architecture, naval affairs, poetry, autobiography, and other matters.

Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences Archives

Staten Island, NY
Papers: Correspondence and biography in William T. Davis collection, 1851-1958.

University of Michigan
William L. Clements Library

Ann Arbor, MI
Papers: 1802-1815. 30 letters. Concern personal, businesss, and congressional matters. Finding aid.

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Papers: 1 letter and note (June 14, 1789) to Mitchill in Joseph Priestley papers, 1696-1803.

Yale University Libraries
Manuscripts and Archives

New Haven, CT
Papers: In Burr family papers, 1750-1853.
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Bibliography / Further Reading

Aberbach, Alan David. In Search of an American Identity: Samuel Latham Mitchill, Jeffersonian Nationalist. New York: P. Lang, 1988.

"Dr. Mitchill's Letters from Washington: 1801-1813." Harper's New Monthly Magazine 58 (April 1879): 740-55.

Hall, Courtney Robert. A Scientist in the Early Republic: Samuel Latham Mitchill, 1764-1831. 1934. Reprint. New York: Russell & Russell, 1967.

Mitchill, Samuel L. Outline of the Doctrines in Natural History, Chemistry, and Economics. New York: Childs & Swaine, 1792.

Sung, Carolyn Hoover. "Catharine Mitchill's Letters from Washington, 1806-1812." Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress 34 (July 1977): 171-89.

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