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John Rosencrantz's Medical Education

The “brief and turbulent” history of Rutgers Medical College, according to Dr. Michael Nevins, was “marked by struggles for power, prestige and profit among the medical faculty at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York . . . and between the New York and New Jersey medical establishments. “ The college was founded by a group of five prominent physicians led by Dr. David Hosack, who broke away from the College of Physicians and Surgeons and in August 1826 announced in a circular that they had formed new school to be called the Medical College of New-York. After unsuccessful attempts to gain affiliation with Columbia University, Union College, and the University of Pennsylvania, the persuaded the trustees of Rutgers College to endorse the venture.

Queen’s College and was in dire need of money. Having a medical school would enhance the institution’s reputation. When the new school opened in the fall of 1826, with Dr. Hosack as its president, it had a student body of 153. (Interestingly, the student body at the College of Physicians and Surgeons had shrunk to only 93, half the number who had attended in 1825.) Later circulars used the name Rutgers Medical College instead of Medical College of New-York. Hosack estimated that it would cost each student about $400 per session to cover tickets of admission to lectures, books, boards, and clothing. The faculty paid Rutgers $5 per student to defray the costs of graduation.

As soon as Dr. Hosack’s school attained the Rutgers affiliation, John received the good news in a letter from Garret Terhune:

I have the pleasure of announcing to you the success of our Professors with respect to the source of conferring Degrees. . . . The trustees of Rutgers College will consequently confer the degree of doctor of Medicine upon all students recommended by said Medical Faculty. The Professors are very much elated with their success and intend to commence their course of lectures with great courage and exertions. They will in all probability far exceed the old Medical College [the College of Physicians and Surgeons] in the number of students. In my opinion the source of degrees is very favorable to all students of Medicine from our State and therefore I think we have reason to be very much pleased with it. I trust you will not hesitate in coming forward to attend at least a part of the entering course of lectures.

John received his degree from Rutgers Medical School in 1830.

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