John Warren Lecture Notes

Lectures upon Anatomy

John Warren (1753-1815)
Lectures upon Anatomy : manuscript, 1783-1785

Partially in the handwriting of Dr. John Warren, this volume of lecture notes, beginning on December 10, 1783, contains the earliest surviving record of teaching at Harvard Medical School. The lectures were delivered in Harvard Yard, probably in Holden Chapel.

After summarizing the history of his subject, Dr. Warren then justifies dissection as an essential component to anatomical study: "At the first view of dissections, the stomach is apt to turn, but custom wears off such impressions. It is anatomy that directs the knife in the hand of a skilful surgeon, & shews him where he may perform any necessary operation with safety to the patient. It is this which enables the physician to form an accurate knowledge of diseases & open dead bodies with grace, to discover the cause or seat of the disease, & the alteration it may have made in the several parts."

Early Medical Education at Harvard
John Warren Lecture Notes