American Body Snatchers

Merchandising the Dead in 19th Century New England and Washington, D.C.

Not Yet Published


New 2024 Pre-Order

Available for pre-order / backorder

SKU: 9781476695013 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

At the beginning of the 19th century, physicians teaching anatomy in New England medical schools expected students to have hands-on experience with cadavers. As the only bodies that could be dissected legally were convicted murderers, this led to a lack of sufficient bodies for study. These doctors and their students turned to removing the dead from graveyards and cemeteries for dissection. The first medical school in Washington, D.C. was founded in 1825, headed by a Massachusetts physician convicted of body snatching, and made the practice commonplace in the area.
This history of body snatching in the 19th century focuses on medical schools in New England and Washington, D.C., along with the religious, moral, and social objections during the time. With research from contemporary newspapers, medical articles, and university archives, topics such as state anatomy laws and their effects on doctors, students, and the poor—who were the usual victims—are covered, as are perceptions of physicians and medical schools by the local communities.

About the Author(s)

Richard S. Ross III is a retired college librarian and professor emeritus from Trinity College. His scholarly interests include 19th- and 20th-century German history. He lives in Broad Brook (East Windsor), Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

Richard S. Ross III
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 25 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-9501-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5262-7
Imprint: McFarland