William Pepper

Last updated
William Pepper
William Pepper.jpg
Born(1843-08-21)August 21, 1843
Died July 28, 1898(1898-07-28) (aged 54)
Pleasanton, California
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Known for Neuroblastoma
Scientific career
Fields Medicine

William Pepper Jr., M.D. (August 21, 1843 – July 28, 1898), was an American physician, leader in medical education in the nineteenth century, and a longtime Provost of the University of Pennsylvania. [1] In 1891, he founded the Free Library of Philadelphia.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Physician professional who practices medicine

A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Physicians may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients, and methods of treatment—known as specialities—or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities—known as general practice. Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines, such as anatomy and physiology, underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.

University of Pennsylvania Private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is a private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence and the first institution of higher learning in the United States to refer to itself as a university. Benjamin Franklin, Penn's founder and first president, advocated an educational program that trained leaders in commerce, government, and public service, similar to a modern liberal arts curriculum.


Early life

Pepper was born in Philadelphia to Dr. William Pepper Sr. and Sarah Platt. [2] He married Frances Sergent Perry on June 25, 1873. They were the parents of four sons (William, Thomas, Benjamin, and Oliver Pepper).[ citation needed ] He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating from the college in 1862 and from the medical school in 1864. [2]

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.


In 1868 Pepper became lecturer on morbid anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and in 1870 lecturer on clinical medicine. From 1876 to 1887, he was professor of clinical medicine at Penn and in 1887 succeeded Dr Alfred Still as professor of theory and practice of medicine. [2]

Anatomy The study of the structure of organisms and their parts

Anatomy is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organization of living things. It is an old science, having its beginnings in prehistoric times. Anatomy is inherently tied to developmental biology, embryology, comparative anatomy, evolutionary biology, and phylogeny, as these are the processes by which anatomy is generated over immediate (embryology) and long (evolution) timescales. Anatomy and physiology, which study (respectively) the structure and function of organisms and their parts, make a natural pair of related disciplines, and they are often studied together. Human anatomy is one of the essential basic sciences that are applied in medicine.

Pepper founded the Philadelphia Medical Times and was editor of that journal in 1870-71. He was elected provost of the University of Pennsylvania in 1881 and remained in that position until 1894. For his services as medical director of the United States Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876, he was made Knight Commander of Saint Olaf by King Oscar II of Sweden. [2]

Oscar II of Sweden King of Sweden and Norway

Oscar II was King of Sweden from 1872 until his death, and the last Bernadotte King of Norway from 1872 until his dethronement in 1905.

Pepper was the founder of Philadelphia's first free public library, chartered in 1891 through funds provided by the estate of his late uncle, which became the Free Library of Philadelphia, today the city's multi-branch public library system. He sponsored the Pepper-Hearst expedition (1895-1897) on the Gulf coast of Florida, near Tarpon Springs. [3]

Public library Library that is accessible by the public

A public library is a library that is accessible by the general public and is usually funded from public sources, such as taxes. It is operated by librarians and library paraprofessionals, who are also civil servants.

The Free Library of Philadelphia is the public library system that serves Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the 13th-largest public library system in the United States. Unique among public libraries in the United States, it is neither a city agency nor a nonprofit organization; instead, it is governed by both an independent city agency managed by its own board of directors and a separate nonprofit organization, The Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation.

Pepper was known academically for his contributions to the theory and practice of medicine and the System of Medicine that he edited in 1885-86 became one of America's standard medical textbooks. He died July 28, 1898, at Pleasanton, California. [2]

Pleasanton, California City in California, United States

Pleasanton is a city in Alameda County, California, incorporated in 1894. It is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area located about 25 miles (40 km) east of Oakland, and 6 miles (9.7 km) west of Livermore. The population was 70,285 at the 2010 census. In 2005 and 2007, Pleasanton was ranked the wealthiest middle-sized city in the United States by the Census Bureau. Pleasanton is home to the headquarters of Safeway, Workday, Ellie Mae, Roche Molecular Diagnostics, Blackhawk Network Holdings, and Veeva Systems. Other major employers include Kaiser Permanente, Oracle, Nordstrom and Macy's. Although Oakland is the Alameda County seat, a few county offices are located in Pleasanton. The Alameda County Fairgrounds are located in Pleasanton, where the county fair is held during the last week of June and the first week of July. Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is located on the west side of town.

A bronze statue of Pepper by Karl Bitter stands on the south side of College Hall at the University of Pennsylvania. A replica of this stands on the landing of the main staircase of the Free Library of Philadelphia. In addition, a marble bust - also by Bitter - rests on a wooden base in the Edwin A. Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia.


His contributions to the medical and scientific journals of the day Included the following: [2]

Further reading

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  1. Wikisource-logo.svg Kelly, Howard A.; Burrage, Walter L., eds. (1920). "Pepper, William (1843–1898)". American Medical Biographies . Baltimore: The Norman, Remington Company.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Wikisource-logo.svg Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pepper, William". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  3. Cushing, Frank Hamilton (1896). Preliminary Report on the Exploration of Ancient Key-dweller Remains on the Gulf Coast of Florida (Public domain ed.). MacCalla. p. 2.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Charles Janeway Stillé
Provost of the University of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Charles Custis Harrison