Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Old Weird Philly: Pennsylvania Hospital

The surgical amphitheatre, a bright rotunda perched on the top of Pennsylvania Hospital. Admission was paid to attend the surgeries performed here, the proceeds of which funded care for the sick and poor.

This space might also be familiar to those who are familiar with the works of Thomas Eakins.

The hospital, started in part by some fellow named Franklin, is an architectural treasure, a beautiful mix of Federal and Georgian styles. Very mature azaleas, boxwoods and magnolias surround it. The foyer stairwell is a marvelous, spidery thing.

The library. In which we find...

An eighteenth-century anatomical model of a pregnant woman's torso.


  1. Of similar oldness and weirdness is the Dittrick Museum at the Allen Medical Memorial Library in Cleveland. One of the worlds largest collections of IUD's and contraception devices has its home there-- in addition to a fine miscellany of medical oddities. (In the actual library portion of the building, there are shelves and display cases full of various surgical tools and microscopes!)

  2. I wonder if my friend Joanna Ebenstein at Morbid Anatomy knows about this place. You should drop her a line.


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