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Mossell, Nathan(1856–1946) - Physician, Chronology

university pennsylvania lincoln school

Nathan Francis Mossell was one of the first generation of university-trained black physicians in the United States. After earning his degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1882, Mossell practiced in that city for several years before co-founding its Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital, the first such institution dedicated to meeting the healthcare needs of Philadelphia’s African American community which carried on its work until the early 1970s.

Nathan Mossell was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on May 15, 1856, the son of Aaron Albert Mossell and Eliza Bowers Mossell. By 1870, the family, which included his brothers Aaron and Charles and sisters Alvaretta and Mary, had moved to Lockport, New York, in Niagara County. Lockport was a mostly Quaker community and had been known as a haven for runaway slaves as far back as the 1820s. The Quakers, a Protestant pacifist sect, formally known as the Society of Friends, embraced not only religious tolerance but the expansion of civil liberties for all. Many Quakers were well-known abolitionists in pre-Civil War America.

Mossell attended Lincoln University, located in Chester County in southeastern Pennsylvania. The school was founded as the Ashmun Institute in 1854 as the first historically black college in the United States for men and was renamed in honor of slain U.S. President Abraham Lincoln after the Civil War. Mossell excelled in his studies and took the school’s Bradley Medal in natural science. After earning his undergraduate degree from Lincoln in 1879, he went on to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. This prestigious school had been founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin and boasted the country’s first school of medicine. Mossell was its first black graduate, finishing second in his class in 1882.



Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on May 15


Moves with family to Lockport, New York


Graduates from Lincoln University


Marries Gertrude Emily Hicks Bustill


Earns M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania


Becomes member of Philadelphia County Medical Society


Co-founds the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training School in Philadelphia


Retires as medical director and chief of staff of Douglass Memorial Hospital


Dies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Mossiker, Frances Sanger (1906–1985) - Popular History [next] [back] Mosley, Roger E. (1938–)

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