Capsule

Anatomy of an insurrection

Grave robbing wasn’t something a Yale man did in the early 19th century—unless he was in medical school.

Early on the morning of January 12, 1824, Jonathan Knight, Yale’s first professor of anatomy and physiology, received a startling piece of news. During the night, a body had been snatched from a fresh grave in the West Haven burying ground and the incensed townspeople were pointing fingers at the college.Some suspicion of the medical students was justified. Grave robbing by anatomists was still common in America at the beginning of the 19th century—for contrary to the practice in Europe, there was no legal way to obtain cadavers for medical study. One reason was the deeply ingrained prejudice against the work of anatomists. The inhabitants of New Haven “were the direct inheritors of a flourishing Puritan...

Read more...


 
Download on the Apple App Store