List of Anatomical Preparations for the University of Virginia

On May 22, 1825, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Dr. Robert Greenhow in New York that he had received a list of desired anatomical preparations from Dr. Robley Dunglison. He asked Greenhow to obtain what he could and let him know what he was unable to procure so he could try elsewhere, assuming that would be Europe. [1] Anatomist Gordon H. Scott commented that the list appears to be intended as “a cultural exercise for the young gentlemen of Virginia” rather than designed to prepare them for the professional study of medicine. [2]

Dunglison to Jefferson: List of Anatomical Preparations [May 21, 1825] [3]

Head injected so as to exhibit the course of the Carotids — as well as of the vertebral arteries.
A dried preparation of the uterus, bladder, rectum, &c. in situ.
An injected preparation of the heart with the adjacent vessels & Thoracic duct with, or without, the head attached.
An injected foetus to exhibit the foetal circulation.
A prepared penis.
The testes, with the artery, vein, & vas deferens injected.
The vessels of the Mesentery injected.
Bones injected & rendered transparent to shew their vascularity.
Intestine injected.
Liver, spleen, kidney or pancreas, injected preparation
Section of the head so as to exhibit the falx cerebri &c. carried down through the face or not.
Any preparation to shew the lymphatics.
Preparation to shew the cancelli of Bone.
Dried urinary Bladder, Penis, &c.
Dried preparation of the heart to shew its valves, cavities, chordae tendineae, &c.
Preparation of the lungs in Spirit to exhibit their vascularity.
Head laid out according to Gall and Spurzheim’s system.
Wet preparation to shew the thoracic & abdominal viscera in situ in a child (anterior view.)
Preparation of the stomach wet or dry.
Dried preparation of the larynx, trachea, &c.
Urinary or Biliary calculi.
Any preparation of the ligaments, especially of those of the Pelvis.
Male and Female Pelvis. (two or three female).
Foetal Pelvis & Skeleton.
Any morbid preparations with the histories attached.

  1. Dorsey, John M. (Ed.) The Jefferson-Dunglison Letters. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1960, 27.
  2. Dorsey, 16.
  3. Dorsey, 164-16.


 Back to: The Need for an Anatomical Theatre