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A lecture on the exhumation and dissection of human bodies, 1846

Wright, a lecturer at the Medical College of Ohio, warns against lax standards for acquiring bodies to dissect in medical schools. He posits that less regulation would lead to more criminal activity, like grave-robbing, and the dehumanization of the bodies being dissected. In the mid-19th century, demand for cadavers increased, as dissection became a major part of medical education. Many institutions turned a blind eye to the illegal activities of those who supplied the bodies. People debated the ethical and legal ramifications of dissection around the time Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).

Courtesy National Library of Medicine

Title page of a pamphlet.
  • Topic:

  • Creator:

    Marmaduke Burr Wright (1803–1879)