Body Snatching: The Robbing of Graves for the Education of Physicians in Early Nineteenth Century America

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McFarland, Feb 24, 2005 - Social Science - 144 pages
Also called “resurrectionists,” body snatchers, were careful not to take anything from the grave but the body—stealing only the corpse was not considered a felony since the courts had already said that a dead body had no owner. (“Burking”—i.e., murder—was the alternative method of supplying “stiffs” to medical schools; it is covered here as well). This book recounts the practice of grave robbing for the medical education of American medical students and physicians during the late 1700s and 1800s in the US, why body snatching came about and how disinterment was done, and presents information on: efforts to prevent the practice, a group of professional grave robbers, and the European experience.

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Suzanne Shultz’s “Body Snatching: the robbing of graves for the education of physicians in early nineteenth century America” is the third book I have looked at for background on this unavoidable ... Read full review


Dissection for Education
American Professionals
The Coming of the Anatomy Acts
Popular Literature
History of the Anatomy Act of Pennsylvania

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Page 126 - An Act for the promotion of medical science by the distribution and use of unclaimed human bodies for scientific purposes, through a board created for that purpose, and to prevent unauthorized uses and traffic in human bodies.

About the author (2005)

Suzanne M. Shultz, has published works on the history of medicine and Three Mile Island. She is the director of Library Services of Philip A. Hoover, M.D. Library at WellSpan Health at York Hospital. She lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

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