College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Library

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Established in 1791, the Library of the College of Physicians was Philadelphia’s central medical library for over 150 years, serving medical schools, hospitals, physicians and other health professionals. Today, it is an independent research library devoted to the history of medicine and serves hundreds of scholars, health professionals, students and popular writers each year.

In addition to its historical research resources, over the last half century the library has been involved in several medical library consortiums, providing both resources and administrative support to these projects. Some of these include: Mid Eastern Medical Regional Library Service (MERMLS), Medical Document Service (MDS), Health Science Library Consortium (HSLC), and Consumer Health Information Network (CHINET). These organizations aim to spread knowledge for the benefit of medical research and public health. The Library has also played a key role in providing material for exhibitions and publications by the College of Physicians. Rare books from the library stacks are regularly put on display for visitors, and images from their collections are reproduced for publications. The Library has kept consistent records of its functions from the 1960s until the early 2000s. These records not only include user requests, correspondence, and grant applications, but also the papers of several library directors throughout this period. In the Library Collection are the papers of the following directors: Anthony Aguirre, Ellen Gartrell, Charles Greifenstein, Lisabeth M. Holloway, Thomas A. Horrocks, Andrea Kenyon, Edward Morman, Christine Ruggere, and Marjorie Smink.

The College Library is also notable for its manuscripts and archives. Within its collection are the College’s own archives; the archives of other Philadelphia medical institutions; and letters, case books, and student notebooks that document the personal life and professional practice of doctors in the Philadelphia region and around the world. Among the most important manuscript collections are the bulk of extant letters written by S. Weir Mitchell, a Civil War surgeon, neurologist, physiologist, novelist, and leading member of the College for more than fifty years.

The College Library also owns several collections of printed books associated with individual Fellows. The College offers research fellowships to candidates studying the history and culture of medicine. The Lewis collections, donated by College President Samuel Lewis over several decades in the nineteenth century, consist of several thousand books, many of them rare, whose acquisition clearly established the singular importance of the College Library. Most recently, forensic psychiatrist Robert L. Sadoff donated the Sadoff Library of Legal Medicine and Forensic Psychiatry to the College. Before arriving at the College in 2002, Dr. Sadoff’s four thousand volumes comprised the world’s largest private collection of books and pamphlets on these topics.

Care of the collections has always been of great concern to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The College recently installed a state-of-the-art climate control system in the library stacks, and several recent grants and gifts have been applied to an extensive preservation and restoration program.

Bibliography

Large portions of this historical note were taken directly from The College of Physicians of Philadelphia website: http://www.collphyphil.org/ERICS/Libhist.htm (accessed July 27, 2010).

From the guide to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia Library records, Bulk, 1953-2007, 1807-2007, (College of Physicians Historical Medical Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. Presidential papers of Lewis C. Scheffey, 1918-1966. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of Finance and Accounting. Records concerning special funds, bequests, and estates, 1858-1992. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Librarian. Correspondence, 1959-1964 (span), 1963-1964 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Galen. [De crisibus] [microform]. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Library Committee. Records, 1846-1919. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Vaihinger, Hans, 1852-1933. Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1890. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia Office of the Executive Director records, Bulk, 1977-2002, 1951-2003 College of Physicians Historical Medical Library
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Council. Reports supplementary to Council minutes, 1941-1959. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. Chronological file of George P. Rosemond, 1978-1980. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Librarian. Records, 1855-1909. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf College of Physicians of Philadelphia Library records, Bulk, 1953-2007, 1807-2007 College of Physicians Historical Medical Library
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. S. Weir Mitchell Associates Committee. Records of the chairman, 1959-1979 (span), 1960-1969 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
creatorOf Billings, John S. (John Shaw), 1838-1913. Correspondence in the American Philosophical Society Library and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia Library, 1878-1916 [microform]. National Library of Medicine
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Library Committee. Minutes, 1951-1981. College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Librarian. Records concerning the S. Weir Mitchell Associates, 1959-1988 (span), 1960-1970 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
referencedIn Francis Clark Wood Institute for the History of Medicine. Office of the Director. Records, 1879-1987 (span), 1977-1985 (bulk). College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aguirre, Anthony R. person
associatedWith Billings, John S. (John Shaw), 1838-1913. person
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Council. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Library Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Library Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of Finance and Accounting. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Librarian. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Librarian. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the Librarian. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Office of the President. corporateBody
associatedWith College of Physicians of Philadelphia. S. Weir Mitchell Associates Committee. corporateBody
associatedWith Francis Clark Wood Institute for the History of Medicine. Office of the Director. corporateBody
associatedWith Galen. person
associatedWith Gartrell, Ellen person
associatedWith Greifenstein, Charles person
associatedWith Holloway, Lisabeth M. person
associatedWith Horrocks, Thomas A. person
associatedWith Kenyon, Andrea person
associatedWith Medical Documentation Service (Philadelphia, Pa.). corporateBody
associatedWith Mid-Eastern Regional Medical Library Service. corporateBody
associatedWith Morman, Edward T. person
associatedWith National Library of Medicine (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Smink, Marjorie person
associatedWith Vaihinger, Hans, 1852-1933. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Subject
Libraries--Pennsylvania
Libraries
Medical informatics
Medicine--History
Medical libraries
Occupation
Activity

Corporate Body

Active 1878

Active 1916

Americans

English

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