The office of the Secretary of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was created during the organization of the College in 1787. The Secretary is the appointed officer of record. His original duties were to record the minutes and transactions of the College and preserve its documents and correspondence. In 1834, the Secretary was also empowered to keep lists of the fellows and provide them with certificates of membership.
In 1863, the responsibility for notifying officers and committee members of election or appointment devolved upon the Secretary. An annual report on the fellowship became part of the Secretary's responsibilities in 1870. At this time, a related office, the Recorder, was created to keep the minutes of all scientific sessions. The office of the Recorder was abolished in 1914, and a salaried position, the Clerk, was created under the Secretary; the Secretary devoted himself to matters of fellowship while the Clerk preserved the minutes and papers of the College. The position of Clerk was abolished in 1925, and his duties were returned to the Secretary. In 1990, the Secretary was empowered to perform "all the duties appropriate to his or her post as the elected recording officer of the College and assume the duties and powers of the President in the absence or temporary incapacity of both the President and President-Elect".
From the description of Correspondence concerning Robert Abbe, 1919-1939 (span), 1928-1929 (bulk). (College of Physicians of Philadelphia). WorldCat record id: 122632948