Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]19 South 22nd St., Philadelphia, PA, 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum Committee was established in December 1940. The committee was responsible for the daily administration of the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum of the Philadelphia General Hospital. The committee attended to the maintenance of the museum building, oversaw the care and cataloging of museum pieces, and acknowledged donations to the museum. This committee reported to the Medical Board of the Philadelphia General Hospital.
The Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum Committee was an outgrowth of the Osler Memorial Committee, which was responsible for the establishment of the museum. After the museum's opening in June 1940, the Osler Memorial Committee was discharged, and the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum Committee was appointed. The new committee consisted of the same members as the Osler Memorial Committee and was chaired by Robert J. Hunter.
In 1955, the committee's name was changed to the Committee on Memorials. This committee remained in existence until 1977, when the Philadelphia General Hospital and the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum were closed.
This collection consists of items, dating from 1730 to 1960, from the museum collection of the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum of the Philadelphia General Hospital. Present are letters, invitations, programs, reprints, photographs, a diary, and miscellaneous material relating to the history of the Philadelphia General Hospital. Also included are the papers of individuals who were important to the history of the hospital, including Daniel J. McCarthy, Arthur A. Stevens, and Sir William Osler. Most of the material was collected by Robert J. Hunter, Chairman of the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum Committee.
The collection, which is arranged alphabetically, includes Robert J. Hunter's correspondence as chairman of the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum Committee; these letters deal with the opening of the museum, the dedication program, the solicitation of museum items, and the general administration of the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum.
Also present in the collection are the papers of Daniel J. McCarthy (1874-1958), an intern and visiting neurosurgeon at Philadelphia General Hospital. This material, ranging in date from 1917 to 1919, documents McCarthy's participation in the Red Cross Mission to Russia. Included is McCarthy's correspondence with Lieutenant Colonel Frank Billings (1854-1932), who was chairman of the project. Also present are special orders, McCarthy's diary, and a notebook containing his sketches and notes.
The collection also contains papers of Sir William Osler (1849-1919). Present are photographs of Osler's case notes, some of which were taken when he discovered the parasite which causes malaria. The collection also includes eight Osler letters. Several of these letters were written to David Riesman (1867-1940), including Osler's letter of 13 April 1905 in which he recommends the creation of a new medical society. Another letter in the collection, written to John Welsh Croskey (26 December 1918), includes Osler's reminiscences about his experiences at Philadelphia General Hospital. Included among the Osler material is a photograph, circa 1886, of Osler with several physicians in the autopsy room at Philadelphia General Hospital.
The papers of Arthur A. Stevens (1865-1944) are also present in the collection. Included is his medical degree certificate from the University of Pennsylvania, a program for a dinner held in his honor, letters congratulating him on the publication of his book, The Practice of Medicine, 1922, and a letter appointing him honorary consulting physician at Philadelphia General Hospital.
Other individuals represented in the collection include John L. Bower (1865-1955), W. A. Newman Dorland (1864-1956), William H. H. Githens (1840-1923), and Thomas S. Roberts (1858-1946), all of whom were former residents of the Philadelphia General Hospital.
In addition to the papers of individuals, the collection contains some interesting miscellaneous material, including the program, script, and song lyrics to "Osler Slept Here", a musical comedy performed by the Blockley Medical Society in 1950. Also present is a photograph album, circa 1896 to 1898, containing scenes of the Philadelphia General Hospital.
The museum collection of the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum consists of three different accessions: Acc. 1992-036-05, Acc. 1989-113, and Acc. 1991-055. Acc. 1992-036-05 and Acc. 1991-055 are on permanent loan from the Philadelphia City Archives. Acc. 1992-036-05 was received by the Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia on 18 January 1978; Acc. 1992-055 was received on 8 May 1991. Acc. 1989-113, which consists of items with Mutter Museum accession numbers 2044.41, 2045.2, and 2045.6, was transferred from the Mutter Museum to the Historical Collections of the Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia on 4 December 1989.
The collection was processed and cataloged in 1992.
The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
- Bower, John L., (John Lincoln), 1865-1955
- Dorland, W.A. Newman, (William Alexander Newman), 1864-1956
- Githens, William H.H., (William Henry Harrison), 1840-1923
- Hunter, Robert J., (Robert John), 1882-1980
- McCarthy, Daniel J., (Daniel Joseph), 1874-1958
- Osler, William, Sir, 1849-1919
- Roberts, Thomas S., (Thomas Sadler), 1858-1946
- Stevens, Arthur A., (Arthur Albert), b. 1865
- Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.