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Daniel Joseph McCarthy Papers


Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]

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

Daniel Joseph McCarthy was born in Philadelphia, PA on June 22nd, 1874. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a medical degree in 1895. After graduating, he spent a year assisting S. Weir Mitchell at the Orthopedic Hospital in Philadelphia, and then traveled to Western Europe to further his medical studies.

Upon returning to the United States, McCarthy developed an interest in tuberculosis treatment, sparked by his work at the William Pepper Laboratory in Philadelphia. This eventually lead to McCarthy’s appointment as representative to the 1899 International Congress of Tuberculosis in Berlin, German. Beyond tuberculosis, McCarthy also expanded his medical practice to neurology, gaining international recognition in that field. The other focus of his career was medicine in the law, serving as Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Pennsylvania for 35 years.

During the First World War McCarthy served in several capacities for the allied forces. In 1916 he served the American Hospital in Neuilly, France, and then traveled to Germany to investigate the conditions of allied prisoners held in that country. In 1917, McCarthy examined the conditions of Russia during their revolution before returning to France to continue his treatment of wounded allied soldiers.

One of the primary legacies of McCarthy’s career was his role in forming medical foundations meeting critical needs, both in the academy and at broader societal level. He established the McCarthy-Kirby Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania, the McCarthy Research Foundation at Temple University, and the McCarthy-Dobbs Foundation at Jefferson Hospital. He also founded the Philadelphia Institute for the Study of Mental and Nervous Diseases. In the public sphere, McCarthy founded the Mental Hygiene Committee of Pennsylvania in the 1920s, and also collaborated with Judge Charles L. Brown to reform the Medical Department of the Municipal Court in Philadelphia. Furthering this commitment to the public’s mental health, McCarthy founded both the Roseneath Farms Sanitarium as well as the Fairmount Farms Sanitarium in Philadelphia.

Daniel Joseph McCarthy married Elizabeth White, and had a son, Daniel Joseph McCarthy Jr. He passed on October 9th, 1958.

The Daniel Joseph McCarthy Papers document portions of McCarthy’s medical career, particularly his writings and addresses on psychiatry and medical jurisprudence. The collection contains three series: “Writings and Addresses,” “Subject Files,” and “Correspondence” arranged by the amount of material in each series. The collection’s date range is 1902, 1921 to 1933, and undated. Researchers interested in the medical career of Daniel Joseph McCarthy, or in early-twentieth century medical jurisprudence and psychiatry practice will find relevant material in this collection.

The “Writings and Addresses” series contains writings and addresses on a range of psychiatric and legal issues, written mostly by McCarthy. The series contains two subseries: “By Daniel Joseph McCarthy” and “By Others,” arranged by the amount of material in each subseries. The series dates from 1921 to 1933, and undated. The “By Daniel Joseph McCarthy” subseries contains writings and addresses from McCarthy’s career, covering topics such as depression psychosis, psycho-neurotic reactions to war, dementia praecox, functional neurosis, morphine addiction, and legal responsibilities in medicine. This is the largest group of records in the collection. The subseries also includes manuscript notes and newspaper articles written by McCarthy. In several instances McCarthy wrote essays and delivered speeches on the same topic, therefore folders in this subseries are not separated by their format. Instead, folders are arranged alphabetically by title and subject regardless as to whether they were intended as a speech or essay. The majority of folders are labeled according to McCarthy’s original title, however some were left untitled. In these instances the folders were labeled by the writing’s subject if it could be easily identified. A few folders could not be identified, in which case they were placed at the end of the subseries and labeled “unidentified.” The subseries dates from 1921 to 1933, and undated.

The “By Others” subseries contains three writings by other authors. The subseries includes an article from Collier’s Magazine, titled "Happiness, Like Health, is for Everybody," where the authors reference the work of Daniel Joseph McCarthy. There is also a folder containing several newspaper articles with references to McCarthy, particularly his theory on the process of aging. The folders are arranged alphabetically, and date from 1924 to 1925, 1929 to 1930, and undated.

The “Subject Files” series contains four folders of patient information and meeting notes. Included is a list of one hundred patients seen by McCarthy, as well as some notes from a Neurological Society meeting. The final folder contains “Miscellaneous notes,” which were found in the collection without information on their context. The folders are arranged alphabetically, with miscellaneous notes appearing at the end of the series. The series in undated.

The “Correspondence” series contains three folders of letters exchanged between Daniel Joseph McCarthy and others. One folder contains letters of “Professional matters,” largely regarding requests to participate in professional events or review medical literature. The other folder of interest includes several letters sent to McCarthy reacting to his article on aging in 1929. The folders are arranged alphabetically and date from 1902, 1923, 1926, 1929, 1932, and undated.

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Forrest Wright

Collection Inventory

Brain power studies, article for "Scope" magazine, 1930.
Box 1 Folder 1
"Coordination of Social Service and Medicine in Child Guidance", undated.
Box 1 Folder 2
"Dementia Praecox and the Adolescent Pyschoses from the Organic Visceral Viewpoint as Regards Prognoses and Therapy" read at the 77th Annual Meeting of American Psychiatric Association, 1921 June.
Box 1 Folder 3
"The Effects of Alcohol on the Central Nervous System", undated.
Box 1 Folder 4
"The Elimination of Operative and Post Operative Risk of Mental and Nervous Accidents" read at the Second Annual Meeting of the Southern Association of Anesthetists, 1923, 1925.
Box 1 Folder 5
"Fifty Years of the Blockley", 1932 December 12.
Box 1 Folder 6
"The Foundations of the Functional Neuroses" printed in the Pennsylvania, 1929 January, 1929 October.
Box 1 Folder 7
"The Health as an Asset of Life," address to Drexel Institute, 1924 November 9.
Box 1 Folder 8
"Humility," printed in "Scope" Magazine, undated.
Box 1 Folder 9
"The Influence of Focal Infections," read before annual meeting of American Medical Association in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1925 June 28, undated.
Box 1 Folder 10
"Is the Art of the Practice of Medicine and Surgery Keeping Pace with the Advance in the Science of the Profession?" read before College of Physicians, 1924 April 2.
Box 1 Folder 11
"List of More Recent Articles Written", 1925 August 10.
Box 1 Folder 12
Manuscript notes, 1928.
Box 1 Folder 13
"Medical Jurisprudence", undated.
Box 1 Folder 14
"The Mental Disorders of the Threshold Period of Adult Life", undated.
Box 1 Folder 15
Mental illness legislation essay, 1925 April 5.
Box 1 Folder 16
Migraines and headache essays, undated.
Box 1 Folder 17
"Modern Conceptions of Youth", undated.
Box 1 Folder 18
"The Morphine Habit: Some Observations on Prevention and Treatment", 1925 April 8.
Box 1 Folder 19
"Mother's Pensions" submitted to Mother's Assistance Fund, 1927 February 12.
Box 1 Folder 20
Nervous disease writings (assorted), undated.
Box 1 Folder 21
"Nervous Diseases: As Originating in Certain Periods of Life," read to County Medical Society, 1928 December 22.
Box 1 Folder 22
"Neurological Treatment of Acute Poliomyitis," with correspondence regarding subject of Acute Poliomyitis, circa 1935.
Box 1 Folder 23
Newspaper articles, 1927-1932.
Box 1 Folder 24
"Notes on Water Metabolism and Balance", undated.
Box 1 Folder 25
Nurses of Pennsylvania Hospital address, 1928 May 11.
Box 1 Folder 26
Obituary of Horace L. Corncross, printed in Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1928 August.
Box 1 Folder 27
"The Organic Basis of the Psychosis," printed in the Medical Society of Delaware journal, 1922 October 10.
Box 1 Folder 28
"Personality" radio address for Mental Hygiene Division, 1925 May 26, undated.
Box 1 Folder 29
"Phases of the Mental Hygiene Movement," printed in "Medical Searchlight", 1925 January 28, 1927 February 1.
Box 1 Folder 30
"Physical Factors of the Psychoneurosis", undated.
Box 1 Folder 31
"Post-Operative Insanities," abstract and essay, with pamphlet from annual meeting of the Regional Society of Associated Anesthetics referencing article, 1925 October, undated.
Box 1 Folder 32
"Psycho-Neurotic Reactions Following War Experiences", undated.
Box 1 Folder 33
Reflection essay, undated.
Box 1 Folder 34
"The Relation of Neurology to Internal Medicine", undated.
Box 1 Folder 35
"The Relation of Physical Diseases to Nervous Conditions", 1926.
Box 1 Folder 36
"The Relation or Connection of the Woolen Undershirt for Women to the Overfulness of our Insane Asylum," read before the Federation of Women's Clubs, 1924 October 15.
Box 2 Folder 1
"Responsibility in the Law" printed in the Weekly Roster and Medical Digest, 1928 November 24.
Box 2 Folder 2
Review: "Courts and Doctors" by Lloyd Paul Stryker, undated.
Box 2 Folder 3
"Review of Work of 1924": Address to Pennsylvania State Board of Charities, 1924 October 18.
Box 2 Folder 4
"Selfconsciousness" radio address, 1926 December 27.
Box 2 Folder 5
"Social Service and Efficiency", undated.
Box 2 Folder 6
"The Spino-Adductor Reflex" printed in the Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, 1929 June.
Box 2 Folder 7
St. Agnes address, 1925 April 13.
Box 2 Folder 8
Syphilis Treatment essay, 1926 June 21.
Box 2 Folder 9
"Values" printed in "Scope" Magazine, 1927 February.
Box 2 Folder 10
"What the Physician Desires of a Private Duty Nurse", undated.
Box 2 Folder 11
Untitled essay on nervous system health in America, undated.
Box 2 Folder 12-16
"Happiness, Like Health, is for Everybody," article in Collier's, with reference to Daniel Joseph McCarthy, 1925 August 8.
Box 2 Folder 16
Newspaper clippings regarding Daniel Joseph McCarthy, 1929, 1930, undated.
Box 2 Folder 17
"The Reproductive Power of Rats" printed in Medical News, after 1924.
Box 2 Folder 18

List of 100 patients, undated.
Box 2 Folder 19
Neurological Society meeting discussions, undated.
Box 2 Folder 20
Patient notes (various), undated.
Box 2 Folder 21
Miscellaneous notes, undated.
Box 2 Folder 22

Biblical quotes (unidentified sender), undated.
Box 2 Folder 23
Professional matters, 1902, 1923, 1926, 1929, 1932.
Box 2 Folder 24
Reaction to Daniel Joseph McCarthy's article on aging, 1929 May-1929 June, undated.
Box 2 Folder 25

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