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