Arthur K. Asbury 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
Arthur K. Asbury, Van Meter Professor of Neurology Emeritus, is one of the country's most noted neurologists, recognized for his clinical and experimental studies of peripheral neuropathies, particularly those related to chronic kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, and Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Dr. Asbury was born in 1928 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Kentucky in 1951, and went on to study at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, receiving his M.D. in 1958. His postgraduate training included an internship and residency in medicine, neurology, and neuropathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a teaching fellowship at Harvard Medical School. From 1963 to 1965 he held a research and clinical fellowship in neuropathology at MGH and a research fellowship in neuropathology at Harvard Medical School.
In 1969 he was appointed Chief of the Neurology Service at the San Francisco Veteran's Administration Hospital. He had a concurrent appointment as professor of neurology and pathology and Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. AT UCSF, he served on the Curriculum Committee and the Faculty Senate Committee on Educational Policy, and taught courses in neuropathology and neurological pathophysiology.
Dr. Asbury's tenure at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine began in 1973, when he was appointed Professor of Neurology and named chair of the Department of Neurology, a post he held until 1982. The following year he was appointed as the first Van Meter Professor of Neurology. In addition to his roles as clinician, researcher, and educator, Dr. Asbury held a several major administrative posts at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In 1988 and 1989, he served as Acting Dean and Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. In 1990 he was named to a three year term as Vice Dean for Research, and in 1993 he accepted a four year term as Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs. In 2000-2001, Dr. Asbury served again as interim Dean of the School of Medicine. He was an invited lecturer or visiting professor at many universities and neurological institutes throughout the country, and he participated in external department reviews of peer institutions' neurology departments.
Dr. Asbury has published extensively, with over 200 articles, chapters, and reviews in print. He has written or edited five monographs on peripheral neuropathies, and is one of the editors of the standard reference text in neurology, Diseases of the Nervous System, the third edition of which was published in 2002. He has served on editorial boards of Annals of Neurology, Muscle and Nerve, the Journal of Neurological Sciences, and a number of other journals focused on both research and clinical aspects of neurology. He was Chief Editor of Annals of Neurology from 1984 to 1992, Series Editor of the Blue Books of Practical Neurology from 1981 to 2004, and Presiding Senior Editor of Neurology UpToDate online from 2003 to 2005.
As a leader in neurological organizations, Dr. Asbury served as Vice President of the World Federation of Neurology, which sponsors the World Congress of Neurology every four years, and is Past President of the American Neurological Association, the Association of University Professors of Neurology, and the Philadelphia Neurological Society. He is former Chair of the World Federation of Neurology Research Group on Neuromuscular Diseases and currently serves as a trustee of the Monell Chemical Senses Center. He has played a significant part in the governance and administration of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; he was elected a fellow of the College in 1974 and has been a trustee since 2002. From 2004 to 2006 he served as President of the College and in 2005-2006 he acted as interim CEO.
Dr. Asbury's scholarship has been widely recognized. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and has served on the Council of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London, by distinction. In 2004, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine established the Arthur K. Asbury Award for Outstanding Faculty Mentoring, to be awarded annually. Other honors include the Daniel Drake Medal of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, in addition to its Distinguished Graduate Award; Honorary Professor of Medical Sciences, Hebei Medical College and Hebei Province, PRC; the I.S. Ravdin Master Clinician Award of the University of Pennsylvania Health System; the Lindback Award of the University of Pennsylvania for Teaching Excellence; Lifetime Achievement Award of the World Federation of Neurology for his work in neuromuscular diseases; the Meritorious Service Award of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia; and Honorary Memberships in the American Neurological Association, the American Academy of Neurology, the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine, the Association of British Neurologists, and the European Neurological Society.
Bibliography: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Smell and Taste Center. Arthur K. Asbury curriculum vitae. Retrieved from http://www.med.upenn.edu/stc/docs/asbury_bio.pdf
Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. Speaker's biography for Arthur K. Asbury, MD FRCP. Retrieved from http://www.mscare.org/cmsc/images/pdf/Dr.Asbury_Bio.pdf
The Arthur K. Asbury papers document his career at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, his leadership in the field of neurology, and his notable contributions to the advancement of knowledge about peripheral neuropathies, neuropathology, and neuromuscular diseases. Papers related to Dr. Asbury's work as an administrator at the School of Medicine constitute the largest portion of this collection. In addition to these administrative files, the collection contains records of Dr. Asbury's involvement with a wide range of national and international neurology associations; his publication of scientific articles and textbook chapters and his role as editor of key textbooks on the nervous system and peripheral neuropathies; his work as a consultant to several major scientific advisory projects; and his roles as teacher, researcher, and clinician. The collection is divided into seven series: "Early Career," "University of Pennsylvania Administration," "Professional Associations and Consulting," "Publications," "Teaching," "Visual and Research Materials," and "Awards and Citations."
The "Early Career" series is a small set of materials related to Dr. Asbury's work in Boston from 1960 to 1968 and his move to San Francisco in 1969. The "University of Pennsylvania Administration" series is the largest in the collection and covers the period from 1981 to 2007, though the bulk of the series documents Dr. Asbury's work at the School of Medicine as Vice Dean of Research, 1990-1993, and Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs, 1993-1997. The "Professional Associations and Consulting" series includes files on Dr. Asbury's participation in meetings of professional neurology societies, committees, and working groups; his role as a consultant for national medical advisory programs; and his participation as an external reviewer to peer institutions' neurology programs. Materials in this series date from 1971 to 2007. The "Publications" series documents Dr. Asbury's published articles, textbook contributions, and monographs as well as his editorial duties through article and chapter drafts, correspondence, prints, and some research notes. The "Teaching" series documents Dr. Asbury's presentations at grand rounds at the University of Pennsylvania and other medical schools, and a number of visiting professorships he held between 1983 and 2003. The "Visual and Research Materials" series illustrates Dr. Asbury's methods of research and teaching, and consists of a selection of micrograph prints, negatives, and glass slides; lecture slides; and several motion picture films. The last series, "Awards and Citations," includes plaques and commemorative photographs marking Dr. Asbury's achievements in his field.
This collection was processed using a "modified minimal processing" approach. The processing largely followed the strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article, "More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections": some series, such as "Professional Associations, Consulting, and Lectures," were only minimally inspected; others, such as the "University of Pennsylvania Administration" files, were inspected more closely to identify sensitive items, but items within folders were not fully ordered. Most folders in the collection contain materials related to a subject, rather than items grouped by format. For example, researchers will find correspondence throughout the collection, not just in folders labeled "correspondence." Many folders' contents are roughly in reverse chronological order; this order has been maintained, but further sorting has not taken place.
Personnel records of Dr. Asbury's administrative staff and house staff of the School of Medicine's Department of Neurology were separated from the collection. The collection was weeded of duplicate records, publications, and photographs; travel brochures, tickets, and receipts; curricula vitae that are likely to be available from other sources; and reprints and photocopies of scientific articles and textbook chapters. The original donation included a large number of micrographic prints, glass slides, and negatives, cases of microscope slides, and sets of lecture slides. In order to illustrate Dr. Asbury's research and teaching methods, a small number of these visual and research materials were selected to be included in the collection. The remainder of these items, many of them unidentified or only identified with a case number, were separated from the collection.
- Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Jennifer Barr and Garrett Boos.
- Processing of this collection was made possible through the generous support of Dr. Arthur K. Asbury.
- Use Restrictions
The Arthur K. Asbury papers include records relating to living persons whose privacy rights must be respected. Materials such as medical records, legal records, faculty records and information, job candidate information, and letters of recommendation may be protected by law or by third-party privacy rights. Living individuals have a legally enforceable right to privacy and release of personally identifiable information contained in archival collections may give rise to liability (e.g., for defamation of character or invasion of privacy).
Please note that the Historical Medical Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is not a covered entity under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and patient-related records within this collection are open for research. However, patrons are expected to use the material in a manner that does not reveal any personally identifiable information about persons who may be living.
Prior to using the collection, patrons must sign a form acknowledging responsibility for safeguarding privacy rights of individuals mentioned in the collection and agreeing to abide by any restrictions placed on the collection. Digital photography of items in the collection is not permitted. Patrons may request photocopies of collection materials; requests for reproductions of materials containing sensitive information may be denied.
This series dates from 1960 to 1969, and documents Dr. Asbury's career in Boston following his post-graduate work there, and his move to San Francisco in 1969. Boston files include Dr. Asbury's appointments and licenses from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Beth Israel Hospital; a handwritten essay on the neurology service of MGH, from 1966; several case reports; and correspondence about a grant proposal. San Francisco files consist of correspondence related to his appointments at University of California San Francisco and the Veteran's Administration Hospital in San Francisco and the equipping of laboratory space for himself and J. Richard Baringer, who was appointed at the San Francisco Veteran's Administration Hospital at the same time.Physical Description
0.25 Linear feet
The "University Pennsylvania Administration" series is the largest in the collection. The records in this series date from 1981 to 2007, with the main focus being Dr. Asbury's terms as Vice Dean of Research, 1990-1993, and Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs, 1993-1997. Materials in this series are arranged into subseries according to the major administrative units with which Dr. Asbury worked: the School of Medicine and its basic science and clinical departments and interdisciplinary centers and institutes; the Medical Center; the University; affiliated hospitals; and outside institutions. Files in this series typically include incoming and outgoing correspondence and memoranda, committee minutes and agendas, draft and final reports and policy documents, and publications. The arrangement of the University of Pennsylvania Administration series largely follows the filing system used by Dr. Asbury's staff. Because a number of the topics documented here span more than one of these administrative units, researchers are advised to consult the box and folder list to locate files that are relevant to their areas of interest.
The "School of Medicine Administration" subseries contains materials that reflect Dr. Asbury's wide ranging involvement with the administration and operations of the School of Medicine. Major topics in this subseries include: research projects and facilities; medical education programs; conflict of interest policies and cases; University/industry relations; program and facilities planning; laboratory animal care policies; and searches for administration and faculty positions. The "School of Medicine Administration" subseries also includes files related to the Office of the Vice Dean of Research and the Office of the Dean of Faculty Affairs, including correspondence to and from Assistant and Associate Deans, work plans, and notes of Dean's meetings. A number of committees on which Dr. Asbury served are documented in this subseries, including the Conflict of Interest Standing Committee; the Communications and Human Resources Support Task Force of the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania (CPUP); the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Liaison Committee; and the PET Center Executive Committee. Other notable topics documented here include Biomedical Research Support Grants and the Small Instrumentation Program; the School of Medicine's biomedical research core facilities; the PET Center, of which Dr. Asbury served as interim director in 1990; and the University-Industry Linkage Program.
The next three subseries, "Basic Science Departments," "Clinical Departments," and "Centers and Institutes," contain alphabetical runs of files for departments of the School of Medicine and interdisciplinary research centers and institutes. Researchers should note that the names and administrative configurations of a number of departments, centers, and institutes have changed since the time period covered by this collection. Files typically include correspondence to and from department chairs, faculty members, and School of Medicine and Medical Center administrators; meeting agendas and minutes; reports and grant proposals; and occasional departmental publications. These records document program planning; faculty recruitment and searches; faculty relations; awards nominations; departmental reviews; departmental policies; space and facility planning; and grant projects. Of note are records about the formation of the Center for Bioethics and the recruitment of Arthur L. Caplan to be its head; the establishment of the Bioinformatics program in connection with the University's work on the Human Genome Project; and the establishment of the Institute of Medicine and Engineering and the recruitment of its founding director, Peter K. Davies.
The "Medical Center" subseries documents Dr. Asbury's work with the planning, administration, and management of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Dr. Asbury served on a number of committees under the umbrella of the Medical Center, including the Affiliations Committee, the Medical Center Management Committee, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Research and Development Committee, and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which produced a self-study in 1994. Major topics included in this series are strategic planning for the Medical Center, facility planning, medical education programs, research activities and policies, and industry relations. Of note is an extensive collection of correspondence with William N. Kelley, Executive Vice President of the Medical Center and Dean of the School of Medicine, under whose leadership the Medical Center was expanded into the University of Pennsylvania Health System in 1993. The letters, both incoming and outgoing, cover a very wide range of topics related to medical education and health services at the University, as well as faculty affairs and recruitment, interdisciplinary programs, and relationships with affiliate hospitals and industry. Other correspondents in this series include Gordon D. Williams, the Vice President of the Medical Center and Vice Dean of the School of Medicine, Administration; E. John Black, Vice President and Executive Director of Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania; Fred Burg, Vice Dean for Education at the Medical School; Cynthia Maurer-Sutton, Associate Executive Vice President of Venture and Industry Relations; and other administrators of the School of Medicine, the Medical Center, and the University.
Materials in the "University" subseries largely relate to research policies and procedures. Included are files of correspondence and memos from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and University Laboratory Animal Resources; correspondence with Anthony Merritt, Director of the University's Office of Research Administration and other administrators about financial, reporting, application, and conflict of interest protocols for sponsored research programs; and correspondence with Vice Provost for Research Barry Cooperman. This series also includes activity reports produced by the Office of Research Administration showing grants received by the School of Medicine's departments, centers, and institutes.
The "Affiliated Hospitals" subseries documents the relationships between the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and the School of Medicine with local hospitals with which they conducted joint projects or programs. The files contain correspondence with administrators of the affiliated hospitals; about these relationships among the University of Pennsylvania's administrators; memos and correspondence of liaison committees; drafts of institutional agreement documents; and some analyses of programs done in preparation for entering into affiliate relationships.
"Outside Institutions" is a small subseries, mainly consisting of files about foundation support of grant projects at the School of Medicine and the interdisciplinary centers and institutes, and information about National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding policies and procedures.Physical Description
15.2 Linear feet
The "Professional Associations and Consulting" series documents many of Dr. Asbury's professional activities between 1971 and 2007 that were not directly related to the administration of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. These activities include participation in national and international meetings; consulting for national medical advisory programs, neuroscience research organizations, and major studies of neurological disorders; legal consulting; and reviews of peer institutions' neurology departments. Files in this series are arranged in alphabetical order by institution or organization name. Of note in this series are files related to a set of studies of Chinese Paralytic Syndrome (also called acute motor axonal neuropathy), a variant of Guillain-Barré Syndrome, conducted between 1991 and 1999 by Dr. Asbury and several neurologists at Johns Hopkins University. The series also includes records of studies for which Dr. Asbury consulted, including the Institute of Medicine's investigations into vaccine safety and Persian Gulf Syndrome. External reviews of neurology departments in which Dr. Asbury participated include those at University of Alabama, Emory University, University of Utah, and Johns Hopkins University. Records documenting his participation in meetings, symposia, and workshops make up a large portion of this series. Organizations include the American Academy of Neurology and its Polyneuropathy Task Force, the American Neurological Association, the Guillain-Barré Syndrome Foundation International, the International Congress on Neuromuscular Diseases, the Peripheral Nerve Study Group, the World Federation of Neurology, and many others. These files typically include printed programs, correspondence about conference logistics, and notes taken by Dr. Asbury's about talks or working sessions. Although he often presented papers or taught courses at these meetings, there are very few copies of his lecture notes included in this series.Physical Description
9.5 Linear feet
The "Publications" series documents Dr. Asbury's published articles, textbook contributions, and monographs as well as his editorial duties. This series dates from 1958 to 2007 and is arranged in alphabetical order by title. The contents of the folders can vary widely from article to article. For some there are multiple drafts, a published copy in the form of a reprint, a full set of prints, notes, and correspondence relating to the article’s publication, whereas for others only a reprint or photocopy of the published article was available. Most of the series includes material related to his publications, but there is also material related to articles from his reprint collection, his role as editor for the Blue Books of Practical Neurology series, and peer and book reviews conducted by him. Although Dr. Asbury’s reprint collection was separated from the collection, any notes, correspondence, or annotated articles were saved in this series and are identified with the folder title “Notes from reprints” followed by the topic.Physical Description
3.0 Linear feet
The "Teaching" series is a small set of files documenting courses and lectures given by Dr. Asbury between 1983 and 2004. These include lectures at Penn Neurology conferences, visiting professorships and lectures given at grand rounds at the University of Pennsylvania and a number of other universities and hospitals, and two seminars at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. These files typically do not include full text of lectures, but a number of them include brief notes and bibliographies. Note that information about lectures given at professional conferences can be found in the "Professional Associations, Consulting, and Lectures" series.Physical Description
0.8 Linear feet
The "Visual and Research Materials" series consists of a selection of prints, negatives, slides, motion picture films, and microscope slides that illustrate Dr. Asbury's methods of research and teaching. Materials include sets of 3 ¼ x 4" glass and plastic slides that appear to be illustrations for lectures on topics such as sensory perineuritis, diabetic neuropathy, glue sniffing neuropathy, and Landry-Guillain-Barré-Stohl Syndrome; micrograph prints, negatives, and glass slides of specimens from a patient with giant axonal neuropathy, along with a patient history; 16mm films of patients with writing seizures, sensory ataxia, and diabetic neuropathy; and microscope slides from a patient with Guillain-Barré Syndrome.Physical Description
5.75 Linear feet
This is a small series consisting of a number of plaques and one certificate recognizing Dr. Asbury's contributions to the field of neuroscience; group photographs of past presidents of the American Neurological Association (1995-2006) and editors of Annals of Neurology (2005) and of the neurology text Diseases of the Nervous System (2002), and a press photograph of Dr. Asbury (circa 2004).Physical Description
1.0 Linear feet