Truman G. Schnabel, Jr., Papers
Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]19 S. 22nd Street, 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
Truman G. "Nipper" Schnabel, Jr., received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). He completed his internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital before doing a fellowship in cardiology at Penn. He also served in the military.
Schnabel spent more than 50 years as a member of the medical faculty at Penn, practicing at Philadelphia General Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He later served as Director of the University's Institute on Aging. He also established the school's first cardiac catheterization unit and co-authored a book for patients. Schnabel passed away on March 10, 2009, at the age of 90.
Schnabel was born to Truman Gross Schnabel, Sr., and Hildegard (nee Rohner) Schnabel on January 5, 1919 in Philadelphia, PA. He was a graduate of William Penn Charter School and went on to continue his education at Bowdoin College for one year, and then transferred to Yale University's Sheffield Scientific School to complete his bachelor of science. Like his father before him, Schnabel finished his education at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, receiving a M.D. Schnabel then worked an intern at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. During this time, he served as an Army captain in World War II as a part of the Tenth Mountain Division, Italy, and the Twelfth Infantry Division in the Philippines. Other than a year-long medical residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a year-long sabbatical in Sweden at St. Erik's Hospital, Schnabel spent his entire career at Penn.
At Penn, Schnabel worked in different departments, such as the Department of Physiology, where he helped develop the technique of cardiac catheterization; and the Cardiology Division, where he was a Markle Scholar and a Fellow of the American Heart Association. He also established the first clinical cardiac catheterization program at Penn. He served as the Chief of Medicine at the Philadelphia General Hospital and, upon the closure of the hospital, Vice Chair of Medicine at Penn's Department of Medicine and Chief of Medical Service at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Hospital. Schnabel's other positions included Director of the American Board of Family Practice, Secretary and Treasurer of the American Board of Internal Medicine, the President of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, and the 50th President of the American College of Physicians.
He is well-known for his work in geriatric medicine, which lead to the establishment of the William Maul Measey-Truman G. Schnabel, Jr., Chair in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at Penn. Schnabel received numerous honors, such as the American College of Physicians' Alfred E. Stengel Memorial Award, the title of President Emeritus at the American College of Physicians, a membership in the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine's National Alumni Council, the Edward S. Scooper, M.D., Award by the American Heart Association, and was named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.
Outside of work, Schnabel was very physically active. He was a varsity tennis player and captain in high school, and played junior varsity football at Yale, where he was coached by future President Gerald Ford. As an adult he remained active in tennis but also was a runner, and completed the Boston Marathon in around 5 hours at the age of 69. Schnabel later published a paper and spoke about marathon running. He was married for 60 years to his wife, Mary, and had four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
The Truman G. Schnabel, Jr., Papers date from 1908 to 2007 and represent Schnabel's career at Philadelphia General Hospital and in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Medicine, as well as the numerous professional medical organizations in which he was involved. The collection is divided into eight series: Boards, Committees, and Groups; Correspondence; Foundations; Lectures, Speeches, and Talks; Personal Files; Philadelphia General Hospital; Published Articles; and Truman G. Schnabel, Sr.
Series I: Boards, Committees, and Groups consists of files dating from 1948 to 1987 and are related to the various boards, committees, and groups that Schnabel served on or was a part of. Series I includes the Report of the [University of Pennsylvania Curriculum] Subcommittee to Review the Clinical Curriculum and files related to the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Series II: Correspondence is arranged by decade, ranging from the 1940s until the early 2000s, with an additional folder pertaining to marathon running. The recipients included in this series are his father, Truman G. Schnabel, Sr., Senator Vance Hartke, and fellow professionals, such as David M. Worthen, M.D. and Professor Robert F. Schiling, M.D. The letters cover subjects like his appointment to president of the American College of Physicians; becoming an emeritus professor at University of Pennsylvania; award nominations; and publications he wrote, like his article "Is Medicine Still an Art?", which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in November 1983.
Series III: Foundations contains information about multiple foundations that Schnabel was a part of and spans the years 1952 through 2006. The Benjamin and Marry Siddons Measey Foundation, which allocates grants and scholarships to medical schools and organizations primarily found within Pennsylvania, is represented within this series, and materials related to their annual meetings, operations, and event programs are included. Materials from the John and Mary Markle Foundation include correspondence, files pertaining to Schnabel's appointment as a Markle Scholar, and information packets.
Series IV: Lectures, Speeches, and Talks, span the years 1959 through 1997 and covers numerous lectures, speeches, and talks given by Schnabel. As a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Schnabel gave numerous speeches pertaining to the organization and copies of those can be found in this series. The series also contains a speech entitled "Challenge of Change", a talk about the future of medicine; and remarks on a presentation given to Dr. William Middleton.
Series V: Personal Files, dating from 1937 to 2000, contains a wide range of materials, such as appointment offers, Schnabel's curriculum vitae, and multiple photographs of people and events.
Series VI: Philadelphia General Hospital holds files dating from 1908 to 1982 about the hospital's background and history, the decline and closure of the hospital, and photographs of the Old Blockley section of the hospital. The Philadelphia General Hospital, where Schnabel was the first full-time member of Penn's Medical School assigned there, was a Philadelphia hospital established in the early 1730s and closed in 1977. The closure of the hospital was personal for Schnabel as he held a position there and foresaw the closure as the hospital declined.
Series VII: Published Articles encompasses files that span from the years 1943 until 2001. Many of Schnabel's published articles were about the heart and the cardiovascular system, like his article "Cardiac Catheterization in Heart Disease". This series has articles published throughout his career, such as "Pitfalls in the Diagnosis of Bacterial Endocarditis", "Mortimer's Malady: A Baffling Disease", and memoirs of deceased colleagues and medical professionals. Researchers should note that not all of the articles were written by him, but featured him or were related to his work in some way.
Series VIII: Truman G. Schnabel, Sr., is comprised of papers related to Truman G. Schnabel, Jr.'s father, who was also a medical professional. It covers the years 1911, starting with his 1911 University of Pennsylvania Yearbook, to 1964, ending with a memoir about Martin Rehfuss. Some of the other items in this series include Schnabel, Sr.'s own published articles and his personal notes and corrections.
- American College of Physicians
- Philadelphia General Hospital
- University of Pennsylvania. Department of Medicine
- Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Carly Schanock
- Finding Aid Date
- April 2018