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Bradford collection of biographies of Homoeopathic Physicians


Held at: Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center. 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

Dr. Thomas Lindsley Bradford was born on January 6, 1847 in Francestown, New Hampshire, to Thomas Bixby Bradford and Emily Hutchinson Brown, daughter of the Honorable Titus Brown who served as congressman from 1824 to 1825. Bradford is a descendant of Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. Bradford’s interest in medicine and homeopathy began as a child when his life was saved by a homeopathic doctor. He attended Harvard Medical School from 1866 to 1867. He also attended the Homeopathic College of Pennsylvania, from which he earned his degree in 1869. He specialized in the treatment of pediatric diseases. He practiced medicine in Skowhegan, Maine for approximately three years before traveling “abroad to Europe to study homeopathy at various hospitals,” ( He returned to Maine and renewed his practice at Skowhegan, until 1877 when he moved to Philadelphia where he became the first resident physician at the Children's Homeopathic Hospital, which was newly founded by the Hahnemann Club. He worked there from 1877 to 1878 when he opened his own private dispensary. Bradford married Eliza Virginia Hough on June 15, 1887.

In addition to practicing homeopathy in Philadelphia, Dr. Bradford was the curator of the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia library from 1894 until his death in 1918. During his tenure as curator, Dr. Bradford “established the collection known as Bradford’s Scrapbook,” (Winston, p. 120), which consists of thirty-five volumes of letters, photos, essays and ephemera relating to homeopathic physicians. Dr. Bradford expressed his devotion to the biography project with the following inscription which appears on the title page of the first volume; “Biographies of Homoeopathic Physicians: Collected and arranged in twenty years and now given present form, to the Library of Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia by Thomas Lindsley Bradford, M.D., For Many Years its Librarian. These books are not to be taken from the Library Reading Room, and are to be kept under lock and key. Excerpts may be made from them by any responsible person. It is hoped that they may never be mutilated by literary vandals. They represent much labor, but it has been a labor of love. -Philadelphia, 1916.” From 1895 to 1900, Dr. Bradford lectured on the history of medicine at the Hahnemann Medical College as a faculty member.

A prolific writer, Dr. Bradford authored the Homeopathic Bibliography of the United States, 1892; Life and Letters of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, 1895; The Pioneers of Homeopathy, 1898; the Logic of Figures, 1900; and the Index to Homeopathic Provings, 1901; as well as articles for the four volume History of Homeopathy by William Harvey King, MD, LLD (1861-1942). He also authored the Autobiography of a Baby, 1903 which is regarded as a "literary gem" (Hahnemann Institute).

Dr. Bradford died December 13, 1918. During his medical career, he “was considered a capable and conscientious homeopathic practitioner … steadfast in his adherence to Hahnemannian principles and strongly critical of other medicinal approaches,” (


"Prominent Homoeopaths: Thomas Lindsley Bradford." The Hahnemann Institute (January 1896), p 5-7.

“Thomas Lindsley Bradford (1847-1918).” Whole Health Now. (accessed September 29, 2009).

Winston, Julian. 1999. The faces of homœopathy: an illustrated history of the first 200 years. Tawa, N.Z.: Great Auk Pub.

The Bradford collection is comprised of 35 volumes, containing alphabetically arranged biographical information of homeopathic physicians. The scrapbook entries are well organized and although Bradford states that the collection was developed over twenty years (1896-1916), the entries include materials from 1868 to 1918. The collection contains valuable information related to the institutional history of the college, biographies of prominent homeopathic doctors, and the history of homeopathy and medicine.

Most, if not all, entries contain the following information: date of birth, place of birth, date of graduation, present address, place of practice, start date of homoeopathic practice and marriage information. Entries may include photographs, letters, announcements and invitations, magazine articles, newspaper clippings and obituaries. Correspondence is also frequently included in the entries. It is generally addressed to Bradford, either responding to an inquiry or requesting information regarding a particular physician. The correspondence is not necessarily filed by sender or recipient, instead it appears in the biographic entry for the doctor that the letter is about. Several letters are addressed to Dr. Henry M. Smith (1835-1901), who was well-known for his compilations of statistical information about homeopathy, homeopathic doctors and medicine. Smith published the first directory of homeopathic physicians, The American Homeopathic Review (1858-1866).

Smith and Bradford appear to have shared biographic information with one another. For example, in 1869 and 1870 many homeopathic physicians completed a survey questionnaire that was produced by Smith, the results of which appear throughout the scrapbooks, filed alphabetically by the responding physician. There is also a letter from Smith to Bradford thanking him for information and stating that he was impressed with how well it was organized.

Many biographical entries are quite extensive. Notable biographies include: H.C. Allen, Alexander Black, Thomas Nichol, Julia Holmes Smith, Amos R. Thomas, as well as entries for Henry M. Smith and Thomas Lindsley Bradford.

The final volume in the collection contains the results of an alumni survey, which was created and administered by Dr. Bradford in 1916. The volume consists of alphabetically arranged questionnaire response sheets. Only the first volume, A-G, is in the collection. Volumes containing H-Z are not present. In 1918, this work was published as, Biographical index of the graduates of the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hospital of Philadelphia: including a history of the college and hospital; a list of all the graduates arranged by years of graduation; also a list of the graduates who are now in the medical military services of the United States. According to WorldCat, copies of the published work are available at the Drexel University Health Science Library, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Jefferson University.

The processing of 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.

This collection was minimally processed in 2009-2011, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.

Employing processing 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, the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages, in 23 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 2-3 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections, replace acidic folders or complete any preservation work.

Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Laurie Rizzo
Finding Aid Date
October 21, 2009
The processing of 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 Drexel University College of Medicine, Legacy Center: Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine and Homeopathy with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Collection Inventory

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Box 35
Alumni Biographical Data, A-G, 1916-1917.
Box 36

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