Marion Turner Stubbs collection
Held at: Temple University Libraries Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection [Contact Us]1330 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA, 19122
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Temple University Libraries Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection. 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. John Patrick Turner was born November 1, 1885. He became a prominent and influential member of Philadelphia society, elected in 1935 as the first African American on the Philadelphia Board of Education, as well as achieving status as a respected physician and police surgeon. He obtained his medical degree at Shaw University, and later received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Shaw. He also took a graduate course in surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. From 1912 to 1931 he served as medical inspector for the Philadelphia public schools. He was also chief surgeon of Frederick Douglass Hospital beginning in 1935, surgeon-emeritus at Mercy Douglass Hospital, and visiting surgeon at Wynnefield Hospital. He served as president of the National Medical Association in 1921 and remained active in the organization throughout his life. He was also very active with community organizations like the YMCA in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Council of Boy Scouts. He died on September 14, 1958.
Dr. Frederick Douglass Stubbs was recognized as an extremely gifted chest surgeon and medical doctor. Dr. Stubbs was born in 1906 in Wilmington, Delaware, and attended Dartmouth University before graduating from Harvard University medical school. He became chief of the surgical departments at Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Mercy Hospital. He spent a year in residency in thoracic surgery at Sea View Hospital, which specialized in the treatment of tuberculosis, from 1937 to 1938. He was also acting chief surgeon of the Philadelphia General Hospital thoracic department. Dr. Stubbs was extremely active in the medical community as a member of organizations such as the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Board of Surgeons, as well as local organizations such as the Philadelphia Medical Society, Alpha Phi Alpha, Sigma Pi Phi, Alpha Boule Chapter, Pyramid Club, and the Community Chest. He died from a heart attack at the age of 41 in 1947.
Marion Turner Stubbs Thomas, born in 1910, was a founding member of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1938. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1930, attended the Sorbonne, and then received a music degree from Zeckwer Hahn Conservatory of Music. She was the daughter of Dr. John Patrick Turner and Mrs. Marion Turner, and married Dr. Frederick Douglass Stubbs on June 7, 1934. Together they had two daughters, Marion Patricia and Frederica Turner. She was a well-regarded concert pianist in the area, and also taught piano in Bordentown, NJ, both publicly and privately. After Dr. Stubbs passed away, she married Dr. Alfred Thomas of Detroit, with whom she had one daughter, Linda Thomas. In her later years, she worked as an equal employment opportunity counselor for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She passed away in 1994.
The Marion Turner Stubbs collection houses the personal records of Marion Turner Stubbs, her father, John Patrick Turner, MD, and her husband, Frederick Douglass Stubbs, MD. This collection dates from 1906 to 1995, with bulk dates from 1928 to 1958. The collection consists of awards and certificates, journal article reprints (especially regarding tuberculosis and thoracic surgery), pamphlets, catalogs, correspondence, photographs, and family financial records. Although these records do not tell much about the lives of the family members, the medical research papers collected by Dr. Frederick Douglass Stubbs provide a snapshot of medicine in the 1930s, with a glimpse of the impact of the end of prohibition and the introduction of the New Deal, especially regarding the socialization of medicine. The collection also gives some insight into medical challenges and interests during the 1930s, particularly concerning tuberculosis treatment, as well as what Dr. Stubbs termed “Negro health” and other racial issues in Philadelphia and the medical community.
The collection is arranged into three series: “I. Frederick Douglass Stubbs, 1906-1989,” “II. John Patrick Turner, 1907-1964,” and “III. Marion Turner Stubbs, 1968-1995.”
The “I. Frederick Douglass Stubbs” series includes medical subject files, research, and correspondence that Dr. Stubbs collected during his medical career, some of his awards and certificates, family financial records, and some personal correspondence. This series is divided into three subseries: “Ia. Research and subject files,” “Ib. Awards and certificates,” and “Ic. Personal and financial records.”
The “Ia. Research and subject files” subseries dates from 1919 to 1947, with bulk dates from 1928 to 1942. Records include medical journal articles and reprints, pamphlets, correspondence, catalogs, clippings, and programs collected throughout Dr. Stubbs’s career. Much of this research centers on the treatment of tuberculosis and thoracic surgery, especially regarding surgical and therapeutic treatments, convalescents, children, and drug trials, and will be of particular note to researchers interested in tuberculosis during the 1930s. There is also general information about organs, the digestive system, medical records and forms from Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital, as well as records from medical associations and community groups such as “The Bureau for Colored Children” and the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA). Also included is research and clippings evidencing the status of African Americans in the medical community and race-specific health research. The correspondence at the end of the series provides information on other doctors in the field, such as Dr. Lawrence F. Flick, who also seems to have treated tuberculosis. Researchers will find this subseries useful in providing a glimpse into medicine in the 1930s, particularly in relation to tuberculosis, the socialization of medicine, and interest in the medical effects of alcohol at the end of the prohibition era. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by subject, and then chronologically, with a run of general medical files and correspondence included at the end of the subseries.
The “Ib. Awards and certificates” subseries dates from 1931 to 1989, with bulk dates of 1931 to 1944. This subseries includes framed certificates and awards presented to Dr. Frederick Douglass Stubbs. These include awards from the Army National Board of Medical Examiners and the City Hospital of Cleveland, Ohio. These awards help to track some of Dr. Stubbs’s achievements and associations to which he belonged. This subseries is arranged chronologically.
The “Ic. Personal and financial records” subseries dates from 1906 to 1943, with bulk dates from 1938 to 1943. Included here are insurance documents, bank statements, estate planning, mortgage information, invoices, maternity records, and personal correspondence, mostly with other doctors. There is a section of records detailing planned home renovations, invoices and estimates for ongoing work, and product catalogs with information on appliances. Among the financial records is a semi-preserved squirrel’s tail. Researchers may find some of these records interesting, particularly those interested in appliances and product catalogs of the late 1930s. The personal correspondence could provide some information on the medical community in the Philadelphia region with which Dr. Stubbs worked or consulted. This subseries is arranged according to strength of representation, with a run of correspondence and photographs included at the end of the series.
The “II. John Patrick Turner” series dates from 1907 to 1964, with bulk dates from 1934 to 1958. This series includes framed certificates and awards presented to Dr. Turner for his various accomplishments in the medical field and community, as well as in the military. These may be of significance to researchers interested in visual evidence of Dr. Turner’s accolades. This series is arranged chronologically.
The “III. Marion Turner Stubbs” series dates from 1968 to 1995. This series includes framed certificates and awards presented to Mrs. Stubbs for her work, specifically as a founder of Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated. Researchers looking to find basic information about some of her activities with Jack and Jill of America may be interested in looking at these awards. This series is arranged chronologically.
This collection is unique in that it illustrates how the practice of medicine can change based on current societal values and challenges. Prohibition had come to an end, changing perspectives on alcohol and its effects on the body. In spite of racial discrimination, African Americans made major contributions to the field of medicine, which much of Dr. Stubb’s research materials reflect. Researchers interested in tuberculosis treatment, thoracic surgery, the role of African Americans in early to mid-20th century medicine, and other medical practices in the 1930s will find the research and subject files of Dr. Stubbs useful. Unfortunately, there is little useful information on Marion Turner Stubbs or John Patrick Turner; the personal files mostly contain financial records and some home renovation information, and the awards provide only the most basic details regarding some of their accomplishments.
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 2013-2014, 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 16 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 4 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 or complete any preservation work.
- Temple University Libraries Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Annalise Berdini and Steven Duckworth.
- Finding Aid Date
- 2014 January 30
- The creation of the electronic guide for 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 Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.