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William Benson Harer Papers


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center [Contact Us]3401 Market Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records 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. William Benson Harer (1896-1968) dedicated a lifetime to the practice and teaching of medicine in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, most of which was done while he served on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. An undergraduate degree (1919) and a medical degree (1921) was just the start of Dr. Harer's association with the University, an association that would eventually span more than four decades. Dr. Harer served both his internship (1921-1923) and residency (1924-1927) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Dr. Harer was on the School of Medicine faculty as an instructor 1927-41 and later as Associate Professor (1941-1955) and Professor (1955-1963) of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was honored as an Emeritus Professor of Medicine in 1965.

Dr. Harer also held a number of positions in his field outside of the University. At various points in time, he served as president of the Delaware County Medical Society, the Medical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Delaware County Unit of the American Cancer Society. He was the chief gynecologist and obstetrician both the Fitzgerald-Mercy Hospital in Darby, Pennsylvania, and St. Agnes Hospital in Philadelphia. He was also the founder and chairman of the board of the Community Y.M.C.A. of Delaware County. In 1963 he became the Director of Medical Affairs of the Blue Cross Association Hospital Service of Philadelphia. Dr. Harer's function in this role was to show hospitals and doctors how to cut waste and abuse of Blue Cross benefits.

William Benson Harer was born on October 27, 1896 in Upper Darby Pennsylvania and died October 11, 1968 in Darby (Borough), Pennsylvania. His spouse was Letitia Burke with whom he had two children, son William Benson Jr., who was also a University of Pennsylvania alumnus (M-1956), and a daughter, Marian Elle.

The William Benson Harer Papers document his career as a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania, his involvement with the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, and his time as a student at the University of Pennsylvania. The material that dates to when Dr. Harer was a student is nominal, therefore it does not provide a comprehensive view of this particular part of his life. There is substantially more material from when Harer was a professor. This material consists of lecture notes, course handouts, and lantern slides of charts that Dr. Harer used during his lectures. The other significant amount of material is correspondence between Harer and the Medical Society of Pennsylvania. This material mostly pertains to approval of new members, appointments of members to various committees, and other day to day minutiae of the business of the Society.

The materials in this collection have been arranged chronologically. A date for some material could not be determined and that material is after the chronologically arranged materials. There are also two boxes of lantern slides for which dates could not be determined.

The collection was donated to the University Archives by Marilyn Fetterman in May 1991.

University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center
Finding Aid Author
Timothy H. Horning
Finding Aid Date
July 2012
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Collection Inventory

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Student handbook, 1915.
Box 1 Folder 1
Practical Physiology, 1918 (1).
Box 1 Folder 2
Practical Physiology, 1918 (2).
Box 1 Folder 3
Medical School,1921-1923.
Box 1 Folder 4
Personal note re: returned book, 1933.
Box 1 Folder 5
Lecture notes - Obstetrics, 1941.
Box 1 Folder 6
Copyright information - Manual of Operative Obstetrics, 1946.
Box 1 Folder 7
Promotion letters - Associate Professor, 1950.
Box 1 Folder 8
Questionnaire from F.L. Payne, 1951.
Box 1 Folder 9
Biographical sketches, 1953.
Box 1 Folder 10
Article - Principles in Vaginal Delivery, 1954.
Box 1 Folder 11
Article - Chloropromazine in Normal Life, 1956.
Box 1 Folder 13
Medical Society of Pennsylvania - Second Councilor District Meeting, 1956.
Box 1 Folder 14
Course handouts, 1956 (1).
Box 1 Folder 15
Course handouts, 1956 (2).
Box 1 Folder 16
Course handouts, 1957.
Box 1 Folder 17
Medical Society of Pennsylvania correspondence.
Luncheon address - "Fees: Bone of Contention, Bane of Existence," 1963.
Box 1 Folder 25
Lantern slides, n.d.
Box 1 Folder 26
Lantern slides, n.d.
Box 1 Folder 27
Miscellaneous, n.d. (1).
Box 1 Folder 28
Miscellaneous, n.d. (2).
Box 1 Folder 29
Miscellaneous, n.d. (3).
Box 1 Folder 30
Miscellaneous, n.d. (4).
Box 1 Folder 31
Miscellaneous, n.d. (5).
Box 1 Folder 32
Osteological drawings, n.d.
Box 1 Folder 34

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