Manuscripts and Archives of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia


Manuscripts and Archives of the Historical Medical Library

This site provides access to finding aids for manuscript and archival collections held by the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Please enter a search term below:

New to archival research? Here is some useful vocabulary to remember:

"Collections" are 1) a group of materials with some unifying characteristic; and 2) materials assembled by a person, organization, or repository from a variety of sources.

Collections are organized into "series", and sometimes "sub-series". Series and sub-series are often ordered by subject (e.g. "Administration" or "Medical institutions"); form (e.g. "Correspondence" or "Photographs"); or date. Organizing collections into series and sub-series makes the materials easier to search through and find relevant items.

Series and sub-series contain folders and the folders contain items. Some very detailed finding aids will list all the items in a collection (archivists refer to this as item-level) instead of the folders (archivists refer to this as folder-level).

A finding aid is a detailed catalog record of a manuscript/archival collection and will include the manuscript call number; dates; subject headings; notes; and a container list (inventory), which will list the series, sub-series, and folders, and the box numbers they are located in.

Some tips for searching our finding aids:

  1. When searching using phrases or names, be sure to put the phrase or name in double quotes ("anatomy acts" or "Silas Weir Mitchell").
  2. Searches will return collection-level, series-level, and folder- or item-level results, which can be filtered on the left-hand side of the page.
  3. If selecting a folder-level or series-level item, the system will not display the necessary collection information (manuscript number, date, etc) Library staff need to pull the correct materials. Here's how to find the relevant information:
    • First, mark down the box number (labelled as "Container 1 Indicator").
    • Then, mark down the folder number (labelled as "Container 2 Indicator").

There are breadcrumb links on folder- and series-level records, located just under the main navigation tab, which lead you to the beginning (main body) of the finding aid. Click the second link (NOT the first one, called "CPP"), and the title and manuscript number of the collection will be at the top of the page. (Note: The "Identifier" is the manuscript number.)

We are working on making this finding aid catalog more user-friendly! Please let us know if you have any issues or suggestions when making your research appointment.