The E.B. Krumbhaar papers covers Krumbhaar’s accomplishments and contributions to pathology and cardiac physiology from the early to mid-twentieth century. This collection contains Krumbhaar’s research files, administrative records related to organizations and institutions in which he was involved, correspondence, and medical writings. While the collection contains some personal material, the real strength of the collection is found in the professional records of Krumbhaar’s distinguished medical career. Particular strengths include documentation of Krumbhaar’s research on pathology, the founding of the American Association for the History of Medicine in 1930 and 1931, his service as President of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia from 1939 to 1942, his professorship of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1927 to 1942, and his translation of Arturo Castiglioni’s History of Medicine in 1941. There are ten subseries in the collection: “Biographical Material,” “American Association for the History of Medicine,” “Conferences (Pennsylvania General Hospital) ,” “Correspondence,” “Medical Institutions,” “Publications,” “Research files and notes,” “United States Army Medical Corps,” “University of Pennsylvania,” and “Writings by E.B. Krumbhaar.”
The “Biographical Material” series, dating from 1899 to the 1960s, contains material related to Krumbhaar’s early life, his career accomplishments, and his military service. Material on Krumbhaar’s early life includes correspondence dating from 1899 to 1916 and notes written by Krumbhaar about his childhood pets. Of note in this series are two biographies of Krumbhaar, one written by Samuel X Radbill in 1957 and the other written by Esmond R. Long. There are also several photographs of Krumbhaar during his service as a surgeon in World War I, and a hand-drawn map (creator unknown) for a World War I Offensive in 1916.
Krumbhaar was a founding member of the American Association for the History of Medicine and his records related to this organization date from 1930 to 1961. The “American Association for the History of Medicine” series includes administrative records as well as correspondence, some of which discusses articles Krumbhaar submitted to the organization’s publication, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine.
The “Conferences” series contains the records of Krumbhaar’s participation in medical conferences on behalf of the Pennsylvania General Hospital (PGH) from 1921 to 1928. Krumbhaar was involved with both the Pathology and Radiology departments at PGH, and attended conferences on these subjects.
The “Correspondence” series contains Krumbhaar's incoming and outgoing correspondence related to his medical career and his professional associations from 1900 to 1969. The subseries “From Edward Bell Krumbhaar” includes letters sent to colleagues and medical journals from 1915 to 1941. The subseries “ American Journal of Medical Science” contains letters sent to and received by Krumbhaar regarding works he submitted, payments, and requests for reviews from 1924 to 1942. The “Autograph Collection” subseries includes letters collected by Krumbhaar of renowned medical professionals from 1825 to 1969. The “ Clio Medica” subseries contains letters sent by this publication regarding works submitted by Krumbhaar, and royalties received for this work from 1929 to 1943. There are also three subseries related to Krumbhaar’s work with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, mostly of an administrative nature from 1922 to 1953, including his tenure as Vice President and President of this institution from 1939 to 1942. This series also includes Krumbhaar’s general correspondence over the course of his medical career from 1921 to 1959. Researchers should note that correspondence was kept in the order it was organized by either Krumbhaar or an archivist. As a result, it overlaps significantly in date and content throughout the subseries.
The “Medical Institutions” series contains documentation of Krumbhaar’s affiliations with medical institutions outside of the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Included in this series are administrative records of his work with Chestnut Hill Hospital from 1937 to 1938 and College of Physicians of Philadelphia (undated). There are also files on Krumbhaar’s autopsy and ulcer research at Pennsylvania General Hospital from 1920 to 1937.
The “Publications” series contains editions of several publications that were consulted by Krumbhaar in his research, as well as some in which his works were published. The “Printed materials and other publications” file contains several medical publications, some of which include Krumbhaar writings from 1946 to 1954. The “ Journal des Sociétiés Scientifiques” files contain several runs of this publication from 1886 to 1890 that were collected by Krumbhaar.
Many of Krumbhaar’s notes regarding medical subjects in which he was involved throughout his career are contained within the “Research files and notes” series. Highlights of this series include notes on Arturo Castiglioni’s History of Medicine which Krumbhaar translated into English, several Pathology drawings by Krumbhaar, notes on the effects of Mustard Gas exposure during World War I, and several files on the medical effects of Radium. This series dates from 1905 to the 1950s.
The “United States Army Medical Corps” series contains records on Krumbhaar’s involvement with this organization from 1914 to 1939. Included in these records is Krumbhaar’s correspondence with Medical Corps administrators in 1914, 1936, and 1939, as well as a manual issued by the Medical Corps in 1931.
Krumbhaar’s association with the University of Pennsylvania, as a medical student graduating in 1916, and as professor of Pathology from 1927 to 1942 is documented in the “University of Pennsylvania” series. Included in the series are several subseries related to his administrative duties as an academic, including “Accounts,” “Budgets of Pathology Department,” “Correspondence,” “Minutes,” “Periodicals,” “Reports,” and “Subject and Administrative records.” Also included in this series are “Autopsy Reports” and “Lecture notes” which reflect Krumbhaar’s research in pathology during this period.
“Writings by E.B. Krumbhaar” includes the notes and manuscripts of E.B. Krumbhaar from 1902 to 1962. Krumbhaar wrote extensively, and covered both contemporary and historical medical subjects. Several notes and manuscripts for books that were eventually published can be found in this series, including The Spleen and Anaemia: Experimental and Clinical Studies, Isaac Cruikshank: A cataloguraisonne, with a sketch of his life and work, Pathology, and his translation of Arturo Castiglioni's History of Medicine.
Krumbhaar’s efforts to preserve the history of medicine are well documented in this collection and researchers interested in the history of medicine, generally, and more specifically in the history of pathology will find this collection to be extremely valuable. Further, there is extensive material regarding the history and operation of several Philadelphia medical institutions, such as the University of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Hospital, and “Old Blockley.” Krumbhaar was interested in physicians who made significant contributions to the field of medicine and wrote biographical sketches, obituaries and memorials which are contained within this collection. Finally, he appears to have been particularly interested in several organs (the heart and the spleen), medical conditions (extra-uterine pregnancies), and procedures (autopsies) and his notes and writings on them are included throughout his papers. Krumbhaar’s autopsy reports on and writings regarding mustard gas victims during World War I may be of great interest to both medical historians as well as researchers interested in military history.