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Samuel X. Radbill papers I

Identifier: MSS 2/037-01

Scope and Contents

Extensive collection of correspondence, subject files, and photographs of Samuel X Radbill documenting professional associations with Philadelphia County Medical Society and College of Physicians of Philadelphia and his interest in medical history and medical bookplates. Collection contains notes made by Radbill on topics of interest and rough drafts of articles, papers for presentation, and informal speeches. Series 1 is divided into two subseries: A. Personal Correspondence and B. Subject and Organization Correspondence. Primary subjects addressed in the correspondence in Subseries A are professional and personal concerns and the exchange of information about medical history, medical and historical texts, and artifacts. Of particular interest is Radbill’s correspondence, 1936-1985, with Robert Rosenthal. Other major correspondents are: Erich Aber, Harold J. Abrahams, M. E. Alberts, G. T. Banner, William Bennett Bean, Whitfield J. Bell, Marco Birnholz, Harry Block, Chester D. Bradley, William N. Bradley, Howard Childs Carpenter, Carlo Castellani, Jaroslav Cervény, Ronald A. Cohen, George Washington Corner, David L. Cowen, Jeannette Dean-Throckmorton, Elizabeth Watson Diamond, John Morris Dorsey, Mary Alice Ercolini, Robert D. Gauchat, Donald C. Geist, Philip Goodman, Wayland Debs Hand, Ray E. Helfer, K. Garth Huston, Saul Jarcho, Juraj Korbler, E. B. Krumbhaar, W. Kenneth Lane, Dorothy I. Lansing, S. Lasalle, W. G. Leaman, Richard A. Leonardo, Elizabeth Lomax, W. B. McDaniel II, E. B. Montgomery, Ernest L. Noone, Francis R. Packard, Jonathan E. Rhoads, Fred B. Rogers, Dorothy M. Schullian, Henry Schuman, Norman Shaftel, Richard Harrison Shryock, Henry Ernest Sigerist, Robert Sonnenschein, Katharine R. Sturgis, H. P. Tait, Owsei Temkin, William F. von Valtier, Joseph I. Waring, Irving J. Wolman, Francis C. Wood, and T. Kenneth Wood. Correspondence on bookplates concerns production and bookplates as symbols and art. Subseries B contains correspondence on specific subjects, usually related to either research Radbill was conducting or an article which he was writing. Many subjects are physicians, including Robley Dunglison and Sir William Osler. Series also contains correspondence, minutes, mailings, meeting notices, personal and professional data on members, and publications of societies or institutions, including College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County Medical Society, American Osler Society, Philadelphia Pediatric Society, and Philadelphia General Hospital. Subseries also includes clinical material, primarily from 1930s and 1940s, including birth and death certificates and correspondence between Radbill and other physicians concerning referrals and cases. Subject files in Series 2 contain historical information on pediatric topics, such as child abuse and measles; biographical information on physicians; and material relating to Philadelphia General Hospital, including correspondence of William N. Bradley and Ernest L. Noone, staff evaluations, lectures, and actions of municipal committees. Pictorial materials in Series 3 include photographs of friends and colleagues; slides and negatives of trips taken by Radbill; lantern slides on pediatric subjects; plaques; and photographs of 19th century British and German physicians. Also includes sets of staff photographs from Philadelphia General Hospital, [ca. 1915], and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, [ca. 1925].


  • 1907 - 1987


Biographical / Historical

Samuel X Radbill (1901-1987) began his medical career as a general practitioner in 1926 and became a pediatrician in 1938, when he was certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Radbill was perhaps better known as a medical historian, and collector of bookplates and old and rare medical texts than as a pediatrician. He believed that the study of medicine’s past was useful to its practice, and he encouraged many of his professional colleagues to examine the history of their specialties. The Samuel X Radbill papers evidences Radbill’s deep and unrelenting interest in the history of medicine, particularly the history of pediatrics and dermatology, folklore, ancient medicine, medical art and medical bookplates. Of note, in the collection are three of Radbill’s personal collections related to the history of medicine: collections of pamphlets, brochures and articles; medical art and other pictorial works; and medical journals and texts--all dating from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. In addition, there are research notes, manuscripts and typescripts for articles and books written by Radbill, as well as a small group of miscellaneous personal papers, most of which relate directly to his research and writing. The collection dates from 1635 to 1987 (bulk: circa 1800 to 1985). Researchers should note, there are several languages represented in this collection, most notably English, Latin, French, German, Hebrew and Japanese.


27.2 Linear feet (68 document boxes)

Language of Materials


Samuel X. Radbill papers I
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States