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Francis C. Wood papers II

Identifier: MSS 2/228-02

Scope and Contents

Personal and professional papers, correspondence, speeches, and records of medical practice and military service, 1925-1989, of Philadelphia, Pa., cardiologist and educator, Francis C. Wood.

Series 1 documents Francis C. Wood’s family and personal life, education, and honors and awards, 1949-1984. Includes family correspondence, press releases, and financial and legal papers.

General correspondence in Series 2 includes letters of physicians, non-physicians, and letters of recommendation, 1932-1986.

Wood’s cardiological and electocardiographical research, 1932-1963, is documented in Series 3 with typescripts of articles and supporting material concerning electrocardiographic precordial leads.

Series 4 describes Wood’s military service in World War II, 1949-1952. Series includes reserve service papers.

Wood’s teaching career is documented in Series 5, 1928-1983; series includes administrative correspondence and lecture notes and course materials, particularly on rheumatic heart disease.

Series 6 contains administrative records of Wood’s chairmanship of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1947-1981. Includes personnel correspondence and employee evaluations.

Wood’s association with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is documented in Series 7, 1966-1986. Series includes fellowship proposals amd records of the College’s Advisory Committee on the Francis Clark Wood Institute for the History of Medicine.

Series 8 contains materials of alumni associations of Princeton University and University of Pennsylvania and other organizations with which Wood was associated, 1938-1988. Series includes minutes, reports, and correspondence of the Measey Foundation.

Occasional patient case history files, 1936-1988, from Wood’s medical practice are preserved in Series 9, along with several hospital handbooks.

Documentation of Wood’s speeches, 1926-1989, in Series 10, includes holographs, typescripts, and supporting material; speeches arranged by title. Many concern cardiology.

Series 11 contains publications, 1925-1986, by Wood and other physicians; correspondence and related materials included.

Medical subject reference files, 1925-1986, with reprints and articles, in Series 12, include material on Tsutsugamushi disease [scrub typhus] and Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Series 13 contains biographical information, 1951-1982, on Wood’s colleagues.


  • 1925 - 1989


Biographical / Historical

Francis C. Wood, Philadelphia physician and teacher, was born in South Africa in 1901. In 1926, he married Mary Louise Woods, with whom he had three children: Francis Clark, Jr. (b. 1928), Elizabeth Vance (b. 1930), and Lawrence Crane (b. 1935). Dr. Wood died on December 16, 1990.

At age 12, Wood returned with his family to Ohio, where he attended Wooster Academy. In 1918, he entered Princeton University and graduated in 1922. Wood then attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1926. After completing a two year residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Wood began studying cardiology with Charles C. Wolferth. It was during this period (approximately 1931 to 1941) that Wood did his important research, including the development of precordial leads for the electrocardiograph. Starting in 1931, Wood began teaching in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Wood's academic career was interrupted in 1942, when he went on active duty in the U.S. Army as a staff member of the 20th General Hospital. After training in Louisiana, the unit was sent to the China-Burma-India theater, where it manned a two-thousand-bed hospital near the base of the Burma Road in Assam, India. Wood eventually became Chief of the Medical Services of the hospital.

After the war, Wood returned to the United States and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1947, he was appointed a full Professor of Medicine and, in the same year, succeeded Dr. O. H. Perry Pepper as Chairman of the School of Medicine. Wood served in this latter capacity until 1965. He continued, however, to teach and practice in the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania until a few years before his death.

Wood's association with the College of Physicians of Philadelphia began in 1932, when he was elected a fellow. He served as vice-president in 1964 and then, from 1967 to 1969, as its president. After finishing his final term as president, Wood continued to serve the College in a number of capacities, including as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Wood Institute for the History of Medicine.


6.4 Linear feet (16 document boxes)

Language of Materials