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Records of the Council of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Identifier: CPP 6/001-01

Scope and Contents

This collection of "Reports supplementary to Council minutes" is part of the records of the Council of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The collection, spanning 1941 to 1959, consists of monthly and annual reports, correspondence, and minutes of committee meetings which were submitted to the Council by committee chairmen and officers of the College.

The annual and monthly reports 1n this collection provide a great deal of insight into the activities of the College during the 1940s and 1950s. The monthly Censors' reports concern the writing of memoirs of deceased Fellows. Statistics on attendance at meetings and lectures, the number of Fellows elected, and the number of Fellows in each Section are included in the Annual Report of the Secretary. The reports of the Library Committee provide information on circulation, donations, acquisitions, inventory, the number of visitors, and staff changes. Monthly reports from the Committee of the Mutter Museum and the Committee on College Collections provide detailed lists of accessions and donors.

The collection also includes reports from the Committee on Public Health, Preventive Medicine and Public Relations. Many of these reports address social and medical issues of the time (smallpox epidemics, the pollution of the Schuylkill, the need for immunization programs) and the College's response to these issues. The financial status of the College and the nature of its investments are addressed in the reports of the Treasurer and the Committee on Finance. Costs associated with College dinners are listed in the reports of the Committee on Entertainments, and the expense of publishing Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is addressed in the reports of the Committee on Publication. The reports of the Hall Committee concern the maintenance and repair of the College building; the Hall Committee's reports from 1942 discuss the College's blackout system and the use of the basement as an air raid shelter. Also present in the collection are the Annual Reports of the different Sections of the College, most of which provide information about the lectures held at Section meetings.

In addition to reports, this collection includes minutes from committee meetings and correspondence. Many of the letters are from Fellows who wished to change their membership status, pay their dues, or present a donation to the College. Other correspondence concerns the selection of speakers for various College lectures. Of special interest is correspondence from March 1943 which pertains to a portrait of Benjamin Rush, supposedly painted by Benjamin West; apparently, there were doubts as to whether the portrait had been painted by West.


  • 1941 - 1959


Biographical / Historical

The Council of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was established in 1863. The Council originally consisted of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, the Censors, and six elected Councillors who served three year terms. According to the 1863 by-laws, the Council was given "general supervision over the affairs of the College"; the Council was to "carefully consider all questions that may be referred to it, and report to the College, in writing, its decision thereon". After its first meeting on 27 January 1864, the Council met monthly; by the 1880s, meetings were no longer held during the summer months.

Between 1882 and 1886, the Chairmen of the Standing Committees of the College, as well as the Honorary Librarian, were added to the membership of the Council. Also in 1886, the Council was empowered to determine the eligibility of candidates who were being considered for election to the Fellowship. In 1914, the by-laws were amended to state that the Council would receive the monthly reports of the Standing and Special Committees of the College and relate the information from these reports to the Fellows at regular College meetings.

The Ex-Presidents of the College of Physicians were added to the membership of the Council in 1925. During this year, the Secretary and Treasurer began submitting their annual reports, including expenses and budgets, to the Council. The 1925 by-laws also state that the Council had the authority to represent the College in business transactions and relations with the public. The influence of the Council continued to expand in the 1930s. The 1935 by-laws gave the Council the power to set the budget for the College and "make Rules for the Regulation of College Business". The Council also became responsible for hiring library and custodial staff.

In 1972, it became the duty of the Council to appoint an Executive Director of the College. In 1984, the term of Elective Councillors was lengthened to four years, Finally, in 1990, Ex-Presidents and the Honorary Librarian were eliminated from membership in Council, and the Chairperson of the Board of Advisors was added; also during this year, the number of Elective Councillors was changed from six to eight. The 1990 by-laws state that the Council is the "governing body of the College and shall have ultimate responsibility for establishing policy for the institution, monitoring its implementation, and evaluating it".

As of 1992, the Council remains an active body of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.


1.6 Linear feet (4 document boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The source of this collection of "Reports supplementary to Council minutes" is unknown.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1992.
Records of the Council of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Language of description
Script of description
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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