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Letterbooks of the Committee on the Mütter Museum

Identifier: CPP 10/007-03

Scope and Contents

Letterbooks of John H. Brinton as chairman of Committee on Mütter Museum of College of Physicians of Philadelphia with related material concerning museum and Mütter Trust and Lectureship, 1858-1939. Bulk composed of two numerically-arranged letterbooks, 1895-1904 and 1905-1907, containing letters received, drafts and copies of outgoing letters, and annual and financial reports. Correspondence concerns acquisition and preservation of pathological specimens, surgical instruments, and portraits; construction of cases and lighting for museum; insurance; and arrangements for Thomas Dent Mütter Lectureship in surgical pathology. Major correspondents are: Oscar H. Allis, Harvey Cushing, Charles H. Frazier, Aloysius O. J. Kelly, Louis A. La Garde, William James Mayo, George H. Monks, John B. Roberts, and William Henry Welch. Collection includes Brinton’s scrapbook on lectureship and legal and financial papers concerning income and use of Mütter Trust. Also includes 1887 catalogue of portrait collection; list of citations to articles describing or utilizing Mütter Museum specimens; and letterbook of curator, Guy Hinsdale, concerning purchase, use, and restoration of specimens and payment authorizations for curatorial bills.


  • 1858 - 1939
  • Majority of material found within 1895 - 1907


Biographical / Historical

The Committee on the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was first appointed in January 1863. It was charged with the general supervision of the anatomical and pathological museum established by the articles of agreement made between the College and Thomas D. Mütter in 1858-1859. The chairman of the committee was to report annually on the condition of the museum and semi-annually on its financial situation and also receive the income from the Mütter Trust and make disbursements to the museum’s curator and the Mütter lecturers. In 1886, the duties of the College’s Committee on Lectures, which chose and supervised the Mütter lecturers, devolved onto the Committee on the Mütter Museum. In 1935, the College formed a Committee on College Collections to care for, exhibit, and loan any objects received by the College which were not covered by the Mütter Trust. The officers of this committee were identical to the officers of the Committee on the Mütter Museum, and the two bodies met consecutively. In 1990, the Committee on the Mütter Museum became inactive, and general oversight of the Mütter Museum was assumed by the College’s Committee on Program.


5 Volumes

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The letterbooks of the chairman of the Committee on the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia were transferred to the Historical Collections of the Library by Gretchen Worden, Director of the Mutter Museum, on 29 August 1991. The letterbooks were originally catalogued as part of the museum collection, and four were assigned catalogue numbers 17834.77-17834.80 (Y 44a-Y44c).

The letterbooks were disbound, processed, and catalogued in 1992.
Letterbooks of the Committee on the Mütter Museum
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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