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Records of the Committee on the Pathological Museum of Dr. Mutter

Identifier: CPP 10/016-01

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, reports, minutes, and legal documents, 1856-1859, describing the labors and negotiations of the committee of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia charged with responding to the proposal of Thomas D. Mutter to establish a pathological museum and lectureship in surgical pathology. Notable items include: letters from Thomas D. Mutter and his original proposal to the College (written in the hand of S. Weir Mitchell) with its subsequent modifications; the articles of agreement establishing the Mutter Museum and the deed of the Mutter Trust; and the 1859 catalogue of the museum collection, corrected by S. Weir Mitchell after Mutter' death. Several of the letters and many of the committee's reports were written by George Bacon Wood, acting in his capacity as both College president and chairman of the committee.


  • 1856 - 1859


Biographical / Historical

On 19 June 1856, a special meeting of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was called to announce Thomas D. Mutter's offer of his extensive collection of anatomical and pathological specimens to the College along with a $30,000 bequest to provide for the maintenance of a museum, a curator's salary, and a lectureship in surgical pathology. Mutter stipulated that a suitable, fireproof building be erected by the College to house his museum. A special committee, comprised of Franklin Bache, John Rodman Paul, George W. Norris, Wilson Jewell, Alfred Stille', and George Bacon Wood, acting in his role as College president, was formed to consider the Mutter proposal. Although the committee approved the proposal, no action was taken by the College due to the commitment to construct a new b11ilding, and the committee was discharged in October 1856.

Dr. Mutter reaffirmed his offer in 1858, and the original committee was reactivated in November to complete negotiations and arrangements for the establishment of the Mutter Trust and the museum. The articles of agreement accepting the museum were signed by Thomas D. Mutter on 13 December 1858 and George Bacon Wood and Edward Hartshorne, on behalf of the College, on 8 January 1859. The committee made its final report to the College on 2 February 1859 and was then released.

After Mutter's death on 16 March 1859, the museum collection was under the care of three trustees, including S. Weir Mitchell, until June 1863 when the College's new building was constructed at 13th and Locust Streets, and Mrs. Mary W. A. Mutter, widow of Dr. Mutter, was satisfied as to its safety. At that time, the income from the Mutter Trust was first paid to the College's Committee on the Mutter Museum.


.4 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Records from 1856 were arranged by Alfred Stille' after the first dissolution of the committee and transferred to George Bacon Wood by Edward Hartshorne, secretary of the College, on 4 November 1858. The entire collection was transferred to the secretary of College of Physicians of Philadelphia on 2 February 1859.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1991.
Records of the Committee on the Pathological Museum of Dr. Mutter
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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