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Records of the Council of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia II

Identifier: CPP 6/002

Scope and Contents

This collection is part of the records of the Council of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The collection, spanning 1868 to 1988, correspondence, and minutes of committee meetings which were submitted to the Council by committee chairmen and officers of the College.

The first record group (1896-1909; 1976-1988), Adminstrative records, is comrised of two series: Meetings (Series I) and Minutes and Correspondence (Series 2). Series I: Meetings contains much more than Council meeting minutes; it also includes correspondece, agendas, and attendance lists. Minutes and correspondence (Series II) holds the official, and sometimes draft, versions of meeting minutes, as well as correspondence related to the meetings.

The second record group (1979-1980) contains status reports for proposals discussed during meetings.

The thrid record group (1958) are rules written by the Council which are meant to set regulations for the College's daily business.

The fourth record group (1868) is a copy of an address and a resolution given by Dr. Littell related to the "unsuitability of women physicians" for College membership.

Finally, the fifth record group (1967) contains material to the College's resolution to support family planning services.

It should be noted that the years 1901 to 1903 and 1910 to 1975 are not represented in this collection.


  • 1896-1909; 1976-1988


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".

In 1998, the College adopted revised by-laws. These changes were the result of deliberations by the Task Force on Board and Membership Development, which was charged by Past-President Dr. Alfred Fishman as part of the College's strategic planning process initiated in 1996. The Committee was chaired by Dr. William Kissick and is to be commended on its efficient and effective work. The name of the College's governing body was changed from "Council," used for 135 years, to "Board of Trustees" and "Councilors" have become "Trustees."


1.6 Linear feet (4 document boxes)

Language of Materials


Records of the Council of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia II
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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