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Records concerning the Medical Library Association I

Identifier: CPP 13/002-01

Scope and Contents

This collection of records concerning the Medical Library Association is part of the records of the Office of the Librarian of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. The collection, which spans 1931 to 1958, includes correspondence, papers from annual MLA meetings, and miscellaneous material.

Series 1 contains some correspondence from Emlen Wood, Acting Librarian of the College from 1932 to 1933; the majority of the correspondence, however, concerns W. B. McDaniel and his involvement in the MLA from the early 1930s to the late 1940s. Also present in Series 1 is the correspondence of Mary Louise Marshall, who was president of the MLA from 1941 to 1946; Marshall apparently transferred her files to McDaniel when he succeeded her as president of the organization.

Included in the correspondence are letters from various officers of the MLA, including Marcia C. Noyes, Charles Frankenberger, William Willoughby Francis, and Eileen R. Cunningham, all of whom served presidential terms in the organization. Also included is correspondence from secretaries and committee chairmen, including Marjorie Darrach, Florence Cooksley, Henry R. Viets, Heath Babcock, L. Margueriete Prime, Janet Doe, John F. Fulton, Mary E. Irish, and Sanford V. Larkey. Included with the letters from these correspondents are carbon copies of McDaniel's replies.

The correspondence from 1934 to 1935 documents McDaniel's involvement in the Program Committee of the MLA. McDaniel's influence increased in 1936, when he became editor of the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association and was elected to serve a three year term on the Executive Committee; included in the correspondence are "Executive Committee circulars". The correspondence from 1940 to 1941 pertains to the preparation of the MLA's "Handbook of medical library practice".

McDaniel served as president of the MLA from 1946 to 1947. The correspondence dating from 1947 and 1948 documents his influence as "past-president" of the organization. McDaniel served on the Executive Committee and the Program and Entertainment Committee during these years. Included are numerous letters concerning the preparation of the Proceedings of the MLA for publication in the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association. Other correspondence concerns the formation of committees and the appointment of committee members.

Series 2 contains records from the annual meetings of the MLA. Included are registration forms, programs, banquet menus, minutes, amendments to the by-laws, committee reports, and other miscellaneous material. The annual meeting of 1947 is the best documented in the collection. Of special interest are the numerous committee reports from this year; the reports of the "Committee on the Handling and Disposal of Foreign Duplicates of the War Years" and the "Advisory Committee on Foreign Importations" deal with the effects of World War II on American medical libraries. These reports address concerns such as the increasing cost of foreign journals due to rising post-war inflation.

Included in Series 3 is miscellaneous material pertaining to the MLA. Present is the MLA Secretary's Manual (1939), a list of medical subheadings prepared by the Library of the New York Academy of Medicine (1942), MLA financial records (1945-1946), and other miscellaneous items.


  • 1931-1958


Biographical / Historical

The Office of the Librarian of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was established in 1854, Before 1851, the chairman of the Library Committee was responsible for the administration of the Library, and from 1851 to 1854, the Secretary of the College acted as librarian, In 1863, the Librarian became an officer of the College, and the by-laws of this year established his official duties: the "preservation, arrangement and cataloguing of the books belonging to the Library of the College", This position was part-time; the Librarian was required to be present in the Library for an hour before each meeting and an additional hour each week.

A major change in the Library's administration occurred in 1882. At this time, two new positions, "Honorary Librarian" and "Assistant Librarian" were created. The Honorary Librarian served as an "ex officio" member of the Library Committee and was responsible for the Library's funds and employees. The Assistant Librarian, who worked full-time and did not have to be a Fellow of the College, was responsible for the daily administration of the Library. His other duties included acting as secretary of the Library Committee and keeping records of all books purchased or donated to the Library.

In the 1914 by-laws, the title of Assistant Librarian was changed to Librarian. Also in 1914, the Librarian became the "Superintendent of the College building", This responsibility was omitted from the 1925 by-laws, and by 1935, the by-laws were again amended to state that the Librarian "shall keep a record of all acquisitions of the Library, with the names of the donors".

A new position, Curator of the Historical Collections of the Library, was added to the staff in 1953. In 1982, the title of "Librarian" was changed to "Director of the Library". In 1990, the responisibilities of the Director of the Library were divided between the Director of the Library for Public Services and the Director of the Library for Historical Services.


1 Linear feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The source of this collection of records concerning the Medical Library Association is unknown.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1991.
Records concerning the Medical Library Association I
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

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