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Records concerning the Medical Library Association III

Identifier: CPP 13/002-03

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 1936 to 1966, consists mainly of records from W. B. McDaniel's terms as editor of the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association and as president of the MLA.

Series I contains correspondence from McDaniel's time as editor of the Bulletin and from his time as president of the MLA. The Bulletin correspondence is arranged alphabetically. This series includes correspondence about works pending publication, requests for subscriptions, issues and problems, and ideas for the Bulletin. The records shed light on the various activities involved in the editorship of such a publication, as well as on McDaniel himself in the role of editor. Correspondents include contributors, colleagues, and other partners in publication. Extensive correspondence with Jennie Gregory, for example, elucidates McDaniel's editing techniques.

The presidential correspondence is arranged chronologically then alphabetically in each folder. Issues addressed include topics of discussion and various problems, progress reports, plans, agendas, processes, changes in posts, responsibilities within the MLA, and committees. Issues related to World War II are sprinkled among the correspondence. Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

There is one other subseries, which concerns the Committee on Public Documents. Series II contains miscellaneous items: material on annual meetings, on the Committee on Historical Materials, and on the MLA Philadelphia Regional Group.


  • 1936-1966


Historical Medical Library history

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 responsibilities 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.

In 1997, governance voted to officially make the Library an historical library, deemphasizing modem reference and transferring most of those activities to the Consumer Health Information Center, established in 1995. The Director of the Library was in charge of the historical collections, with Public Services in charge of modem reference. In July 2001 the Director's position became that of College Librarian, with the added title of Director of the Francis C. Wood Institute for the History of Medicine. While the Library continued to acquire and save consumer health material and some other current material, the College Librarian's principle duty was the preservation, promotion, and enhancement of the historical collection.

Walton Brooks McDaniel II biography

The collection covers the career of Walton Brooks McDaniel, II (1897-1975), who served as Librarian from 1933-1953, when he became Curator of the Historical Collections. Born August 30, 1897, and named after his uncle, a professor of classical Latin and Greek, McDaniel was a classical scholar, noted for an edition of the works of the poet Catullus. Prior to his arrival at the College, McDaniel earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard (1920) and a Ph.D. in classical literature from New York University (1932), and taught English and the classics at such institutions as the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, and New York University.

As Librarian, McDaniel engaged in scholarly work related to the College and history of medicine, while becoming increasingly involved in professional activities in the greater library world. He served as editor of the Bulletin of the Medical Library Association (1936), as member of the MLA Executive Committee (1936-1937), and later as president of the MLA (1946). In 1953, McDaniel traveled to London to deliver the keynote address at the first International Congress on Medical Librarianship. Closer to home, McDaniel was influential in the establishment of the Philadelphia Union Catalogue and was active in the Metropolitan Library Council of Philadelphia, of which he was elected president in 1943. In 1946, McDaniel was appointed Honorary Consultant to the US Armed Forces Medical Library.

As a scholar, McDaniel produced over ninety articles on the history of medicine, medical historiography, and the history of the College of Physicians, as well as works concerning libraries and librarianship. He wrote and published Fugitive Leaves (1935-1938, 1956- 1967), an irregularly-appearing publication dedicated to notes and articles about the College's collection. McDaniel also edited Transactions and Studies (1937-1955), the journal of the College that in McDaniel's time covered both current medicine and medical history. In addition, McDaniel served as Secretary of the American Association for the History of Medicine (1944-19.46).

In 1953 the College of Physicians created the position of Curator of the Historical Collections, a position to which McDaniel was appointed in that same year. Relinquishing the position of Librarian to his assistant, Elliot Morse, McDaniel continued his service to the College until his retirement in October 1973. Upon his retirement, he was elected Honorary Associate Fellow of the College. McDaniel died May 23, 1975 of injuries sustained by an automobile.

In addition to the papers of Walton B. McDaniel, the following sources were consulted in the preparation of this biographical sketch:

Bell, Whitfield J., Jr. "W.B. McDaniel 2d (1897-1975)." Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 49 (3): 429-431 (Fall 1974).

Holloway, Lisabeth M. "A Bibliographic Salute to W.B. McDaniel, 2d." Transactions and Studies, 41 (3): 171-175 (January 1974).

Morse, Elliott. "Walton Brooks McDaniel, 2d, 1897-1975: A Testimonial." Revised version of a talk presented at the Section on Medical History of the College of Physicians on January 21, 1976.

Rogers, Fred B. "Walton Brooks McDaniel 2d: An Appreciation." Philadelphia Medicine, 71 (7): 292-293 (July 1975).

"Walton B. McDaniel 2d" [obituary]. The Philadelphia Inquirer: 2-C (Sunday, May 25, 1975).

"Walton B. McDaniel, 2d, Former Curator, 77" [obituary]. The Evening Bulletin: 14-A (Saturday, May 24, 1975).

"Walton Brooks McDaniel, 2d, 1897-1975." Journal of the History of Medicine: 392 (October 1975).


1.4 Linear feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The records were scattered throughout the archives and were consolidated into this collection. Curator Jack Eckert surveyed all College records in about 1989, including McDaniel's papers. Prior to Jack Eckert's survey, the records' provenance is unknown.
Records concerning the Medical Library Association III
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