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Letters received by the Office of the Librarian II

Identifier: CPP 13/003-02

Scope and Contents

The collection contains letters received, 1884-1932, by Charles Perry Fisher of the Office of the Librarian of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Occasional drafts of replies are included. The letters concern the acquisition, through donation, purchase, or exchange, of books, pamphlets, journals, reprints, incunabula, manuscript material, photographs, bookplates, medals, and oil paintings. There are also letters concerning medical library policies and procedures; the organization of the Medical Library Association; requests for circulating books and periodicals; and internal College and Library administrative matters. Principal correspondents include: Edwin H. Brigham, Harvey Cushing, J.M. Da Costa, G. E, De Schweinitz, W. A. Newman Dorland, Fielding H. Garrison, Frederick P. Henry, William W. Keen, E. B. Krumbhaar, J. Ewing Mears, S. Weir Mitchell, Sir William Osler, John Ruhrah, and William J. Taylor.


  • 1884-1932


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.


24 Linear feet (58 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent within each year. There is, however, no discernable order within each alphabetical division. Individual letters were probably added in a chronological sequence, although letters from the same individual are often grouped together. Correspondents may appear under a personal name, the name of an associated organization or institution, or both.

Custodial History

This collection of letters received by the Office of the Librarian of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was received by the Library through institutional transfer from Charles Perry Fisher, presumably at his retirement in 1932.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1992 and 1993.
Letters received by the Office of the Librarian II
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