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Correspondence of the Office of the Librarian

Identifier: CPP 13/004-01

Scope and Contents

Morse corresponded with librarians from all over the United States and the world. Most of the incoming correspondence is from librarians at universities, medical schools, hospitals, and corporations; included are interlibrary loan requests, inquiries about the library's holdings, and requests to establish borrowing privileges at the Library of the College of Physicians. Also present are letters from patrons requesting searches or photocopying.

Morse's outgoing correspondence consists of letters ordering or cancelling journals, requests for items held in other libraries, queries about duplicates, correspondence with book dealers, letters informing libraries of the status of their borrowing privileges, and acknowledgements of donations and bequests to the Library of the College of Physicians. Morse also sent many letters requesting payment for overdue materials and photocopying charges.

Morse usually kept letters relating to the same theme attached together, regardless of the dates of the correspondence; thus, letters from earlier years are included in the 1963 and 1964 correspondence files. The only major correspondent in the collection is Glyn Penryhn Jones, a physician and author from Wales, who was invited to speak at the College of Physicians in 1964.


  • 1959-1963
  • Majority of material found in 1963-1964


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.


.4 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The source of this collection of correspondence from the Office of the Librarian of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is unknown.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1992.
Correspondence of the Office of the Librarian
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