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Records of the Office of the Librarian II

Identifier: CPP 13/006-01

Scope and Contents

The collection contains records from 1931 to the 1970s, the bulk of the records dated during McDaniel's tenure as Librarian (1933-1953). Unless otherwise noted, the records are arranged by year or group of years, and then alphabetically and chronologically by correspondent. (In most cases where this system is not in place, materials are arranged chronologically.) Records of McDaniel's tenure as Curator are cataloged separately. There is overlap between the dates of McDaniel's papers as Librarian and his as Curator. Where logically appropriate, series that begin during McDaniel's time as Librarian and extend into his time as Curator are housed with the Librarian materials. Records may be filed under the personal name of the correspondent, an associated organization or institution, or both. Researchers should check under individual and institutional names.

Though it seems probable that the original order of this collection was disturbed prior to processing, the system of arrangement was created in an attempt to stay in keeping with McDaniel's original filing system, of which signs remain.

The collection sheds light on McDaniel as scholar, librarian, colleague, and as a person. In addition, the records reveal much about the College's Library itself, such as types of reference questions received and answered, details of acquisitions, successes and difficulties of daily operation, and relationships with Fellows. The records also provide a window into the library world in a larger sense. Through correspondence with librarians locally, nationally, and internationally (from institutions such as Stanford, Yale, the Mayo Clinic, the US Armed Forces Library, and McGill University), one may observe the library community at work, as they communicated with one another about their own libraries and the greater library and scholarly world. Finally, the collection at times lends an interesting perspective on the broader world, through documents such as those from the US government regarding procedures for the American Press during World War II.

The majority of the collection consists of various types of correspondence. Also included are publications, presentations, and other writings by McDaniel, as well as records of acquisitions activity and other administrative records. Accordingly, the collection is arranged in the following series:

I. Meeting Minutes and Reports (1932-1973)

II. Library Acquisitions (1931-1938)

III. Reference and General Correspondence (1933-1953)

IV. Correspondence with Fellows of the College of Physicians (1933-1938)

V. Transactions & Studies (1937-1951)

VI. Publications, Presentations, and Other Writings (1934-1970s)

VII. Administrative (1933-1957)

VIII. Associations

IX. Programs

X. Correspondence from the Autograph Case

Series I consists of meeting minutes of the Library Committee and reports about the Library.

Series II, acquisition records from 1931 to 1938, is arranged alphabetically by correspondent; in the case of copious correspondence with two book vendors (N. V. Swets and Zeitlinger, and B. Westman Co., Inc.), documents are arranged by vendor, and then chronologically by year only. This series consists of documents ( correspondence, invoices and receipts, telegrams, and a sprinkling of promotional pamphlets for books) related to the sale or donation of materials (mostly books, journals, and bulletins, but some journal articles and portraits) to, or on occasion from, the College. In some cases, interesting facts about works in question are included in the correspondence: evaluations made, outstanding contents highlighted (such as an illustration), and popularity or status noted. Requests on the part of the Library for reprints are also included. Correspondence occurred between individuals and publication houses, both here and abroad. Highlights include extensive correspondence with Logan Clendening regarding the Harveys; extensive correspondence with Emily Emmant concerning the Hernandez work, and Ximenez; and correspondence with Friedenwald concerning Peter Keyser, a "quack" related to a Supreme Court Judge. After 1938, less acquisitions material appears to have been retained. After this date, acquisitions materials are included along with general correspondence.

General correspondence from 1933-1953 is found in Series III. The majority of the series consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence, arranged alphabetically by correspondent within a given time frame, which ranges from six months to five years, depending upon the amount of correspondence and how it was found in the archives. Correspondents include fellows, other librarians (from local, national, and some international libraries), scholars, publishers, and the general public.

The correspondence spans a wide range of topics and level of detail, containing a lot of information about the College's collection and medical history, and reveals the breadth of individuals and institutions with which McDaniel communicated. All varieties of correspondence, however, nearly universally paint a picture of McDaniel's kind, respectful, and useful assistance to those at all levels, from doctors and librarians to individuals researching relatives. The correspondence reveals the high regard in which others held McDaniel, and the foundation for such regard. In addition, the ambivalence he sometimes appeared to feel towards his own work and abilities is also occasionally made evident. The amount of correspondence from a given individual or institution may vary significantly by year. Researchers should be sure to check under both individual and institutional names for given correspondents.

Correspondence with Fellows of the College is found in Series IV. The years 1933-1938 are arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The correspondence includes topics such as suggestions for purchases, other acquisitions issues, donations, announcements of book arrivals, requests for the Fellows to review titles, opinions on various books, and some reference questions. These documents shed light on the ways in which McDaniel and the Fellows interacted. After 1933-1938, correspondence with Fellows appears to have been kept with general correspondence. Researchers looking for correspondence from a particular Fellow during 1933-1938 should check series besides IV for additional correspondence.

Series V contains records of Transactions & Studies, primarily correspondence. Author Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, and consists of direct communications with authors of works to appear in Transactions & Studies. The author's correspondence allows a view of what editorship involved (working through changes in drafts, unhappy authors, deadline problems, misunderstandings from lecturers that a written manuscript was also required), and the stresses therein. Other folders include invoices, reports, and a separate folder houses contains correspondence from the US Board of Economic Warfare, US Office of Censorship, the National Research Council, and the Department of National Revenue, and concerns publishing Transactions & Studies during World War II.

Series VI, arranged roughly in chronological order, includes various publications, presentations, and other writings by McDaniel. Often, correspondence regarding research or editing of a particular writing is included in the folder that contains the actual final product and/or drafts. One folder of materials about McDaniel is also included.

Administrative records are found in Series VII. There are folders on the McDaniel's hiring, Union Library Catalogue of Philadelphia, and printed Library rules and pamphlets. The folders are arranged generally chronologically.

Series VIII contains records about associations, including some correspondence, arranged chronologically.

In Series IX are records concerning programs at the College of Physicians. Folders cover the Section on Medical History and lectureships. Of note are biographical sketches of lecturers. There are also general letters to Fellows about College programs, sent out during the tenure of College President Lewis Scheffey.

Series X contains correspondence. Significant because of the correspondents, the letters were earlier removed from McDaniel's files with the intention of cataloging them in a separate collection called the Autograph Case. No index card or other file was produced for McDaniel's material, so the "Autograph Case" correspondence has been returned to McDaniel's papers. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, within various bands of time.


  • 1931-1973


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).


10 Linear feet (27 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The records of W. B. McDaniel's tenure as Librarian were scattered in the archives in more than a dozen places. The records had been foldered, boxed, and labeled, and their shelf locations noted, but the records were never assigned accession numbers. It is unknown who originally placed the records in the archives. For cataloging all the boxes were brought together and the material integrated.
Records of the Office of the Librarian 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