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Records of the Sections of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Identifier: CPP 12/006


The College of Physicians was founded in 1787 as a private medical society devoted to the advancement of medical education, research, and guidance of the medical profession itself. In order to help fulfill these goals, the College’s Fellowship have garnered impressive resources including a biomedical library in 1788, a medical museum in 1858, an institute for the history of medicine in 1976, and museum education programs in 2006. These resources are housed in a building constructed in 1909 at 19 South Twenty-Second Street. With its rich resources, adjoining medicinal herb garden, and ample meeting space, the College serves as a repository for the history of Philadelphia medicine and as an arena for the discussion of contemporary health care issues.

The College is also home to sections, specialized interest groups that hold regular meetings, lectures, and other events. The sections were first established in 1893 by President S. Weir Mitchell, in order to make time at general meetings for College business rather than discussions on medical topics. The first sections established were: Ophthalmology, Orthopedic Surgery, General Surgery, and Otology & Laryngology. These sections were quickly followed by those on Gynecology and General Medicine.

This small collection of various sections includes the records of the Section on Gynecology (1897-1907), the Section on General Surgery (1894; 1896; 1898), the Section on Internal Medicine (1976-1977), the Section on Orthopaedic Surgery (1894-1895), the Section on General Medicine (1965; undated); the Blockley Section (1982-1994); and the Section on Geriatrics and Geronotlogy (1987-1994). The amount of records related to these sections is small, and likely does not cover all the years each section was active.

Aas of 2018, the College’s Sections include The Section on Medical History, founded in 1905, one of the oldest groups in the United States devoted to the history of medicine; The Section on Medicine and the Arts, whose programs explore and nurture a more humanistic understanding of health, illness and medicine through the literary, visual and performing arts; and The Section on Public Health & Preventive Medicine, which creates a forum for deliberating important issues in public health and disease prevention and provides information for improving health policies.

The Records of the Sections of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia represent the variety of interests of the Fellows over the years. Researchers should note that although the date span is large, many years are not represented.

The sections included in this collection dealt with many issues, from gynecology to surgery. Most files contain annual reports, although the Section on Internal Medicine records consist of correspondence, and the Section on General Medicine contains only a list of (potential?) members. The Blockley Section was founded in 1982, and the newsletters cover the annual dinners held each year. The Section on Geriatrics and Gerontology was incorporated into the Section on Public Health and Preventive Medicine sometime in 1994 or 1995 due to lack of interest.


  • 1894-1977



.2 Linear feet (1 half document box)

Language of Materials


Records of the Sections of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Chrissie Perella
February 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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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