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Records of the United States Marine Hospital II

Identifier: CPP 1/002-02


On 16 July 1798, the United States Congress established the Marine Hospital Service under the Treasury Department for the benefit of sick and disabled members of the mercantile marine. Each seaman was assessed a tax of 40 cents per month, and these dues were fed into a hospital fund which paid for the Service. The first marine hospital opened at Washington Point, Virginia, in 1800.

The Service was reorganized in 1870. Its activities were standardized under the Supervising Surgeon. The Service was divided into stations with functioning marine hospitals and relief stations where seamen were admitted to local hospitals for treatment; Philadelphia was a relief station of the first class. Each station of this type was under the supervision of a Surgeon. Duties of this officer included: examination of applicants for relief; prescription of medicine; issuance of permits for hospital relief; maintenance of records of the hospital; inspection of hospitals where seamen were admitted; observation of all quarantine regulations; and reporting of any outbreaks of disease. The Surgeon had authority over all staff and was responsible for the efficient conduct of the station and maintenance of its hospital stores. The Surgeon also supervised office relief, the treatment of seamen who did not require hospitalization. By 1881, board, nursing, and medicine were furnished solely by the Hospital of Jefferson Medical College, but by 1886, the hospital functions at Philadelphia were assumed by the German [later, Lankenau] Hospital.

In 1885, national quarantine duties were added to the Surgeon's responsibilities. By 1893, medical officers at each station worked closely with consuls to oversee the sanitary conditions of incoming vessels, cargo, and crew. In 1902, the name of the Marine Hospital Service was changed to the "Public Health and Marine Hospital Service" to reflect the growing concern with quarantine regulations, hygienic standards and research, and inspection of immigrants. In 1912, the Service was absorbed into the U.S. Public Health Service which held responsibility for all nonmilitary aspects of public health and disease.

The Records of the United States Marine Hospital II span the years 1877 through 1934, and document some of the admissions and discharges of sailors from the Hospital, as well as certificates of those employed on various ships. The collection also includes some clinical records from Jefferson Medical College Hospital for the years 1881 to 1882, and monthly reports from Pennsylvania Hospital, in which Black and white sailors are logged separately. Rsearcher should note that the bulk of the material dates from 1877 to 1882, with a few certificates dating later. Many years are not represented between 1882 and 1882.

Previously catalgued as 10a 406.


  • 1870-1934; undated
  • Majority of material found within 1877 - 1882



.2 Linear feet (1 half document box)

Language of Materials


Records of the United States Marine Hospital II
Chrissie Perella
December 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Script of description

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