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Records of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society

Identifier: MSS 3/016-01

Scope and Contents

These records of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society, spanning 1896 to 1956, provide a detailed account of the activities of the Society during its first sixty years. Included in the collection is the original constitution and by laws of the Society, as well as subsequent amendments; minutes from regular meetings, board meetings, and annual business meetings; numerous abstracts and essays, most unpublished, which were delivered at Society meetings; the presidential addresses of ten former presidents of the Society; and records of various committees of the Society, including its Milk Commission. Also present are detailed records of the Society's finances and membership, as well as significant correspondence covering a variety of topics.

Series 1 contains the 1896 constitution and by laws of the Society; included in this volume are the signatures of the founding members. Also present are records documenting changes made to the by laws, including the significant amendments drafted in 1940 and 1950.

Present in Series 2 are detailed records of the meetings held by the Philadelphia Pediatric Society. Best documented are regular stated meetings; included are minutes, programs, and over one hundred abstracts and papers which were presented before the Society between 1917 and 1943. Many of these papers appear to be unpublished, and a few contain photographs (see 1917 October, 1922 June, and 1924 January). The abstracts and papers in Series 2.1 are arranged in three groups according to the way they were divided and indexed in the collection. Present in Series 2.2 are minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors, and Series 2.3 contains the minutes of the Society's annual business meetings.

Included in Series 3 are the presidential addresses of ten former presidents of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society. These addresses were read before the Society at the end of a president's term and served as a summary of the organization's progress during the previous year.

The records of the Milk Commission of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society are contained in Series 4.2. Included is correspondence from committee chairs Paul B. Cassidy, Sherman Little, and Irving J. Wolman, and letters from the Director of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Hubley R. Owen. Also contained in Series 4.2 are examples of the Milk Commission's work, including tables of bacteriological counts and fat percentages derived from samples of milk, and correspondence and notes pertaining to the certification of the Wagner Goat Farm in Boyertown,jPennsylvania. Present in Series 4.4 are records of the Committee on Summer Play Schools, containing correspondence and reports written by committee members Howard Childs Carpenter and Myer SolisCohen. The records of the Committee for the Fellowship Award (Series 4.6) include scientific reports from award recipients Alice D. Chenoweth and Elizabeth P. Maris. Also included is a letter of recommendation written by E. B. Krumbhaar.

Series 5 contains financial records of the Society, including account books, treasurer's reports, correspondence concerning investments, four bank books, and a checkbook. The Society's membership records are present in Series 6. Box 12 (Series 6.1) contains a membership file listing the names, addresses, and dates of initiation of active, associate, honorary, and former members. Also present in this series are membership lists, correspondence, and volumes in which dues were recorded. Series 7.1 contains the alphabetically arranged correspondence of John P. Scott. The letters in this series date from Scott's term as secretary of the Society. Included are letters from Society members Emily P. Bacon, Howard Childs Carpenter, John D. Donnelly, Samuel McClintock Hamill, E. B. Krumbhaar, A. Graeme Mitchell, J. C. Gittings, and H. Harris Perlman. Also present is correspondence pertaining to membership issues and the Milk Commission. Folder "P" contains programs and the petition for the charter of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society. Folder "T" contains Treasurer's Reports and information on Tri City Pediatric Meetings.

The letters in Series 7.2 are arranged according to subject. Included is correspondence concerning the Packard Lecture, quarantine and communicable diseases, Tri City Pediatric Meetings, the Society's 25th Anniversary Dinner, the Society's Biennial prize, and the 1933 dinner in honor of four famous pediatricians (Samuel McClintock Hamill, Howard Childs Carpenter, Philip Van Ingen, and Kenneth D. Blackfan).

Of special interest in Series 7.2 are letters pertaining to advertisements for baby foods of questionable quality appearing in Hygeia, a publication of the American Medical Association. Also present is correspondence concerning the controversy over free immunization for children. The Philadelphia Pediatric Society, fearing the establishment of socialized medicine, issued a resolution opposing free immunization; the press harshly criticized the Society for dthis action.

Correspondence concerning the Society's campaign to secure pediatric representation on the board to revise the U. S. Pharmacopeia is present in Series 7.2. Also in this series are letters written in response to the Pediatric Society's resolution opposing the treatment of physicians in Germany, who were being discriminated against according to race and ethnicity. Replies to this resolution, dating from 1933, were sent by notable figures such as Henry T. Rainey from the U. S. House of Representatives, and Pierrepont Moffat, Chief of the State Department's Division of Western European Affairs. Other correspondents represented in Series 7.2 include J. P. Crozier Griffith, Samuel McClintock Hamill, Pennsylvania Commissioner of Health Edward Martin, and the Governor of Pennsylvania, Gifford Pinchot.

Series 7.3 contains miscellaneous correspondence. Present are original incoming letters and copies of outgoing letters, primarily from Society secretaries Howard Childs Carpenter, John D. Donnelly, John P. Scott, James E. Bowman, Aims C. McGuinness, Sherman Little, and F. H. Harvie. Other correspondents in Series 7.3 include Society presidents Samuel McClintock Hamill, Ralph M. Tyson, H. Harris Perlman, A. Graeme Mitchell, J. P. Crozier Griffith, Paul B. Cassidy, and Samuel Goldberg.

Miscellaneous material is contained in Series 8. Series 9 includes the first, second, and third prize essays of the Society's Resident Prize Award of 1956.


  • 1896 - 1956


Biographical / Historical

The Philadelphia Pediatric Society was founded by J. P. Crozer Griffith in 1896. The idea for a pediatric society was formulated at an informal meeting, held in Griffith's office, at which Frederick A. Packard and Edwin E. Graham were present. These three founding members prepared a Constitution and By Laws for a proposed pediatric society; according to the constitution, the object of the society was "the promotion of the study of disease in children in all its branches, by the exhibition of cases, by the reading of papers and the holding of discussions and by the exhibition of pathological specimens and of apparatus bearing upon pediatrics". An official meeting was planned for 22 December 1896 at the College of Physicians on Thirteenth and Locust Streets. At this meeting, the Constitution and By Laws of the Society were accepted, and officers were selected. Griffith was elected to the presidency and presided over the Society's first scientific meeting on 12 January 1897.

On 12 January 1912, the date of its incorporation, the Philadelphia Pediatric Society contained more than two hundred members; by 1920, membership had climbed to over three hundred. In 1914, the Annual Frederick A. Packard Lecture was established in honor of the Society's second president. The Society also established a Biennial Prize Competition; the competition, which was open to physicians in practice for less than six years, was designed to stimulate interest in pediatrics among younger practitioners.

Over the years, the Philadelphia Pediatric Society remained actively involved in important issues affecting pediatrics and public health. The Society is perhaps best known for its Milk Commission, which was established in January 1899 to address rising concerns about the sale of contaminated raw milk. The Commission, consisting of a veterinarian, a chemist, and a bacteriologist who were appointed annually by the president of the Society, sought to establish and maintain high standards for milk production and distribution. The Commission also tried to educate the community and the medical profession about the health benefits derived from the consumption of "Certified Milk". In addition to its influential Milk Commission, the Philadelphia Pediatric Society also actively opposed antivivisection legislation and helped to create a Division ofjChild Hygiene in the State of Pennsylvania.


7 Linear feet (17 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The records of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society were deposited with the Historical Collections of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by the Society on 12 February 1957; the Resident Prize Essays were deposited by the Society on 22 May 1957. Each volume and box in the collection was assigned its own accession number; these accession numbers are listed on the finding aid.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1992.
Records of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society
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