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Records of the Teratology Society

Identifier: MSS 3/015

Scope and Contents

The collection, 1954-1988, contains the official archival records of the Teratology Society, preserved by its secretaries, along with the personal papers of the society's first president, Josef Warkany, and files of Narsingh D. Agnish, Secretary of the society's Education Committee.

The papers of pediatrician and teratology researcher, Josef Warkany, in Series 1, 1954-1981, document the formation of the Teratology Society and proceedings of its early meetings, as well as the development of the society out of a series of teratology conferences held in the 1950s. Series 1.1 contains Warkany's correspondence concerning the organization of and arrangements for four conferences on teratology, 1954-1960. Included are abstracts of presentations, a holograph address by Josef Warkany, correspondence concerning the publication of the proceedings from the first conference, and information on the organization of the Teratology Society with a draft of its first constitution and bylaws. The society was organized during the fourth teratology conference in 1960.

Warkany's personal files on the annual meetings of the Teratology Society, 1959-1981, are preserved in Series 1.2. There is considerable documentation of the society's organizational meeting in 1960 and Warkany's term as the first president, including correspondence with the society's charter members. Most of the annual meeting files includejabstracts of papers presented; programs; nominations for membership; and Warkany's correspondence with participants in the scientific sessions of the annual meetings. Series 1.2 also contains several holographs and typescripts of presentations made by Josef Warkany, including two addresses on the history of the Teratology Society.

Dr. Warkany's correspondence from five workshops on teratology, 1963-1967, is in Series 1.3. These workshops were sponsored by the Commission on Drug Safety as a response to the thalidomide crisis in the early 1960s. The files include several presentations by Warkany as well as his correspondence with Duke C. Trexler, Executive Director of the Commission on Drug Safety, and Danish researcher Birthe Palludan, who was responsible for the arrangements for the first International Workshop in Teratology, held in Copenhagen in 1966.

A small amount of Josef Warkany's correspondence with other organizations, 1960-1981, documenting his membership in the European Society of Teratology and advisory relationships with the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, is in Series 1.4.

The existing files from the Office of the Secretary of the Teratology Society, 1961-[ongoing], are in Series 2. There is minimal documentation of the society's affairs, other than its financial status, before the mid 1970s. Generally, the files are clustered around each annual meeting of the society, 1972-1991, and include correspondence; reports on finances and membership; and documentation of the arrangements for and proceedings of the annual meetings, including minutes of the business sessions and Council and reports of several standing committees. The principal secretaries represented in the subseries are Andrew G. Hendrickx, Carole A. Kimmel, and Sally Y. Long.

Series 3, 1982-1988, contains the correspondence files of Narsingh D. Agnish, Secretary of the Education Committee of the Teratology Society, concerning the role of the committee and the organization and evaluation of refresher courses in teratology. The series also includes manuals used as texts during the first five refresher courses.


  • 1954 - [ongoing]


Biographical / Historical

The Teratology Society, a national organization, was established in 1960 to promote the study and exchange of information on abnormal biological development and malformations. The first president of the Teratology Society was Josef Warkany. In 1968, the society established its own journal, Teratology. As of 1992, the Teratology Society is an active organization.

The affairs of the society are administered by its Council, consisting of all society officers, the most recent pastpresident, and three additional elected members. The officers of the society include a president and presidentelect, both serving one year terms, and a secretary and treasurer, serving two year terms.


5.4 Linear feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Records of the Teratology Society, 1954-1988, were deposited with the Historical Collections of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by the Society on 2 May 1989 and processed and catalogued in 1992.

Records of the annual meetings, 1989-1991, were donated to the Historical Collections of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by the Society on 8 December 1992. This material was processed and integrated with the initial deposit of records in 1994.


Records of the Teratology 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