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Correspondence concerning Robert Abbe from the Office of the Secretary of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

 Collection
Identifier: CPP 1/003-02
This collection of records of the secretary of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, spanning 1919 to 1939, was compiled by John H. Girvin, Secretary of the College from 1919 to 1934. Included is correspondence, printed material, and photographs pertaining to Associate Fellow Robert Abbe and the custodianship of the Abbe Cabinet. Series 1 contains letters written to Girvin and Librarian Charles Perry Fisher, with carbon copies of some of Fisher's replies. The primary correspondent is William W, Keen, custodian of the Abbe Cabinet from 1924 to 1928. The collection also includes letters from previous custodians, Simon Flexner and William Henry Welch, and several letters written by Robert Abbe before his death on 7 March 1928. Other correspondents include E. B. Krumbhaar, Walter Mendelson, and William J, Taylor. Of special interest is a letter from Louis B. Laplace to Robert Abbe (with Abbe's letter of 23 September 1926) in which Laplace explains that the flask given to his father by Louis Pasteur will not be available for display in the Abbe Cabinet. The letters written after Robert Abbe's death document William W. Keen's activities as custodian of the Abbe Cabinet. Keen, who was spending the summer of 1928 in Mohonk Lake, New York, corresponded frequently with Girvin and Fisher. The topics addressed in Keen's letters include the purchase of a museum case from the Library Bureau, the addition of the Harvey cup and saucer and Abbe mementos to the Abbe Cabinet, and the establishment of the "Dr. Robert Abbe Collection of Medical Medals". Keen also announces his intention to write a history of the Abbe Cabinet and its conten~.:,; he planned to read his history at a L.:ollege meeting in the fall of 1928, before he surrendered the custodianship of the Abbe Cabinet to William J, Mayo. Series 2 contains items compiled by Abbe's secretary, May Moon. This material was sent to Girvin for use in a memorial volume to Robert Abbe. Included are two letters to Girvin from May Moon; bookplates and printed material from Lafayette National Park (now Acadia National Park) in Bar Harbor, Maine; the program from the dedication of the Robert Abbe Museum, also in Bar Harbor; numerous obituaries and memoirs of Robert Abbe; and photoprints of the Robert Abbe Memorial Museum and Abbe's homes in Philadelphia and Bar Harbor. Of special interest is a signed letter (in French, 21 March 1922) to Robert Abbe from Marie Curie. Miscellaneous printed material and photographs are contained in Series 3. Included are two pamphlets entitled "The Custodianship of Rush-Jenner-Pasteur-Lister-Curie Mementos in the Cabinet of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia" (ca. 1920 and 1939) and sales pamphlets from the Library Bureau (1923). Also present is a photoprint of Walter Mendelson (1922) and a photoprint of Robert Abbe.

Dates

  • 1919 - 1939
  • Majority of material found within 1928 - 1929

Creator

Extent

.4 Linear feet (1 box)

Overview

The office of the Secretary of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was created during the organization of the College in 1787. The Secretary is the appointed officer of record. His original duties were to record the minutes and transactions of the College and preserve its documents and correspondence.

This collection includes correspondence, printed material, and photographs pertaining to Associate Fellow Robert Abbe and the custodianship of the Abbe Cabinet.

Biographical / Historical

The office of the Secretary of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was created during the organization of the College in 1787. The Secretary is the appointed officer of record. His original duties were to record the minutes and transactions of the College and preserve its documents and correspondence. In 1834, the Secretary was also empowered to keep lists of the fellows and provide them with certificates of membership. In 1863, the responsibility for notifying officers and committee members of election or appointaent devolved upon the Secretary. An annual report on the fellowship became part of the Secretary's responsibilities in 1870. At this time, a related office, the Recorder, was created to keep the minutes of all scientific sessions. The office of Recorder was abolished in 1914, and a salaried position, the Clerk, was created under the Secretary; the Secretary devoted himself to matters of fellowship while the Clerk preserved the minutes and papers of the College. The position of Clerk was abolished in 1925, and his duties were returned to the Secretary. In 1990, the Secretary was empowered to perform "all the duties appropriate to his or her post as the elected recording officer of the College and assure the duties and powers of the President in the absence or temporary incapacity of both the President and President-Elect".

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection of records of the secretary of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia was donated to the Committee on College Collections by Francis R, Packard, 302 South 19th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 18 July 1935. Included in this donation were materials sent to John H, Girvin, Secretary of the College, by May Moon, 132 William Street, East Orange, New Jersey, on 17 June 1929, for use in a memorial volume to Robert Abbe. The collection was processed and cataloged in 1991.
Title
Correspondence concerning Robert Abbe from the Office of the Secretary of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

Contact:
19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States
215-399-2001