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Jacob Solis-Cohen papers

Identifier: MSS 2/046

Scope and Contents

The John Solis Cohen papers consist of five collections. This first collection contains correspondence, addresses, and published and unpublished manuscripts of articles and textbooks documenting J. Solis Cohen's research, labors, and concerns in the fields of laryngology and tuberculosis throughout most of his professional career. The other four collections consist of three volumes of scrapbooks the case of Emperor Frederick III of Germany and seven volumes of lecture notes.

For a more detailed description of the materials included, please the "Scope and Content" note for each series.


  • 1856 - 1922


Biographical / Historical

Jacob da Silva Solis Cohen was born in New York on 28 February 1838. He was the eldest son of Myer David and Judith Simirah da Silva Solis-Cohen. The Cohens moved to Philadelphia in 1840. J. Solis-Cohen married Miriam Binswanger on 10 February 1874. They had nine children. Cohen died in Philadelphia on 22 December 1927.

Cohen attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College (1857-1858), then travelled to Memphis, Tennessee. Upon his return to Philadelphia, he entered the University of Pennsylvania and received his M.D. in 1860. He served a brief residency at the Pennsylvania Hospital, but resigned due to the Civil War. During the war, Cohen served as Assistant Surgeon to the 26th Pennsylvania Regiment (1861), Acting Assistant Surgeon to the United States Navy (18611864), and, finally, Visiting Surgeon to army hospitals in Philadelphia until the war's end.

In 1866, Solis-Cohen opened his private practice in Philadelphia; he concentrated on diseases of the throat and chest. In 1867, he became the first American to perform a successful laryngotomy for removal of a cancerous growth, although he opposed this operation because of its high risks. Solis-Cohen also performed the first closed field laryngotomy in 1892. He had a strong interest in tuberculosis as well and was a vigorous supporter of Edward Livingstone's work at Saranac.

In 1866, Solis-Cohen established regularly organized lectures in laryngology at the Philadelphia School of Anatomy. In the following year, he assumed the post of Lecturer in Electrotherapeutics at Jefferson Medical College, then became Lecturer in Laryngoscopy and Diseases of the Chest in 1869. In 1882, Solis-Cohen helped to establish the Philadelphia Polyclinic and College for Graduates in Medicine and became Professor of Diseases of the Throat and Chest there. He was also Professor of Physiology at the Wagner Free Institute of Science, Visiting Physician to the German Hospital, Physician to St. Mary's Hospital, and Consulting Physician to the Jewish Hospital. An honorary professorship in laryngology was created for J. Solis-Cohen at Jefferson in 1890-1891. By 1895, he had virtually retired from teaching.

Solis-Cohen published several works including Inhalation: its therapeutics and practice (1867); Diseases of the throat (1872 and revised as Diseases of the throat and nasal passages in 1879); Croup and its relation to tracheotomy (1874); and The throat and the voice (1879).

His professional activities and affiliations were numerous. He helped to establish the American Laryngological Association in 1878, served as President from 1880 to 1882, and edited Archives of laryngology in 1880. He was also president of the Northern Medical Association (1875) and the Philadelphia County Medical Society (1887-1888). He became a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1871.


19 items (10 volumes and 9 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The Jacob Solis-Cohen papers consists of five collections, most likely donated to the College by Solis-Cohen or his family.

For a more detailed provenance, please see the "Custodial History" note for each series.
Jacob Solis-Cohen papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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