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George S. Crampton papers

Identifier: MSS 2/189

Scope and Contents

This small collection of biographical information, correspondence, photographs, maps, and awards, 1894-1988, highlights notable events in the career of George Sumner Crampton.

Series 1 contains biographical information, primarily printed, 1894-1988, concerning George S. Crampton, his work, and his wife's family, the Smedes family.

A miscellaneous collection of Crampton's correspondence, 1903-1959, is in Series 2. Most of these letters are personal, though many contain some professional information. There are several letters documenting Crampton's professional appointments and his development of the electric ophthalmoscope.

The bulk of the collection, Series 3, 1911-1919, contains details of Crampton's military service during World War I. Most of his movements, from his commission to his discharge, are documented through military orders and memoranda. The series also contains a detailed statistical report of casualties treated in the hospitals of the American Expeditionary Forces during the final months of the war; Crampton's own design for a latrine fly trap; and twenty maps of France, including a detail of the order of battle as situated at the conclusion of the war on 11 November 1918. Some photographs of Crampton during World War I are contained in Series 5.

Series 4 contains correspondence, newsclippings, and related material concerning Crampton's awards and professional affiliations, 1897-1958. The receipt of two awards, the Gold Medal Award of the Illuminating Engineering Society and the Edward Longstreth Medal of the Franklin Institute, is particularly well documented. The file on the Longstreth Medal contains a detailed report to the Committee on Science and the Arts concerning Crampton's development of the borescope.

Photographs of George S. Crampton, 1894-1958, including studio portraits, some photographs from his army service in France, and images of Crampton with the borescope, are contained in Series 5. The series also contains two lantern slides, 1925, showing architectural details from the restoration of the operating theater at Pennsylvania Hospital.


  • 1894 - 1959


Biographical / Historical

George Sumner Crampton, Philadelphia ophthalmologist, was born in Rock Island, Illinois, on 10 March 1874. He married Hazel Smedes in 1907. Crampton died of cerebral thrombosis on 12 November 1962.

Crampton received his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1898. He served a residency at Pennsylvania Hospital. During World War I, Crampton was Director of Field Hospitals in the 28th Division of the U.S. Army.

He was chief of the eye clinic at Pennsylvania Hospital, oculist to the Philadelphia Orphanage, attending surgeon to the Pennsylvania Hospital for Contagious Diseases, and professor of ophthalmology at the Graduate School of Medicine in the University of Pennsylvania. Crampton was also the founder and owner of the Lenox Instrument Company and known for his development of the borescope, an instrument for the internal inspection of industrial parts, and an electric ophthalmoscope.

George Sumner Crampton was a member of the American Medical Association, American Ophthalmological Association, American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Optical Society of America, and the Illuminating Engineering Society. He was elected to fellowship in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1907.


.75 Linear feet

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The George S. Crampton Papers were donated to the Historical Collections of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by Mrs. Richard S. Crampton on 19 March 1991.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1991.
George S. Crampton papers
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