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Philadelphia General Hospital Osler Memorial Committee records

MSS 6/0005-02

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Creator:
Hunter, Robert J., (Robert John), 1882-1980
Creator:
Philadelphia General Hospital.
Title:
Philadelphia General Hospital Osler Memorial Committee records
Date [bulk]:
1940-1941
Date [inclusive]:
1940-1941 1894-1941
Call Number:
MSS 6/0005-02
Extent:
4 containers
Language:
English
Abstract:
The Osler Memorial Committee was formed in October 1939. The committee was appointed by David Riesman, President of the Medical Board of the Philadelphia General Hospital. The objective of the committee was to create a museum and memorial to Sir William Osler in the old autopsy house of the Philadelphia General Hospital and to organize a ceremony marking the dedication of the building. After the completion of its duties, the Osler Memorial Committee was discharged in December 1940. At this time, it was decided that a new committee, the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum Committee, would be appointed to oversee the daily administration of the museum. The records of the Osler Memorial Committee span 1894 to 1941; the bulk of the records date from 1940 to 1941. The collection consists of the files of Robert J. Hunter, chairman of the committee. Included in Hunter's files is material relating to the restoration of the old autopsy house at the Philadelphia General Hospital and its transformation into a museum and memorial to Sir William Osler. Also included are materials pertaining to the dedication of the building held on June 8, 1940. The collection contains correspondence, minutes, reports, notes, memoranda, programs, invitations, and drafts of speeches.
Cite as:
[Description and date of item], [Box/folder number], MSS 6/0005-02, Philadelphia General Hospital Osler Memorial Committee records, 1894-1941 (bulk: 1940-1941), Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
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Biography/History

The Osler Memorial Committee was formed in October 1939. The committee was appointed by David Riesman, President of the Medical Board of the Philadelphia General Hospital. The original members of the committee were chairman Robert J. Hunter, William G. Turnbull, and William E. Hughes; Riesman was an ex officio member. Later in the year, Marion Hague Rea, Abraham Cohen, William N. Bradley, and Jefferson H. Clark were selected to serve on the Osler Memorial Committee.

The committee held its first official meeting on December 6, 1939. The objective of the committee was to create a museum and memorial to Sir William Osler in the old autopsy house of the Philadelphia General Hospital and to organize a ceremony marking the dedication of the building. The dedication ceremony was held on June 8, 1940; in association with the dedication, the committee commissioned artist Dean Cornwell to paint a portrait of Osler. Cornwell's painting, "Osler at Old Blockley," had its premiere showing at the dedication. The committee also organized a special dinner for ex residents of the Philadelphia General Hospital, which was held on December 3, 1940.

After the completion of its duties, the Osler Memorial Committee was discharged in December 1940. At this time, it was decided that a new committee, the Osler Memorial and Blockley Historical Museum Committee, would be appointed to oversee the daily administration of the museum.

Scope and Contents

The records of the Osler Memorial Committee span 1894 to 1941; the bulk of the records date from 1940 to 1941. The collection consists of the files of Robert J. Hunter, chairman of the committee. Included in Hunter's files is material relating to the restoration of the old autopsy house at the Philadelphia General Hospital and its transformation into a museum and memorial to Sir William Osler. Also included are materials pertaining to the dedication of the building held on June 8, 1940. The collection contains correspondence, minutes, reports, notes, memoranda, programs, invitations, and drafts of speeches.

Series 1 contains Hunter's correspondence. The letters in Series 1.1 address the committee's attempt to retrieve historical records of the Philadelphia General Hospital from the Free Library of Philadelphia. Series 1.3 contains correspondence concerning the construction of a vault in the museum to hold these valuable records. Series 1.2 contains general correspondence. Included are letters from ex residents and contemporaries of Osler, many of which describe experiences at the Philadelphia General Hospital in the late nineteenth century. Also present are letters from Hunter in which he thanks individuals for their donations to the Osler Memorial museum; these letters provide a valuable record of the museum's accessions.

Correspondents in Series 1 include representatives of John Wyeth and Brother, Inc., a Philadelphia corporation that donated 5,000 toward the restoration of the old autopsy house; representatives of Ketcham and McQuade, the contractors who restored the building; artist Dean Cornwell; W. G. MacCallum and John L. Bower, contemporaries of Osler who spoke at the dedication; and Henry Ernest Sigerist, editor of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, who published an account of the dedication of the Osler Memorial in his journal. Series 2 contains minutes, memoranda, and reports to the Medical Board of the Philadelphia General Hospital which document the committee's activities. The minutes also provide a detailed record of museum accessions. Also present in Series 2 are Hunter's typescript and autograph notes pertaining to his work on the committee. Hunter's "Future Plans" folder contains several interesting miscellaneous items, including a 1913 photograph of Osler making the rounds at Bayview Hospital, and three typescript letters, signed, from Osler to William E. Parker, all dating from 1894.

Series 3 contains acceptance and regret letters from individuals who were invited to the dedication of the Osler Memorial, including former Philadelphia General Hospital residents and interns, officials from state and local government, prominent Philadelphia social figures, the presidents of medical colleges and universities, and representatives from hospitals and medical societies. Because of Osler's nationality and his association with McGill University, many of individuals on the guest list are Canadians. Miscellaneous material pertaining to the dedication of the Osler Memorial is contained in Series 4. Included are drafts of the program and drafts of speeches presented by Robert J. Hunter, W. G. MacCallum, John L. Bower, and others. In processing the collection, Hunter's original filing system was preserved as much as possible. When available, the labels Hunter wrote on his boxes and file folders were maintained; they appear in quotation marks on the finding aid. Pages in the collection that were highly acidic were photocopied onto acid free paper. The originals were discarded unless they contained any holograph markings, in which case the original was preserved in an acid free folder and kept with the photocopy.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Sponsor

The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the College of Physicians Historical Medical Library with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The records of the Osler Memorial Committee were placed on permanent loan in the Historical Collections of the Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by the Philadelphia City Archives on 18 January 1978. The records are owned by the City of Philadelphia.

Processing Information note

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1992.

The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project, 2009-2011.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

College of Physicians of Philadelphia: There are several collection regarding the Philadelphia General Hospital. Researchers should consult the College of Physicians Historical Medical Library website (http://www.collphyphil.org/Site/manuscripts.html) for a complete list.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • Blockley Almshouse.
  • Philadelphia General Hospital.
Form/Genre(s)
  • Correspondence
  • Minutes
  • Reports
Geographic Name(s)
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)
Personal Name(s)
  • Osler, William, Sir, 1849-1919
Subject(s)
  • Hospitals
  • Medical museums
  • Medicine
  • Medicine--History
  • Urban hospitals

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Collection Inventory

Series I. "Correspondence of the Committee Chairman".

"Osler/Old Books".

Box Folder

Correspondence, 1930 February 19-1940 November 6.

1 1

Lists of Titles, 1940 May-1941 January.

1 2

"Osler/Attended to".

Box Folder

Correspondence, 1939 September-December.

1 3

Correspondence, 1940 January-April.

1 4

Correspondence, 1940 May.

1 5

Correspondence, 1940 June.

1 6

Correspondence, 1940 July-August.

1 7

Correspondence, 1940 September-October.

1 8

Correspondence, 1940 November-December.

1 9

Correspondence, 1941 January-May.

1 10

Notes, 1940 March 25-1941 April 12.

1 11

Guest Lists, circa 1940.

1 12

Miscellaneous, circa 1940.

1 13

"Osler/Shelving Vault".

Box Folder

Correspondence, 1940 February 20-December 3.

1 14

Notes, drawings, blueprint, circa 1940.

1 15

Trade catalogue, circa 1940.

1 16

"Osler/Replies from Medical Journals".

Box Folder

Correspondence, 1940 May 18-July 19.

1 17

Announcements, 1940 May 31-July 20.

1 18

"Osler/Acknowledgements of Reprints Dedication of Osler Memorial Building".

Box Folder

1941 July-December.

1 19-20

Series II. "Minutes and future plans".

"Osler/Minutes of Dr. Rea".

Box Folder

Correspondence, 1939 November 13-1943 December 3.

2 1

Minutes, 1939 December 6-1941 April 14.

2 2

Notes, 1940 February-December.

2 3

Reports, 1940 March 23-1941 April 14.

2 4

Memoranda, 1940 April.

2 5

"Osler/Future Plans".

Box Folder

Notes, 1941January 9-December 8.

2 6

Correspondence, 1941 January 10-December 26.

2 7

Reports, 1941 December 15.

2 8

Miscellaneous, 1894 April 19-1941 December 17.

2 9

Series III. "Regrets and acceptances".

Box Folder

"Regrets", 1940 May-June.

2 10-22

"Acceptances", 1940 May-June.

2 23-30

Series IV. Miscellaneous.

"Osler/Program".

Box Folder

circa 1940.

2 31-32

Speeches.

Box Folder

Robert J. Hunter, circa 1940.

2 33

W. G. MacCallum, circa 1940.

2 34

Miscellaneous, circa 1940.

2 35