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Medical college catalogs, introductory and valedictory addresses, and ephemera collection

Call Number: Pam Coll 1

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of annual catalogs, addresses, lectures, and miscellaneous printed material documenting over 150 medical colleges and homeopathic, eclectic, and osteopathic schools in the United States from the early 1800s to the mid-1900s. The bulk of the materials date from the nineteenth century. Most institutions are documented with only a few items, but a few institutions are documented extensively, including the University College of Physicians, Albany Medical College, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia. Howard University, a historically black college and university (HBCU), as well as a handful of women's medical colleges are also represented in the collection.

Materials in the collection provide an overall picture of medical education in the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the formalization of medical education. The publications found in the collection "typically include a history of the institution, a list of required and recommended books, a description of the courses, lists of cases and operations, a register of students, graduates, and faculty, and fees. These publications are also an unexpectedly rich resource in pictorial matter especially in the depictions of buildings that may no longer be extant, frequently including floorplans and maps. Oftentimes, the publications include significant information such as a description of the locale which may mention the cost of living and climate."

This collection also provides examples of nineteenth-century ephemeral printing. The illustrations found in catalogs and announcements appear frequently. They "often reflect change in the institution and the modernization of the era. More importantly, the interiors of laboratories, classrooms, amphitheaters, and hospital wards are depicted."

The information for this finding aid, including this contextual note, is taken from Braun, Janice, Index to the Medical School Catalog and Ephemera Collection. New Haven: s.n., 1991.


  • 1807-1965


Language of Materials

The materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection published before 1925 are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Provenance for much of the materials is unknown. Bulk of materials are a gift of John F. Fulton, [date unknown]; Creighton Barker, 1957; and William Helfand, 2014. The collection also includes purchases and transfers from the Medical Historical Library's general collection.


The collection is arranged in series by state, with sub-series by institution, and each institution further organized into two sub-series: Catalogs and announcements and/or Ephemera and lectures. Individual items in these sub-series are arranged chronologically. Series numbers for states and four digit subseries numbers for institutions are from American Medical Association directories published in the early 20th century.

Related Materials

The student publications, The Jeffersonian of the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia, and The Medical Student of Boston University, were removed from the collection and catalogued separately in Orbis. Additionally, many catalogues and addresses of the Medical Institution of Yale College have been individually catalogued in Orbis.

See also: Braun, Janice, Index to the Medical School Catalog and Ephemera Collection. New Haven: s.n., 1991.


15 Linear Feet (35 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The collection contains published annual catalogs of American medical colleges, introductory addresses given by physicians at the beginning of the school year or at the beginning of specific courses, valedictory addresses given by prominent physicians at graduation ceremonies, and various ephemera. Some irregular medical institutions are represented, including homeopathic, eclectic, and osteopathic schools and some schools of dentistry. Catalogues and addresses of the Medical Institution of Yale College have been individually cataloged and few appear in this collection. Also many addresses have been individually cataloged and do not appear here.

Guide to the Medical College Catalogs, Introductory and Valedictory Addresses, and Ephemera Collection
compiled by Michelle Peralta
April 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Medical Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library Repository

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