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Yale University School of Medicine Miscellaneous Papers.

Call Number: Ms Coll 4

Scope and Contents

The first series consists predominantly of incoming correspondence to the Dean of the Medical Institution of Yale College (Yale University School of Medicine), the President of Yale College (Jeremiah Day, Theodore Woolsey, Noah Porter), or the Secretary of Yale College (Franklin B. Dexter). Included are responses to offers of chairs and letters of resignation of chairs. Also, there are a number of letters from graduates of the school who have not yet paid their fees. The second series contains reports of the joint committees of representatives of Yale and the Connecticut Medical Society for nominating professors and for examining candidates for the M.D.; various petitions from students to the medical school; correspondence and memorials from the Dean or medical faculty or committees of the medical faculty to the President and the Yale Corporation; and financial reports of the medical school and requests for appropriations. A number of papers document the medical school's unique relationship with the Connecticut Medical Society and its dissolution in 1879-1884; the school's reorganization as the Medical Department of Yale College in 1879; the School's agreement with the New Haven Dispensary to use its facilities for clinical teaching; and the serious financial problems of the school. Of special note are several early letters related to the organization of the Medical School in 1810-1812, including three letters from Benjamin Silliman to Jonathan Knight (Jr.) in 1812, two letters from Jonathan Knight, Sr. to Jonathan Knight in 1812, and a letter in 1810 from Timothy Gridley to Jonathan Knight, Sr. on recruiting Nathan Smith. The bulk of this collection dates from the deanship of Charles Augustus Lindsley (1863-1885).


  • 1810-1886
  • Majority of material found within 1863 - 1885


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Yale University/ Public domain.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred to the Medical Historical Library by the Beinecke Library in 1977. Previously the collection had been on long term loan to the Historical Library, since 1961, from the former Rare Book Room at Sterling Memorial Library.


Organized in two series: 1. Incoming Letters to the Dean or the Yale Administration. 2. Committees and Internal Records.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The collection contains papers of the Medical Institution of Yale College (Yale University School of Medicine) including correspondence, committee reports, financial reports, and memorials to the Yale Corporation, especially during the period when Charles A Linsdley served as Dean (1863-1885).

Biographical / Historical

The Medical Institution of Yale College was chartered by the Connecticut Legislature in 1810 as a joint project of Yale College and the Connecticut Medical Society. The Society, which had the state's power to set standards and to license candidates for medical practice, agreed to require a year of attendance at Yale or similar medical college in addition to an apprenticeship in order for a candidate to be licensed. Two years attendance were required for an M.D. In return, the representatives of the Society participated jointly with representatives of Yale in nominating professors for vacancies and in examining candidates for the license and the M.D. Leading members of the Medcial Society were invited to address the graduates at the commencement ceremony each year. Also, each county medical society could nominate a student for a free course of lectures for a year. The Medical Institution opened in 1813. with four teaching faculty: Nathan Smith, Benjamin Sillliman, Eli Ives, and Jonathan Knight. Students paid each professor directly for each course. In the period of the deanship of Charles Augustus Lindsley, this system underwent major changes. In 1875, the Medical Institution offered a three year graded course, but because of the agreement with the Connecticut Medical Society, the three years could not yet be required for an M.D. In two stages, 1879 and 1884, the agreement between the Society and Yale was dissolved, ending participation of the Society members on committees and allowing Yale to require the three-year course to obtain an M.D. In 1879, the medical school made an agreement to use the New Haven Dispensary, relocated near the medical school, for clinical teaching. The apprenticeship requirement was replaced by clinical teaching courses at the Dispensary. That same year, the Medical Institution of Yale College became the Medical Department of Yale College and obtained a new charter from the State Legislature. In 1880, students began to pay tuition to Yale College which then paid the professors. In this period, physician/professors made the bulk of their income through private practice. By the 1870s, the Medical School was running at a deficit, and was dependent upon the Corporation to make an annual appropriation from general funds.

Guide to the Yale University School of Medicine Miscellaneous Papers
Finding aid by Toby A. Appel based on the materials and previous finding aids by Zara Jones Powers (1959) and Stephen Yearl (as Medical Library Student Assistant).
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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