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Society of Clinical Surgery records

Call Number: MS 1267

Scope and Contents

The records of the Society of Clinical Surgery consist of correspondence, minutes, lists of members, programs, reports, and photographs, which document the founding of the Society, as well as its meetings from 1903 until the 2010s. The records also include histories of the Society.

The records are arranged in sections: Correspondence, Histories, Meetings, and Membership. Correspondence includes exchanges between members on organizational and historical matters from the beginning of the Society until 1977. Most of the correspondence is loose and arranged in chronological order. Folder 1, however, contains a bound volume of the earliest correspondence. Manuscript drafts, illustrations, and printed copies of the Cushing and Shumacker histories of the Society are filed under Histories, while bibliographies of members and printed membership rosters and biographies of members, published with the Society's constitution, are found filed under Membership.

The bulk of the records is arranged under Meetings. This material includes meeting registers and at least one folder of material for meetings of the Society, from its 1st in 1903 through its 134th in 1977, with the exception of the 64th, 76th, 92nd, 121st, or 131st meetings. Folders may contain the meeting program, minutes from the meeting, reports, photographs, and memorabilia. For the 40th meeting, held in 1925 in Europe, there are annotated photograph albums and negatives matching the prints in them. No meetings were held between the 74th in 1942 and the 75th in 1946. A war report of the Society is filed between the folders for these two meetings. At the end of this section, in folders 169-175, there are bound volumes containing minutes, reports, and programs. While most of the material in these volumes is printed and duplicates materials in the files for individual meetings, volumes in folders 169-170 contain typed copies of minutes. An addition to the collection is similarly arranged. A second addition to the collection contains administrative files, meeting files, membership files, photographs, and computer files.


  • 1903-2012


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the Society of Clinical Surgery has been transferred to Yale University. These materials may be used for non-commercial purposes without seeking permission from Yale University as the copyright holder. For other uses of these materials, please contact

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

Transferred from the Yale University Historical Medical Library, 1980, and gift of the Society of Clinical Surgery, 1992, 2004, and 2019.


The records are arranged under four headings and two additions: Correspondence, Histories, Meetings, and Membership.


6.26 Linear Feet (35 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The records consist of correspondence, minutes, membership lists, programs, reports, and photographs which document the founding of the Society of Clinical Surgery, as well as its meetings from 1903-1998. The records also include histories of the society by Harvey Cushing, Harris B. Shumacker, Jr., and Wiley Barker.

Biographical / Historical

The Society of Clinical Surgery was founded in 1903 as a travel club for young surgeons. Charter members included James G. Mumford, George E. Brewer, Harvey Cushing, Charles H. Frazier, George W. Crile, and John C. Munro.

The activities of the Society are directed toward the general advancement of surgery. The Society seeks to stimulate its members to work along lines of original thought and investigation in the clinic, laboratory, or library and to develop and improve methods of surgical teaching.

The size of the Society's membership is deliberately kept small. Members are elected and must be between the ages of thirty and fifty-five. They must have an official connection with some medical institution, whether school, hospital, or laboratory.

Through its meetings, the Society affords members opportunities to demonstrate advances in operative methods and surgical teaching. Meeting hosts arrange presentations and demonstrations at their institutions to help keep members abreast of current surgical ideas and techniques. The meetings also include dinners and receptions, which provide time for socializing.

Though meetings have been held primarily in the United States, a few meetings were held abroad and offered surgeons the opportunity for foreign travel. Until 1974, the Society usually met twice a year. Then, the Society adopted a policy of single annual meetings.

Custodial History

Some records of the Society were transferred to Manuscripts and Archives in 1980 from the Medical Historical Library. These records appear to have been collected to some extent by Harvey Cushing, who served as president of the Society and who wrote a history of the Society's founding. The Society gave additional records to the department in 1992, 2004, and 2019. Some of these records were collected by Harris B. Shumacker, Jr. for his history of the Society.

Guide to the Society for Clinical Surgery Records
Under Revision
compiled by Diane Kaplan and Kimberly Saylor and staff of Manuscripts and Archives
October 1992
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
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