Pittsburgh Academy of Medicine Records

What's online?

Select portions of the Pittsburgh Academy of Medicine Records have been digitized and made available online.

What's in the entire collection?

The records consist of legal and administrative files, corresponence, membership records, publications, and meeting minutes and programs documenting the activity of the Pittsburgh Academy of Medicine. Of particular note are the documents relating to the medical library, which was heavily used by area physicians and medical students from its initial lease by the Academy in 1896 through the 1940s. Additionally, there are substantial legal and administrative records detailing the work of Academy committees and individual members in Western Pennsylvania and, in some cases, regionally and nationally. There is also some documentation of the leisure and social activity of the Academy, through meeting minutes, the group's non-scientific publications and plays, and photographs of banquets. Finally, the scientific presentations at meetings of the Academy are well-documented, including programs and notices from meetings, brief minutes for meetings, and the full text of many of the scientific papers presented between 1914 and 1935. Some papers are presentations of original research or informative presentations on disease strains and new treatments, while others are analyses of individual medical case studies.

About the Pittsburgh Academy of Medicine

The Pittsburgh Academy of Medicine was founded in 1889 for "the promotion of the science and art of medicine," according to its charter. It continued to function for a century as a social club for physicians, a forum for presentation of medical research and discussion of medical cases, and, through its library, a source of medical reference information to Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. According to Theodore Diller, an early member, the Academy was founded by a group of doctors unhappy with the atmosphere and depth of scientific inquiry offered by the Allegheny County Medical Society. Early meetings were held in a room near the Coroner's Office, though the Academy would purchase a building at 322 N. Craig Street in Pittsburgh in 1916 where they held regular business meetings, banquets, and, most notably, presentations of scientific papers and research. Applications for admission into the Academy were reviewed by a committee and members were expected to attend meetings regularly and pay annual dues. The Academy leased a medical library from the Pittsburgh Medical Library Association in 1896; the Academy purchased the library soon thereafter. Access to the library was free to Academy members as well as to university and college students and saw regular use by both groups for many years. By the 1930s, the library totaled over 15,000 volumes, but by the 1950s other medical libraries, including the library of the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, gained prominence and led to decreased use of the Academy's collection. The library was sold to the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1967. In 1968 the Academy sold its building on Craig Street and moved to the offices of the Allegheny County Medical Society. Regular Academy meetings and scientific programs continued until at least the early 1970s, though the date that the Academy was dissolved remains unclear.

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