140,000 pages of early medical education records in Philadelphia to be digitized, thanks to a grant from the CLIR

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) recently announced that For the Health of the New Nation: Philadelphia as the Center of American Medical Education,1746-1868, received a Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant.

The grant was awarded to Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, along with six partners.

The goal of the grant is to expose the history of medical education in Philadelphia through the end of the Civil War. The two-year project will digitize, describe, and provide access to 140,000 pages of lecture tickets, course schedules, theses, commencement addresses, matriculation records, faculty lecture notes, and more. Records from the first degree-granting women’s medical college are included and student materials, including dissertations and class notes, will share the often-unheard voices of medical students.

Records will provide details on topics like pedagogical methods, the evolution of medical treatments, and American botany.

The project will provide the most comprehensive look at the history of medical education in Philadelphia, and therefore the country. As Beth Lander, Librarian at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and lead principal investigator states, “Philadelphia is a city of ‘firsts’ in the history of American medicine. Through these ‘firsts,’ the history of Philadelphia medicine is synonymous with the history of American medicine.”

Kelsey Duinkerken, Special Collections and Digital Services Librarian at Jefferson’s Scott Memorial Library, is a co-principal investigator for the project and co-wrote the grant application. “Because of physicians’ flow between institutions across the city, this project will allow physically siloed material to be viewed and analyzed in one place for the first time,” noted Duinkerken.

Partners in the project are The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine; University of Pennsylvania Libraries; Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Collections; The Library Company of Philadelphia; American Philosophical Society; and the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collection Libraries (PACSCL).

Digitized materials will be available in the Jefferson Digital Commons (JDC), the Internet Archive, and the Digital Public Library of America’s website.

This project is supported by a Digitizing Hidden Collections grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.