Hahnemann University Academic Affairs records
Scope and Contents
The Hahnemann University Academic Affairs records house the files of Hahnemann University and its various iterations, beginning with Homeopathic Medical College. This collection, which dates from 1848 to 2009, with bulk dates of 1928 to 1994, consists of annual and accreditation reports; minutes, memoranda, and correspondence from various committees, councils, and departments; records of student life and research; departmental research and publications; curriculum development and teaching materials; and other records created as a result of medical school governance. This collection thoroughly evidences the challenges, mission, accomplishments, and changes seen by a long-standing medical education program, and provides a rich account of what a medical school must accomplish to maintain a relevant and challenging curriculum, attract a student body, acquire research funding, and benefit its surrounding community.
The collection is arranged into ten series: “I. Academic Affairs Council/Medical College Council, 1928-1996,” “II. Administration and faculty, 1848-2006,” “III. Medical education and curriculum, 1962-1989,” “IV. Student life and research, 1849-1994,” “V. Academic departments, 1928-1995,” “VI. Graduate School, 1924-1994,” “VII. Allied Health Professions, 1913-1997,” “VIII. School of Nursing, 1905-1989,” “IX. School of Continuing Education, 1959-1992,” and “X. Publications, 1848-2009.”
This collection is unique in its documentation of Hahnemann University and the many transformations since its founding as the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. The records evidence the development and governance of a school of medicine with origins in the mid-19th century, as well as shifting trends in the medical field away from homeopathy and towards more orthodox practices. The records provide a close look at the governance of a medical school, especially from the view of the deans and department heads, whose correspondence, memoranda, and reports often paint a vivid picture of various duties and challenges that the school faced. Additionally, the thorough accreditation documentation offers detailed and rich examples of the rigorous survey process and ongoing maintenance procedures required of medical schools. Student produced materials, such as newspapers and brochures, uniquely document the perspective of medical students throughout the history of the institution. While other medical school records exist elsewhere, this collection provides a unique perspective on a school rooted in alternative medicine that evolved to remain prominent in the ever-shifting realms of medical education, research, and practice.
Please see individual series’ descriptions and folder lists for more information.
- 1848 - 2009
- Majority of material found within 1928 - 1994
- Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia (Organization)
Language of Materials
English, Chinese, Spanish, Swedish
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research use.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote, or reproduce the material.
Hahnemann University’s long history begins in 1848 with the founding of the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania by Drs. Jacob Jeanes, Walter Williamson, and Constantine Hering. The college began in rented rooms at the rear of a pharmacy in the 200 block of Arch Street with just 15 students and 8 instructors, but grew quickly, moving to a new location the following year at 11th and Filbert Streets.
A split in the college came in 1867 when Dr. Hering resigned after a disagreement with Dr. Adolphe Lippe. Hering and a group of physicians purchased the charter for the Washington Medical College, a defunct medical school in Philadelphia. They quickly changed its name to Hahnemann Medical College, in honor of Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician and pioneer of homeopathic medicine, and elected Hering as Dean. However, in 1869 the two colleges merged back together under the new name, Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia. Hahnemann and a neighboring hospital merged in 1884, forming the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia. Then, in 1890, a new hospital unit and the School of Nursing opened.
Significant advancements from this time include the addition of one of the finest surgical amphitheatres in the country, and the award winning dissection of a complete human nervous system, commonly known as “Harriet,” by Dr. Rufus Weaver. Further advancements and accomplishments for Hahnemann include the first school of X-ray technology in the country (1921), a new 20-story hospital (1928), the first recording of human heart sounds (1939), the world’s first successful closed-heart surgical repair of mitral valve stenosis (1948) by Dr. Charles P. Baily, and the development of the country’s first cross-disciplinary Cardiovascular Institute under the direction of Dr. William Likoff.
In the middle and later twentieth century, with the decline of homeopathy, Hahnemann re-invented itself as a nationally known academic medical center with prominence in cardiac surgery and cardiology, oncology, transplantation, training of non-physician health professionals, community health, and community mental health. The Graduate School of the Basic Medical Sciences was organized in 1949, leading to the first PhD granted in 1956. A symposia program began in 1958 that grew to include multiple faculty presentations each year, eventually leading to a continuing education program, and later, the School of Continuing Education (1972). This period also saw growth of affiliate programs, residency programs, faculty appointments, and a focus on research and increased research facilities with a marked effort on educating academically deprived or otherwise disadvantaged students.
A new building for the School of Nursing (1963), the New College Building (1973), and the North Tower (1979) added lecture, teaching, medical practice, operating, and research space to the College. The College of Allied Health Professions was formed in 1968, with two- and four-year programs offered in nine different fields. In 1981, Hahnemann gained university status and became Hahnemann University, with four fully accredited schools: the School of Medicine, the Graduate School, the School of Allied Health Professions, and the School of Continuing Education.
Running almost in parallel, the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania (1850-1867) was the world's first medical school for women. This became Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1867 and then Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP) in 1970 when male students began to be accepted. In 1987, MCP and its affiliate hospitals were acquired by the Allegheny Health, Education, and Research Foundation (AHERF). And in 1993, AHERF acquired Hahnemann University and its affiliated hospital. Hahnemann University and MCP were fully merged in 1996 to form MCP Hahnemann School of Medicine of Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, the largest private medical school in the country. However, just a few years later in 1998, AHERF declared bankruptcy.
The assets of Allegheny University were transferred to the nonprofit MCP Hahnemann University, with Drexel University agreeing to assume operation of the university. In 2002, the Drexel University board of trustees voted unanimously in favor of merging MCP Hahnemann University into Drexel, renaming the school as the Drexel University College of Medicine.
"History." Drexel University College of Medicine. Accessed April 16, 2014. http://www.drexelmed.edu/Home/AbouttheCollege/History.aspx
"History of the Institution." Drexel University College of Medicine: Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections. Accessed on April 16, 2014. http://archives.drexelmed.edu/history.php
Rogers, Naomi. An Alternative Path: The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1998.
Schwartz, Lynne, ed. "From Yesterday to Today: 133 Proud Years of Passage" The World of Hahnemann 7, no. 6 (November/December 1981).
Wells, George Harlan. "A History of the Department of Medicine at the Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia." June 1965.
240 linear feet
Hahnemann University’s long history began in 1848 with the founding of the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. Over the years, the institution evolved in many ways, eventually becoming Hahnemann University and, later, the Drexel University College of Medicine. In the mid- to late-twentieth century, with the decline of homeopathy, Hahnemann re-invented itself as a nationally known academic medical center with prominence in cardiac surgery and cardiology, oncology, transplantation, training of non-physician health professionals, community health, and community mental health. This expertise led to many firsts for Hahnemann, including international advances in cardiac surgery.
The Hahnemann University Academic Affairs records house the files of Hahnemann University and date from 1848 to 2009. The collection consists of annual and accreditation reports; minutes, memoranda, and correspondence from various committees, councils, and departments; records of student life and research; departmental research and publications; curriculum development and teaching materials; and other records created as a result of medical school governance. This collection thoroughly evidences the challenges, mission, accomplishments, and changes of a long-standing medical education program. While similar medical school records likely exist elsewhere, this collection provides a unique perspective on a school rooted in alternative medicine that evolved to remain prominent in the ever-shifting realms of medical education, research, and practice.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Received over a period of years as internal transfers.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
This collection was minimally processed in 2013-2014, as part of an experimental project conducted under the auspices of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries to help eliminate processing backlog in Philadelphia repositories. A minimally processed collection is one processed at a less intensive rate than traditionally thought necessary to make a collection ready for use by researchers. When citing sources from this collection, researchers are advised to defer to folder titles provided in the finding aid rather than those provided on the physical folder.
Employing processing strategies outlined in Mark Greene's and Dennis Meissner's 2005 article "More Product, Less Process: Revamping Traditional Processing Approaches to Deal With Late 20th-Century Collections," the project team tested the limits of minimal processing on collections of all types and ages in 16 Philadelphia area repositories. A primary goal of the project, the team processed at an average rate of 4 hours per linear foot of records, a fraction of the time ordinarily reserved for the arrangement and description of collections. Among other time saving strategies, the project team did not extensively review the content of the collections or complete any preservation work.
- Administrative records
- Administrative reports
- Annual reports
- DiPalma, Joseph R., M.D.
- Drexel University College of Medicine
- Fenichel, Carol Hansen
- Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia
- Hahnemann University
- Hospitals -- United States
- Likoff, William
- Medical College of Pennsylvania
- Medical colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Medical personnel
- Medical students
- Nursing schools -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
- Philadelphia (Pa.)
- School records
- Urban hospitals
- Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia (Organization)
- Hahnemann University (Organization)
- Medical College of Pennsylvania (Organization)
- Drexel University College of Medicine (Organization)
- Hahnemann University Academic Affairs records
- Annalise Berdini and Steven Duckworth
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.