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- Charaka Club Records
- Date Span
- Call Number
- Charaka Club
- Collection Size
- 7 linear feet; 17 boxes
The Charaka Club, which still exists and meets regularly, was founded in 1898 by a group of five doctors: Charles Dana, Joseph Collins, Ward A. Holden, Frederick Peterson, and Bernard Sachs. The founders shared an interest in the historical, literary and artistic aspects of medicine. The society’s first name was the Medico-Historical Club. In 1900, the name was changed to the Charaka Club, after the legendary Indian physician who compiled a book of ancient medical texts.
Meetings were initially hosted by society members in their homes. From 1911 to 1923, meetings were held at the Century Association or other clubs, and from 1923 to 1984, meetings were held at the Coffee House Club. Since 1984, the society has met at the Century Association.
At the club dinners, various members presented papers on literature, art, and history, usually related to medical history. Beginning in 1902, many of these papers were published in The Proceedings of the Charaka Club. Twelve volumes were produced, the last in 1988.
After World War II, the society considered opening membership to people without medical backgrounds. There was concern that the challenges of the post-war medical world might limit the time and leisure doctors had to prepare quality essays. The society also considered disbanding, but decided against it.
The society began the tradition of the ‘safari,’ a fall excursion and dinner which included wives and other guests, in 1951. The first safari was a social afternoon and evening hosted by the Charakans living in Riverdale. Other early safaris included a visit to Princeton and a tour of Radio City Music Hall. In later years, the excursion ended with a dinner at a club or restaurant.
The collection contains minutes, correspondence, publications, talks, and artifacts, among other materials.
The minutes date from 1898 through 2012, with some gaps. The most informative minutes were kept by Archibald Malloch, 1935-1949. The club created various committees, such as Membership and Communications, but there are almost no records of the work of the committees, except through the minutes or executives’ correspondence.
The principal purpose of the club was to share the members’ interests outside of medicine. The talks given by the members at the meetings ranged wildly in subject matter and the club published the best of these talks in The Proceedings beginning in 1902. The last volume was published in 1988. There are four boxes of texts of many of the talks given after 1925. Some are the talks were not included in The Proceedings.
Administrative InfoCollection processed and described by Dorothy Truman.
Requests for permission to quote from or publish any materials should be directed to the reference librarian or curator in writing.
Charaka Club Records. The Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room, New York Academy of Medicine Library.
On deposit by the Charaka Club.
Organization and Administration
|Box 1||Lists of officers, members, and By-laws
Some gaps; Printed booklets often with annotations
Committee Report re: membership and conduct of meetings
|Box 1||Notices / Invitations to dinners or meetings
Arranged by secretary; some gaps, may include titles of papers to be given, proposed candidates; many have no year; In 1950s RSVP to NYAM. In 1990s included lists of attendees, records of dues paid
|Box 2||Agendas / Schedules of meetings and speakers
Some contain date of Safari and copies of invitations to dinner meetings; 1963-1967. Includes solicitations of papers
|Box 2||Attendance records
1921-1927, 1932-1944, 1937-1939,1948-1966, 1971-1979, 1989-1994, 2010
|Box 2||Number of meetings attended each year
|Box 2||Papers re: Safaris
Incomplete; Includes correspondence about beginning “safaris." May also include announcements, invitations, reports, attendance, and charges; some photographs.
See also: Correspondence and Minutes
With gaps; Includes a printed pamphlet The Palimpsest, 1904, other years also in pamphlet form; minutes, 1935-1949, by Archibald Malloch have originals and carbons; no minutes for 1959-1961; Grant Sanger’s minutes 1949-1988 are summaries of talks given but little or no reports of club business; 1994-2011 no minutes.
Largely hand written notes pasted in scrapbook
Correspondence may also include: Invitations and acceptances of membership; replies re: attendance at meetings, offers to give papers; matters re: Proceedings; also letters from widows and family members of deceased members.
|Box 5||Miscellaneous correspondence with NYAM
|Box 5||Correspondence of Dr. Camac
- 1908, 1920-1927|
Includes regrets about attending meetings; much is about publication of Proceedings; One folder has letters with no year date
|Box 5||Letter to Dr. Holden from Grace R. Osler
|Box 5||Letter to Dr. Dana from Frederick Tillney
Re: Dr. Dana's resignation from Board of Neurological Institute
|Box 5||Correspondence of Archibald Malloch
Includes some letters re: NYAM matters and re: publication of Proceedings
|Box 5||Correspondence of Drs. Gerster and Rake
|Box 5||Miscellaneous Correspondence
|Box 5||Correspondence of Claude Heaton
|Box 5||Correspondence of Grant Sanger
General club business
Correspondence of Grant Sanger re: Dr. Dana’s portrait
Including papers about condition and possible conservation; also appraisals and plan to display this and portraits of other founders at club’s 90th anniversary in 1988.
Correspondence of Grant Sanger Re: correspondence of Don Fawcett
Largely re: descriptions of Fawcett’s work and life in Africa
Correspondence of Grant Sanger, letter from George Humphries re: Osler
Analyzing and interpreting A. Malloch’s notes on the death of Sir William Osler. Published in Osler Library Newsletter #47 October 1984
Correspondence of Grant Sanger, correspondence re: 90th anniversary
See also files on membership for texts of biographies of founding members and others.
|Box 6||Correspondence of Goodwin Breinin
|Box 6||Correspondence of Andrew Frantz
|Box 6||Miscellaneous papers of John Truman
Includes correspondence, Jan. 2010 booklet with minutes and reports
See Also: Section on Organization for Booklets with lists of members
See Also: Financial Section for records of dues paid
See Also: Correspondence for invitations to membership, replies from candidates, and resignations
See Also: Attendance sheets
|Box 7||Membership / Admissions committee reports
|Box 7||Nominations for members
|Box 7||Membership lists
- 1919-1977, 2003, 2012|
With gaps, some with contact information
|Box 7||Membership lists including spouses
|Box 7||Former members died or resigned
|Box 7||Papers re: dinner honoring Dr. William Osler
Program and photograph of the bronze plaque presented to Dr. Osler on this occasion. Full description of this event is in Vol. II of the Proceedings
Booklet from annual meeting with quotations appropriate for members
|Box 7||Papers re: 25th anniversary celebration
Includes program with minutes, letters, invitations, labels for exhibits
|Box 7||Toast to R. Tait McKenzie
|Box 7||Papers of and about Peyton Rous
Found in papers deposited with Charaka papers in 2005. They probably relate to Joseph Blumenthal, Rous’ friend and neighbor in Cornwall, CT. Includes correspondence, reprints, and obituaries
- 1994, 1996|
Clyde Parker 1994, Jonathan E. Rhoads
|Box 7||Biographies of various Charakans
Prepared for 90th anniversary
|Box 7||Papers re: dinner honoring Andrew Frantz
- nd - 2010|
Portrait negatives of Frederick Peterson, Ward A. Holden, and Archibald Malloch; also candid pictures from meetings
|Box 8||Memorials / Obituaries
Alphabetical order; list available
Publications: Proceedings and History
Volumes of Proceedings were published in 1902, 1906, 1910, 1916, 1919, 1925, 1931, 1935, 1938, and 1988
See also: Correspondence files
|Box 9||Miscellaneous papers
Most of these files originated with Archibald Malloch; they include correspondence with publishers, authors of papers, orders for copies, etc
|Box 10||Communications Committee
Correspondence, questionnaire, and list of all papers given 1944-1959. Concerns about publishing Proceedings.
|Box 10||Miscellaneous papers re: publications
Correspondence, evaluation of articles for publication
|Box 10||Notes for History of the Charaka Club
|Box 14-15||Texts of talks / papers
Alphabetical and chronological lists available.
Bank Statements, cancelled checks, etc. have been discarded. List available.
|Box 15||Financial Statements - 1938-1987|
|Box 15||Balance sheet - 1990-1994|
|Box 15||Pages from account book
|Box 15||Record of dues payments
|Box 15||Cash receipts
Check list of dues and dinner payments
|Box 15||Bank correspondence
Re: officers signatures and Dr. Sanger’s estate
|Box 15||Bills and receipts
- 1973, 1989|
Includes notes for clerical expenditures
|Box 16||Small card with Charaka seal
Possibly from menu
- 1906, 1910|
|Box 16||Rooster print / engraving
Probably used on menus and place cards
|Program mockup for meeting
Fabricious ; cover has caricature and name, Dr. Holden
|Box 16||Dr. Dana’s Charaka Balm
By Dr. Allen McLane Hamilton
|Box 16||Papers re: trip to Boston for meeting
|Box 16||Book Stamp
For Dr. George Walton as author of Peg Along
Includes songs for male voices, notes by Jerome B. Webster on Chinese music, street cries with German texts, notes on fragment of envelope
Typescripts of texts Horace and of The Venerable Bede
Possibly from Dr. Dana
|Box 16||Notes etc. for talk on writers on angling
Text of talk by Warren Powers Laird on Willard Fillmore
Given in Philadelphia at Pennsylvania Society for the Order the Founders and Patriots of America
|Box 16||Summa Cum Laude
Toast by George Humpheys to Allen Whipple and his surgical team on his retirement, 3 are Charakans
|Box 16||Images of “Fortune”
Possibly illustrations for a talk
|Box 16||Biography of Tracy Jackson Putnam
Article from journal
|Box 16||Unattributed poetry
|Box 16||Samples of Charaka stationery
|Box 16||Covers / envelopes from miscellaneous letters
|Box 16||Duplicates of various early printed items|
|Box 16||Syphilis: poeme en trios chants
Reprint of article by George Dock on editions of Rosa Anglica of John Gaddesden (1492)
|Box 16||Booklet of verse re: members for annual meeting
|Box 16||Booklet of Appreciation
By Dr. Charles L. Dana; thanking each member of the club for his portrait that the club had commissioned and had given to NYAM
|Box 16||Booklet of Poems
Another Spring by Marie Falconer
Wax impressions of the seal on the signet ring with supporting papers
Wax impression; booklet explaining origin of ring and purpose of wax impression. Given to Charaka archives by George H Walton who had had the ring made. Poem describing seal by Dr. Walton. Copy of letter of Dr. Walton to Dr. Camac.
Charaka Signet Ring was designed and commissioned by Dr. George H. Walton. It was passed from president to president. Some minutes before 1960 report the ceremony of passing the ring to the new president. There is a gap in the minutes for 1959-1960 and the next minutes make no mention of the passing of the ring. The question of what happened to the ring was raised in 1970.
|Box 17||The Ola|
Manuscript of notes of Indian medicine written on strips of palm leaves. Strips are stacked and covered with decorated wooden boards; it opens fan-like. Gift of Casey A. Wood 1926
The library has several of these also the gift of Dr. Wood. This one belongs to the Charaka and no record has been found that it was given to NYAM.
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This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The New York Academy of Medicine Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.