Medical Society of the County of New York Records, 1806-1989

 
Medical Society of the County of New York Records

Historical Note

The Medical Society of the County of New York (MSCNY) was officially established in 1806. Its forerunner, the Medical Society of the State of New York, formed in New York City in 1794 and proposed legislation to establish a state society as well as local county societies. The legislation was passed in 1806. At this point, the group in the city changed its name to the Medical Society of the County of New York.

The county societies were mandated to regulate the practice of medicine by: examining students and others wanting to practice medicine in New York City for membership in the society, which in turn would authorize them to practice “physic or surgery;” disseminating scientific knowledge and enhancing the practice of medicine; and suppressing unlicensed practitioners while promoting public health.

Regulating the practice of medicine was difficult. The original legislation provided no penalties for medical practitioners who failed to comply. An act of 1827 recognized the MD degree as a license to practice medicine, but also required practicing physicians and surgeons to belong to the county society. The only discipline for misconduct was expulsion from the society. The society’s authority was further weakened since applicants rejected by the county society could appeal to the state society.

The society continued to examine candidates for licenses until 1880 when legislation reserved the licensing power for the state. The society’s role was then “to aid in regulating the practice of physic and surgery.”

Between 1890 and the 1920s the society’s legal counsel, working with the district attorney and the courts, vigorously pursued “quacks” and irregular medical practitioners. Further legislation removed responsibility for regulation from the county society.

Although the society was not successful as a regulatory agency, it was influential in several ways. It was instrumental in the founding of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, in establishing a code of ethics for the profession, in setting up a national pharmacopeia, and in organizing the American Medical Association. In the 1840s, the society’s influence began to wane. It was eclipsed by other groups such as the New York Academy of Medicine, the Medical and Surgical Society, the Pathological Society, and the AMA.

In the 20th century, the work of the MSCNY focused on education. Its primary purposes were “to extend medical knowledge and advance medical science,” and also to act in the interest of the medical profession regarding legal issues and public opinion. In the post-war era, the society worked to advance the private practice of medicine and protect the financial situation for its members. The society was concerned with and opposed the advent of government sponsored health insurance programs. With the increasing regulation of the profession the society became a participant in many mandated agencies.

In 1980 the society changed its name and organizational structure. The society became the New York County Medical Society.

Collection Description

The collection is largely comprised of administrative records, committee records, subject files, membership records, and financial records. Images and photographs, publications, resource and reference materials, publicity files, and miscellaneous other items are also present.

The Organization and Administration records include versions of the Society’s Constitution and By-laws through 1987and early records of the society, including minutes and reports. The collection does not contain the minutes of the stated and annual meetings beyond 1906, but there are notices and programs of meetings up to 1965.

Committee records make up a large part of the collection. The minutes of the executive committee known as the Comitia Minora go up to 1951 and reflect the society’s effort to enforce state regulations for medical practitioners. In addition to protecting professional interests, the Society was interested in the science of medicine, especially understanding contagious diseases as seen in these records beginning in the mid-19th century. There is little material related to the work of the Society in the early 20th century, but beginning in the late 1920s, the records of the committees begin to reflect the changing activities of the Society.

Among the largest committee records are those of the Committee on Public Relations and its subcommittees. The work of this committee was aimed at educating the public on new medical information through various media and presenting a positive image of the medical profession. Other committees with a significant volume of records are: the Advisory Committee on Malpractice, the Special Committee on Medical Economics, and the Special Committee on Maternal Welfare.

The second largest group of records are the Subject Files. These files again reflect the society dealing with many changes in the practice and regulation of medicine. They contain correspondence, reports, minutes of various committees with interest in the subject, and resource and reference materials such as clippings. The papers in two subject files reflect the development of the use of blood transfusions. The largest of the subject files covers the biennial Joint Congresses held by the Society and the Tokyo Medical Society, 1962-1986. The files include correspondence, notices to members, arrangements for travel, financial records, texts of papers, copies of invitations, menus, photographs, etc.

The section on Publicity is a useful and convenient record of the 20th century work of the Society. There is duplication of the some of the clippings from the scrapbooks and many duplicate clippings in the committee and subject files.

The Images and Photographs group is mostly portraits of the presidents and other officers of the society.

Administrative Info

Collection processed and described by Dorothy Truman.

Researchers wishing to use these materials must have a letter of permission from an officer of the Society.

Requests for permission to quote from or publish any materials should be directed to the reference librarian or curator in writing.

Preferred Citation

Medical Society of the County of New York Records. The Drs. Barry and Bobbi Coller Rare Book Reading Room, New York Academy of Medicine.

Provenance

Records indicate that much of this collection was placed on deposit at the New York Academy of Medicine in 1936 with additions made in 1959 and 1965.

Collection Contents

Organization and Adminstration

Constitution and By-laws

See also: Committee on By-laws
ContainerDescription
Box 1    Constitution and By-laws - 1906-1976

1 box

Box 1    By-laws - 1813, 1866-1989

9 folders

Box 2, 3    By-laws and Subscribing Members - 1806-1873, 1906-1933

1 volume, 1 box

Box 4    Papers Re: officers, elections, meeting agendas, and programs - 1795-1965

1 box

Box 5-7    Minutes - 1806-1878

3 volumes

Box 8    Minutes: Loose MSS - 1820-1846

½ box

Box 9-10    Minutes: Working Papers - 1870-1878, 1893-1898

2 boxes

Box 11    Minutes: Printed or Typed - 1878-1906

1 box

Box 12    Committee Reports - 1819-1841

23 folders

Box 1    Texts or Reports of papers and speeches - 1823-1966

9 folders

Box 12    Resolutions & petitions - nd, 1874

7 folders

Box 13-15    Executive Correspondence - 1814-1963

1 box, 2 ½ boxes

Committees

Committees are in three groups according to their title in the records: Executive, Advisory and Special. Each group is arranged in chronological order.

Executive Committees

ContainerDescription
Box 16-20    Papers of the Comitia Minora - 1806-1951

2 volumes, 2 boxes

See also: Membership records; Membership committee

Box 21    Board of Censors Minutes - 1887-1905

½ box

Box 22    Files of the Committees on the By-Laws - 1808-1833

1 box

Committee to Instruct Delegates to the State Society - 1888-1987

See: Subject files: State Medical Society

Box 23,165    Meteorological Committee Files - 1826-1873

6 folders, 2 oversize folders

Box 23    Papers of Committee on Ethics - 1841

1 folder

Box 23    Report of the Joint Committee US Drug Laws - 1861

1 folder

Box 24,165    Minutes & Reports of the Committee on Diseases - 1862-1872

½ box, 1 oversize folder

Box 25-26,165    Papers of the Milk Commission - 1900-1971

2 boxes, 1 oversize folder

Box 27    Minutes and Reports of the Committee on Legislation - 1928-1957

1 box

Box 48    Papers of the Committee on Health Care of the Poor - 1937

1 folder

Box 28-34    Papers of the Committee on Public Relations The Committee on Public Relations had various subcommittees several of which are identified in these files. - 1945-1984

6 ½ boxes

See also: Subject Files-DES; Committee on History and Archives; Subject file: Health Forums; Committee on Medical Malpractice Insurance; Clippings and Scrapbook --

Box 48    Minutes of the Radio Committee - 1940-1942

1 folder

Box 48    Correspondence of the Committee on Medical Jurisprudence - 1942-1958

1 folder

Box 48    Papers of the Broadcasting Committee - 1952-1956

2 folders

Minutes of the Committee Re:United
Box 48    Medical Service Fee Survey - 1954-1956

1 folder

Box 35-37    Papers of the Committee on Hospital-Physician Relations - 1955-1984

3 boxes

Box 38-39    Papers of the Committee on History & Archives - 1955-1976

1½ box

Box 48    Minutes of Committee to study Financial Security for Physicians - 1955-1958

1 folder

Box 48    Minutes of the Liaison Committee Between the Insurance Industry and the MSCNY - 1958-1959

1 folder

Box 48    Papers of the Committee on Retirement Planning - 1959-1966

4 folders

Box 40    Papers of the Quality Care (Cost) Committee - 1960-1971

1 box

Box 41    Minutes of the Committee on Worker’s Compensation - 1969-1986

½ box

Box 42    Minutes of the Committee on Continuing Education - 1976-1986

½ box

Box 43-46    Committee on Health Systems Agencies Files - 1976-1984

4 boxes

Box 49    Minutes of the Committee on Occupational Medicine - 1977-1986

2 folders

Box 47    Minutes of the Committee on Public Health - 1981-1986

1 box

Box 49    Elections Committee files - 1989

1 folder

Advisory Committees

ContainerDescription
Box 52    Minutes of the Advisory Committee on Ophthalmalogical Public Relations - 1940-1944

1 folder

Box 52    Special Advisory Committee to the President on Society Programs files - 1945-1947

1 folder

Box 52    Working Papers of the Advisory Committee on Civilian Protection - 1948-1953

8 folders

ContainerDescription
Box 50-51    Advisory Committee on Malpractice Joint Sub-committee on Malpractice Insurance - 1948-1977

2 boxes

Box 52,165    Advisory Committee on 150th Anniversary files - 1955-1956

10 folders, 5 oversize folders

See also: Images; Scrapbooks

Box 52    Working Papers of the Advisory Committee on Hospital Tenure - 1966-1967

1 folder

Special Committees

ContainerDescription
Box 78    Minutes of the Special Committee on Physical Therapy - 1927-1941

2 folders

Box 53-54    Papers of the Special Committee on Hospitals & Dispensaries - 1928-1967

2 boxes

Box 55-61    Papers of the Special Committee on Medical Economics and Bureau of Medical Economics - 1928-1958

9 boxes

See Also: Subject: United Health Services; Pooling of Fees; Medical Malpractice Insurance

Box 78    Minutes of the Special Committee on Nursing - 1929-1942

3 folders

Box 62    Minutes of the Special Committee on New Members - 1931-1960

½ box

Box 78    Papers of the Special Committee on The Publication of Medical Week - 1931-1938

3 folders

Box 63-65    Papers of the Special Committee on Child Welfare - 1934-1987

3 boxes

Includes papers re: symposium on Child Abuse 1971 and Drug Abuse During Pregnancy 1975

Box 66    Minutes of the Special Committee on the Illegal Practice of Medicine - 1937-1956

½ box

Box 67-71    Papers of the Special Committee on Maternal Welfare - 1937- 1973

5 boxes

Box 78    Papers of the Special Committee on Émigré Physicians / Non-Citizen Physicians / Alien Physicians - 1939-1945

1 folder

Box 78    Papers of the Special Committee on Preventive Medicine - 1934-1944

1 folder

Box 78    Minutes of the Special Committee on Physical Therapy - 1934-1941

2 folders

Box 72    Papers of Special Committee onTherapeutic Abortions and Voluntary Sterilization - 1940-1983

1 box

Box 78    Minutes of the Special Committee on Cancer Control - 1938

1 folder

Box 78    Minutes of the Special Committee on Volunteer Emergency Service - 1942

1 folder

Box 78    Papers of the Special Committee on War Participation - 1943

1 folder

Box 78    Papers of the Special Committee on Veterans Affairs - 1945-1947

2 folders

Box 78    Correspondence of the Special Committee on Medical Manpower for the Armed Forces - 1948-1950

1 folder

Box 79    Correspondence of Special Committee on International Medical Relations - 1948

1 folder

Box 74    Papers of the Special Committee on Voluntary Health Insurance - 1953-1956

1 box

Working papers of the Special Committee on Amending the by Laws

See Committee on Bylaws Box 22

Box 74    Minutes of the Special /Continuing Committee on Voluntary Health Insurance Plans - 1954-1956

½ box

Box 75    Papers of the Special Committee on Aging - 1954-1968

½ box

Box 73    Papers of the Special Committee on Pooling Fees - 1952-1954

1 box

Box 76-77    Papers of the Special Committee on Infant Mortality - 1953-1965

1½ box

Includes the Symposium re: The Placenta --

Box 79    Papers of the Special Committee on Laboratory Medicine & Pathology - 1962-1963

1 folder

Box 79    Minutes of the Special Committee on Radiology - 1975-1984

1 folder

Subject Files

These files were kept and used by the Executive secretary apparently as a resource file and contain a variety of papers including correspondence and minutes of the various committees that may have hade an interest in the subject.

ContainerDescription
   Addiction

See: NAPAN (National Association for the Prevention of Addiction to Narcotics)

   Alcohol during Pregnancy

See: Special Committee on Child Welfare

Box 80    AMA - 1848-1969

½ box

See also: Health Insurance

Box 81-82    Blood & Plasma Exchange - 1940-1952

2 boxes

This organization was an agency sponsored by the MSCNY. In 1945 the Blood and Plasma Exchange Bank was incorporated as a non-profit organization -- See also: Red Cross/ Blood Donors

Box 134    Board of Regents /Medical Representation on State Board of Regents - 1943-1944

1 folder

   Bureau of Medical Economics A collection Agency

See: Special Committee on Medical Economics

   By-Laws

See: Committee on Amending the By-Laws

Box 83    Charter Flights - 1961-1965

1 box

The Society acted agent for summer charter flights for members, See container list

   Child Abuse

See: Special Committee on Child Welfare

Box 84    Chiropractic - 1956-1964

1 box

Box 134    Clark, Dean - 1949.0

1 folder

Box 85    Coordinating Council of First District Branch of the Medical Society of the State of New York - 1944-1967

1 box

Box 134    Crompton, Ward C. - 1952

1 folder

Box 86-87    DES/ Doctors’ Emergency Service - 1949-1973

2 boxes

Begun in Sept 1950, this service provided 24 hour house visits on to those “willing to pay a reasonable fee for a house call by a private practicing physician.” -- See also: Committee on Public Relations

Box 134    Electrical Apparatus - 1877

1 folder

Box 134    Euthanasia - 1940-1950

1 folder

Box 134    Ewing (James Ewing) Society - 1962

1 folder

Box 134    Executive Secretary position - 1928-1949

1 folder

Box 88    Exhibits - 1952-1964

1 box

Box 134    Expert Testimony - 1938-1974

4 folders

   Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

See Special Committee on Child Welfare

   Five Counties Medical Societies

See Coordinating Council of the First District

Box 89    Fluoridation - 1957-1964

1 box

Box 90    Forand Bill (Medicare) - 1959-1960

½ box

Box 134    Force of Life Chemical Co. - 1903-1905

1 folder

Box 91-93    Health Forums - 1954-1957

2½ boxes

These were a series of public meetings sponsored jointly by the Mirror and MSCNY. --

Box 94    Health Insurance Plan - 1970-1979

½ box

Box 95-98    HIP (Health Insurance Plan) - 1943-1963

3½ boxes

Mayor LaGuardia proposed this plan in 1944. -- See also: National Health Insurance Conference; National Physicians Committee for the Extension of Medical Service; United Medical Services / Blue Shield / Voluntary Medical Insurance

Box 134    Keepers of Life Foundation / National Foundation of County Medical Societies - 1951-1956

2 folders

See also: Secretary’s correspondence; Broadcasting Committee; Public Relations Committee

Box 134.0    King Anderson Bill - 1962-1965

2 folders

Box 134    La Roe, Else K. - 1933-1965

1 folder

Box 99-100    Malpractice Mediation Panel - 1971-1976

2 boxes

Box 135    Medical Assistance for the Aged - 1960-1964

1 folder

Box 101    Medicaid - 1966-1978

1 box

Box 102    Medical Social Service Department Bureau of Medical Social Services - 1954-1955

½ box

Box 135    Mentally Ill Physician - 1958

1 folder

Box 135    Morland Act Commission - 1944

2 folders

Re: Workman’s Compensation

Box 134    Museum of Health - 1949

1 folder

Box 103    NAPAN National Association for the Prevention of Addiction to Narcotics. - 1955-1958

1 box

   Narcotics

See NAPAN

Box 94    National Health Insurance Conference - 1971

1 folder

Box 104    National Physicians Committee - 1945-1946

5 folders

Against national medical insurance. --

Box 135    New York City’s Department of Investigations - 1942

2 folders

Box 105-106    New York State Medical Society - 1806-1906, 1946-1989

1½ boxes

Box 135    Pharmacopeial Convention - 1969

1 folders

Box 104    The Physicians Forum - 1941-1949

10 folders

“The voice of the liberal doctor.” --

Box 135    Piel Commission - 1968

1 folder

Box 135    Pill Making Machine (19th Century) - 1933

1 folder

Box 135    Polio - 1954-1965

3 folders

Box 107    Premo Case - 1965-1968

1 box

Premo Pharmaceutical Laboratories sued MSCNY and Robert D. Potter, editor of New York Medicine --

Box 108-109    PSRO / NYCHSRO Professional Standards Review Organization New York County Health Services Review Organization - 1973-1983

1 ½ boxes

Box 110-112    Red Cross / Blood Donors - 1945-1957

3 boxes

Box 135    Rent Control for Physicians - 1945-1947

2 folders

Box 113    Salk Vaccine - 1955-1958

½ box

Box 136    Schwartz, Dr. George - 1951-1952

4 folders

Box 136    Smoke Control - 1949-1951

1 folder

Box 136    Social Security Act - 1952-1965

3 folders

Box 114-130    Tokyo / MSCNY Congresses - 1962-1984

16 boxes

Box 131    Trussell Report - 1960-1964

1 box

Box 132    United Medical Services (Blue Shield / Voluntary Medical Insurance) - 1957-1968

1 box

Box 136    Uttal. Joseph - 1959-1969

1 folder

Box 136    Vanderbilt Clinic Experiment - 1938-1942

1 folder

Box 136    Vassar Diet - 1943-1944

2 folders

Box 133    Veterans - 1944-1964

1 box

Box 136    Voluntary Health Insurance - 1948-1965

3 folders

See also: Special Committee on Medical Economics

Box 136    Volunteer Emergency Service - 1941-1943

3 folders

Box 137    War Memorial - 1948-1950

1 folder

Box 137    World Health Organization - 1948-1964

3 folders

Box 137    World’s Fair - 1959-1964

3 folders

Membership

See also: Comitia Minora; Board of Censors; Committee on New Members; By Laws; Financial-Treasurer’s Records

ContainerDescription
Box 138-140    Minutes of Committee on Membership - 1907-1933

1 boxes, 2 volumes

Box 141,165    Miscellaneous membership files - 1806-1913

1 box, 1 oversize volume

Box 142    Transcripts of Examinations - 1821-1833

½ box

Box 141    Printed list of Members - 1806-1861

1 folder

Box 143-145, 165    Membership lists - 1806-1867

3 volumes, 6 oversize folders

Box 146-147    Membership Record - 1872-1878

2 boxes

Box 148-149    Membership Record and Roll - 1868-1934

1½ boxes

Box 150    Scrap book re: Dr. David Alexander - 1958.0

1 box

MSCNY nominee for national doctor of the year. --

Financial

ContainerDescription
Box 165    Treasurer’s Report - 1839

1 oversize folder

Box 151    Ledgers - 1806-1837, 1909-1925

1 box

Box 152    Journals - 1806-1889

1 box

3 volumes

Box 153    Treasurer’s Book / Index to dues payments - 1879-1910

1 box

Box 154    Miscellaneous Treasurer’s files - 1812-1971

1 box

Images & Photographs

ContainerDescription
Box 155    Portraits

27 folders

Box 155    Images

10 folders

Box 155    Photographs 0f 150th anniversary celebration - 1956

4 folders

Box 165    Group portrait of officers - 1973

1 oversize folder

Publications

See the library for run of the Society’s Journal -- See also: Committee on Public Relations

ContainerDescription
Box 156    Booklets - 1954, 1978

2 folders

Resource & References

ContainerDescription
Box 156    New York Related materials - 1871-1980

12 folders

Box 156    Other Medical Societies and Associations - 1977-1969

9 folders

Publicity

Several large scrapbooks were disbound and their contents photocopied.

ContainerDescription
Box 157    Newspaper Clippings - 1911-1932

1 volume, 9 folders

Box 158    Scrapbook Contents - 1947-1949

½ box

Box 159-160    Scrapbooks - 1942-1945, 1954

2 oversize volumes

Box 161-162    Scrapbook Contents re: 150th Anniversary - 1955-1956

1 ½ boxes

Box 163    Press releases - 1947-1984

½ box

Box 164    Scrapbook Contents - 1960-1964

1 box

Miscellany

ContainerDescription
Box 165    Broadside - 1811

1 oversize folder

1. A Chemical Analyses of the Alcornoque by J. Leymerie….Extra to the Shamrock / Hibernian Chronicle

Box 165    Broadside - 1874

1 oversize folder

The Home Physician

Box 165    Posters: - 1976-1983

2 oversize folders

Plaques /Awards - 1967, 1968

2 items