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American College of Surgeons

633 N. St. Clair Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611-3211
United States
Meghan Kennedy, Archivist
(312) 202-5270
1 312-202-5270
Fax: (312) 202-5007

Founded in 1913, the American College of Surgeons collects records of the College and papers of a few of its most notable founders and officers. The Board of Regents meeting minutes form the backbone of the collection, followed by the minutes of the various committees. SERVICES: Brief research requests answered and facilitation of in house research.


The processed and cataloged records, which comprise roughly 400 linear feet, include some of the earliest material on hospital standardization, the development of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO, now the Joint Commission), the development of medical motion pictures, and promotion of education on, and treatment of, cancer and traumatic injury. Having its foundation in Chicago since its inception has meant that it has been an integral part of the history of medicine in Chicago with its early leaders well known surgeon educators, researchers, clinicians, and administrators at the primary medical institutions in the city and country. The papers of Franklin H. Martin, MD, founder of the College, are a particularly rich source. Included are over 30 three-ring binders of "Memoirs," assembled by Martin and his wife, 1899-1935, comprised of scrapbook and photo album items, diaries, journals, and correspondence relating to their travels attending surgical and medical meetings around the nation and the world. Another very rich resource for the history of the College is the 27 three-ring binders of its history dictated and compiled by Eleanor Grimm, secretary to Franklin Martin from 1913 until his death.

She was commissioned by the board of Regents to compile this history after she retired in 1951. It is accompanied by a 59-page index. Digitized samples of these and other collections, including photos of most of the ACS Board of Regents, 1919 to 2006, and the the Clinical Congress Daily News, 1911-1979, are accessible in the Archives Catalog: holdings also include surgical case list books from the 1890s and 1940s, photographs, slides, and oral histories, and Clinical Congress programs, a small number of surgical teaching films and videos, and publications of the ACS.

Subject Strengths:
History of Hospitals; History of Surgery
Last Updated:
24 Apr 2017