United States National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
History of Medicine

Directory of History of Medicine Collections


American Medical Association
Department of Records Management and Archives

515 North State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60654
United States
Allen J. Podraza, Director
(312) 464-4183
1 312-464-4083
Fax: (312) 464-5826

The American Medical Association Department of Investigation Records, 1843-1990 (bulk: 1906-1975); 371 cubic feet, or 1,000 boxes. Also known as the Historical Health Fraud and Alternative Medicine Collection, it is the only collection within the AMA Archives that is accessible to non members.

Researchers wishing to use the Collection should contact the AMA Archives to request an appointment to view the records at AMA headquarters in Chicago. All researchers will be asked to complete a "Letter of Intent" stating name, address, telephone number, and institutional affiliation; the principal materials desired; the purpose of the research, including publication plans; and the proposed date of arrival and estimated length of the visit. Non-members of the AMA will pay a fee for use of the collection, which is stored off-site due to its size: $43.00 for the first carton of records; $2.25 for each additional carton to cover transportation costs. At this writing, the photocopy charge is $1.00 per page for non members of the AMA. This charge and other conditions for use of the Collections are subject to change without notice. Researchers should be aware that exceptionally fragile materials might not be available for use or reproduction.


The Historical Health Fraud and Alternative Medicine collection consists of letters of inquiry received from physicians, governmental agencies, Better Business Bureaus, the news media, and members of the general public, together with responding letters by the AMA. Records also include correspondence with the practitioners themselves, governmental agencies, and other correspondents; news clippings and magazine articles concerning the various products and practices; advertisements, circulars, books, and other promotional materials; products and packaging samples; and copies of legal and government documents produced during proceedings involving alleged health fraud and quackery.

The Guide to the American Medical Association Historical Health Fraud and Alternative Medicine Collection (ed. Arthur, W. Hafner, 1992) is available in many libraries, or contact the AMA Archivist for online access to the searchable Guide.

Subject Strengths:
History of Alternative Medicine; History of Quackery and Health Fraud; History of the Practice of Medicine
Last Updated:
01 Feb 2010