The Daily Dose Presents: the American College of Surgeons Archives

DailyDose2Welcome back to the Daily Dose! Today, we continue our feature series on digital collections by speaking with Susan Rishworth, Archivist for the American College of Surgeons. In the coming weeks and months, we will be featuring additional libraries and museums–and begin an ongoing conversation (through mini-round-tables) between curators, librarians and the public about the value of digital engagement.

About Susan Rishworth:

I came to the American College of Surgeons in Chicago as Archivist by way of my position as History Librarian/Archivist at the American College of Ob/Gyns in Washington, DC where I worked from 1991 to 2001. ACOG managers enabled me to study history of medicine at the University of Maryland in College Park, where I focused on women’s history. My thesis, an analysis of the autobiographies of pioneer women physicians, led me to my independent research project, a piece of which I published in JNMA in Mar/April 2012. My search for Verina Morton Jones, MD, African American physician and social activist who graduated from Women’s Medical College of PA in 1888, is a continuing research project. My career prior to ACOG was as a Librarian for African Studies at Michigan State University and the Library of Congress, and in administering a small university library in Washington.

The ACS Archives:

The American College of Surgeons is celebrating its centennial in 2013, so the records of the College document much about all aspects of medical and surgical history in North America and the world in the twentieth century. The records are based around the minutes of the Board of Regents and all the Divisions and Departments and Committees that have functioned in carrying out its mission. The mission of the ACS since its origin has been to promote the highest standards of surgical care through education of, and advocacy for its Fellows and their patients, and to safeguard standards of care in an optimal and ethical practice environment.

Digital Collections:

The Digital Collections are a small sample of some of the richest resources in the ACS Archives: the daily newspaper of the College’s annual Clinical Congress, images of its Boards of Regents from 1919 to 2008, sample of papers of its founder Franklin Martin, and a sample of the unique Eleanor K. Grimm History Notebooks compiled by this woman associate and collaborator of Martin’s who began her career at ACS working as his secretary in 1913. Since the Digital Collections samples were launched, the great nephew of E.K. Grimm donated more of Miss Grimm’s scrapbooks and personal papers to the Archives. Over one thousand pages of what we call her retirement scrapbooks are now located on our ACS Archives web page as roughly 50 page PDF files, organized in her inimitable way, alphabetically  by correspondent  and with more documentation stapled in. Included in these scrapbooks is Miss Grimm’s correspondence with FACS founders going back to 1913, documenting a side of these luminaries that has not been available for research in the past.

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