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Detroit College of Medicine Early Records

Identifier: WSR000475

Scope and Content

In addition to the records of the institutions preceding the Wayne State University School of Medicine, the collection also includes papers of other medical organizations. The Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery was founded by Dr. Hal C. Wyman who left the Michigan College of Medicine at the time of its merger with the Detroit Medical College. The College opened in 1888 at the corner of Second and Porter Streets and closed in 1908. Records of the Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery in the University Archives cover the period 1888 to 1906. Other papers are from the Detroit Physicians Association, 1900 to 1904 and the Wayne County Medical Society, 1898 to 1923.

The records of the early College of Medicine and the additional mis-cellaneous medical records reflect the growing need and importance of medical education as well as the economic fluctuations experienced by these institutions. The records also reflect a very humanistic side of medical education in Detroit as it includes extensive detail of faculty, students and alumni.

Important subjects covered in the collection are: Case Study of Erythro-Melalgia, by Dr. Willis Anderson, c. 1889 Detroit College of Medicine, 1885-1912: Alumni Association Banquets Board of Trustees Class Schedules/Catalogs Commencements Faculty Fire of 1896 Stockholders

University of Detroit's Attempt to Purchase College Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery, 1913-1929: Board of Trustees By-Laws Detroit Commandery, Knights Templar Unit, Base Hospital #36 Faculty Harper Base Hospital, No. 17 Physiology Laboratory, Equipment and Supplies Inventory, 1920 Seal Transfer of Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery to the Board of Education Women, Admittance into Medical Colleges, 1919 Use of the Wayne County Medical Society Library Detroit Medical College, 1875-1885 Alumni Association Class Schedules Commencement

Detroit Physicians Association, 1900-1904

Michigan College of Medicine: Alumni Association Class Schedules Commencements Faculty Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery Board of Trustees Commencement Property and New Building Specifications Stockholders Students

Wayne County Medical Society: Donors and Donations Library Accessions, 1910-1922 Licensing of Physicians Michigan Health Exposition, June, 1923 War Bulletin, 1917-1919

Among the correspondents are: Father William F. Dooley, University of Detroit Walter H. MacCracken, M.D. Theodore McGraw, M.D. Burt Shurly, M.D.
Contents: Scrapbooks, ledgers and minute books are arranged according to the institution or organization to which they refer. Records of the Detroit Medical College and the Michigan College of Medicine are followed by those of the Detroit College of Medicine and the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery. Papers of the Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery follow although this is not in chronological sequence as it is a separate institution. The volumes pertaining to their respective institutions are arranged alphabetically by the originating office or group within the college. Following the official records of the medical colleges are a variety of programs, reports, and correspondence relating to the medical colleges which were previously removed from the scrapbooks or were received from a variety of sources and fall within the time span of this collection, 1875-1929. These records also are arranged by the college. Especially noteworthy is the correspondence of Dr. Walter H. MacCraken, Dean of the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery in which he gives details on different aspects of the college, the physiology department, health insurance, advertising by doctors, and the abuse of the Wayne County Medical Society Library, circa 1922,by medical students. Also included, as miscellaneous records is a History of a Case of Erythro-Melalgia by Dr. Willis Anderson, circa 1889.


  • 1875 - 1929


Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.


Collection is open for research.


Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials. Restrictions: Researchers may encounter records of a sensitive nature – personnel files, case records and those involving investigations, legal and other private matters. Privacy laws and restrictions imposed by the Library prohibit the use of names and other personal information which might identify an individual, except with written permission from the Director and/or the donor.


The Wayne State University School of Medicine had four important forerunners. The Detroit Medical College, founded in 1868 by five Detroit area physicians in a building on Woodward Avenue adjacent to Harper Hospital, offered a two-year program leading to the M.D. degree and held its first commencement for thirty-three transfer students in 1869. The Michigan College of Medicine, incorporated in 1879 by a group of physicians and lay stock subscribers, offered classes in the former Hotel Hesse at the intersection of Gratiot Avenue, Madison Avenue and St. Antoine Street.

In 1885 the two competing schools merged to form the Detroit College of Medicine, adding their financial assets and faculties and taking up residence in the old Michigan College of Medicine building. Dr. Theodore A. McGraw, Sr. was elected the first president of the faculty, serving through 1913. In 1891 the College added three new but ultimately unsuccessful programs: a two year curriculum leading to the D.V.S. degree in Veterinary Medicine discontinued in 1899, a two year curriculum leading to the Ph.C. degree in Pharmacy discontinued in 1905, and a three year curriculum leading to the D.D.S. degree in Dental Surgery discontinued in 1909. In 1895 the College required a four year course of all graduates in the Medical Department.

As a result of financial difficulties, the College was reorganized and refinanced as the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery in 1913. Dr. Burt R. Shurly, who replaced retiring Faculty President McGraw in the newly created Office of the Dean, modernized and lengthened the required course of study, reorganized the teaching departments, and added several faculty members. One year of college level premedical work was required for admission to the College which earned a Class A rating from American Medical Association inspectors in 1914. In 1917 the College organized and operated Base Hospital #36 in southern France under the direction of Dr. Shurly who resigned as Dean to participate in the war effort. In 1918, control of the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery was transferred to the Detroit Board of Education which appointed Walter MacCraken to replace Shurly.


2 Linear Feet ((4 MB), 28 scrapbooks)


These papers date from 1875-1929. They are the papers of the schools which preceded the Wayne State University School of Medicine: The Detroit College of Medicine, and the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery. The growing need for medical education as well as details of faculty students and alumni are provided by this collection.


Materials are arranged chronologically.


Early School of Medicine and Miscellaneous Medical Records were placed in the Wayne State University Archives by several donors over a period of time.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Guide to the Detroit College of Medicine Early Records
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA