The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

Specialty: Health sciences

The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, founded in 1787, is the oldest professional organization in the country.  Accorded National Historic Landmark status as the “Birthplace of American Medicine,” the College has provided a place for both medical professionals
and the general public to learn about medicine as both a science
and an art.  This historic spirit continues in the current mission:  Advancing the cause of health while upholding the ideals and
heritage of medicine. 

The College maintains the Center for Medical History through the Mütter Museum, the Historical Medical Library, and the F. C. Wood Institute for the History of Medicine.  The public is invited to attend the many lectures, workshops and conferences the College offers.


The Historical Medical Library of the College is one of the world’s premier research collections in the history of medicine. The unique holdings of the library include 411 incunables (books printed before 1500), an extensive collection of manuscripts and archives, and a comprehensive collection of 19th- and early 20th-century medical journals. The Sturgis Collection contains images from the history of medicine, including portraits, buildings, groups and historical subjects.

Mütter Museum

The Museum’s collections include over 25,000 objects, including fluid-preserved anatomical and pathological specimens, medical instruments, anatomical and pathological models, items of memorabilia of famous scientists and physicians, and medical illustrations in the form of lantern slides, 35-mm slides, photographs, drawings and prints. In addition, the College collections include over 160 portraits in oil and other media.

The Wood Institute for the History of Medicine embraces all collections at the College and fosters a scholarly and public dialogue on medical history by promoting research, lectures, programs, and small grants to enable researchers to study the collections.

Visit the collections.

Fellowship opportunities.

Etienne Pariset, Observations. From the exhibit Web of Healing. Image courtesy of The College of Physicians.