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B MS b209

New England Surgical Society. Records, 1916-2002 (inclusive), 1948-2002 (bulk): Finding Aid.

Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

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Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)

© President and Fellows of Harvard College


The New England Surgical Society Records were processed with support from the organization.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: B MS b209
Repository: Center for the History of Medicine (Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine)
Creator: New England Surgical Society.
Title: New England Surgical Society Records,
Date(s): 1916-2002 (inclusive),
Date(s): 1948-2002 (bulk)
Quantity: 3.3 cubic feet (3 record cartons and 1 document box).)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The New England Surgical Society Records, 1916-2002 (inclusive), 1948-2002 (bulk), chronicle the Society's efforts to improve surgical training programs and set surgical requirements in community hospitals throughout the region; annual meeting planning and proceedings; selection, evaluation and nomination of candidates; and collaboration with other medical societies. Records include meeting minutes, correspondence, presidential addresses, and annual meeting programs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The New England Surgical Society Records were donated by the organization to the Boston Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Processing Information:

Processed by Kim Reynolds, October 2007.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine refoldered and rehoused the collection, and discarded duplicate records and records that did not meet the collection policy of the Center for the History of Medicine.

Conditions Governing Access:

Access requires advance notice. Contact the Public Services Librarian for further information.
The New England Surgical Society Records are stored offsite. Researchers are advised to contact reference staff for more information concerning retrieval of material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Boston Medical Library does not hold copyright on all the materials in the collection. Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed to the Public Services Librarian. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Public Services Librarian are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold copyright. Reference Services and Access Information.

Preferred Citation:

New England Surgical Society records, 1916-2002, (inclusive), 1948-2002 (bulk), B MS b209. Boston Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Historical Note

The New England Surgical Society was established to advance the art and science of surgery, initiate and maintain the highest possible standards of surgical practice, and promote the well being of its membership. This was to be achieved by holding professional and social meetings and publishing papers written by members of the Society. Credit for the formation of the New England Surgical Society is given to Dr. Philemon E. Truesdale, and in 1916, the first meeting was held at the Harvard Club in Boston, Mass. Membership was restricted to surgeons who belonged to the American College of Surgeons and were elected by the Executive Committee at annual meetings. In 1938, it became necessary for a member to be certified by the American Board of Surgery or be a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
After World War II, surgical procedures became more complicated and surgical boards began to raise their requirements; consequently, young surgeons began demanding hospitals in which further training could be acquired. The Society recognized that although small community hospitals could provide such programs, they were not prepared to support this specialized training. In response to this need, the New England Surgical Society formed the Committee on Graduate Training, and in 1949, hospitals were notified of the Committee's availability to collaborate with trustees and surgical staff in evaluating the quality of the smaller hospitals' graduate programs. When requested by a hospital, the Committee would visit and issue its recommendations for improving the hospital's training program. Over time, it became necessary to make distinctions between the recommendations that were made to improve the graduate training programs and those made to improve the quality of surgery being performed. Consequently, the Committee on Hospital Surveys was created and charged with making recommendations concerning the quality of surgery being performed in hospitals.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the New England Surgical Society continued to encourage and support the professional welfare of its members and to increase the quality of their surgical practices by establishing various committees to oversee continuing education programs, residency training, and surgical costs. Furthermore, it was active in monitoring the medical insurance problem relating to the presence surgical assistants in operating rooms, created the Investigating Committee to help alleviate the number of itinerate surgeons, and issued letters regarding the appropriate conduct of surgical practice and training. Also in the late 1960s, a committee was established to study the problem of prepaid medical care.
The Society's activities have promoted raising the standards of all areas of surgical practice, including hospital standization, resident training in community hospitals, graduate training, and the cost of surgical care. The establishment of the New England Surgical Society Charitable Foundation in the 1980s was created to provide financial support for the continuing education programs offered at the New England Surgical Society annual meetings. The Foundation also supports the professional development of young surgeons through the New England Surgical Society Resident and Fellow Research Presentaion Day, contributes to the Samuel Jason Mixter Lectuer, the resident Paper Award, and sponsors the Nathan Smith Distinguished Service Award.
From its inception, the Society's annual meetings have been the center of its professional development activities, designed to provide comprehensive educational experiences in the fields of clinical surgery, experimental surgery and related sciences, surgical education and the socioeconomic aspects of surgical care. At annual meetings, members present clinical and research papers and posters and presidents give their yearly addresses to the membership. Some past topics include the issue of gender in medicine, the history of surgery in New England, the effects of health care reform and medical education, and challenges of pediatric and trauma surgery. Also during annual meetings, the Resident Essay Prize awards are given and new members are inducted into the Society.

Resources on the New England Surgical Society

Series and Subseries in the Collection

Arrangement

The New England Surgical Society Records consist of nine series: I. BMS b209.1 Minutes and Records, 1916-2002; II. B MS b209.2 Reports of Annual Business Meetings and Scientific Sessions, 1930-1980; III. B MS b209.3 Register of the New England Surgical Society, 1940-1969; IV. B MS b209.4 Secretaries' Correspondence, 1953-1969; V. B MS b209.5 Committee on Hospital Surveys, 1952-1964; VI. BMS b Misc Historical Records, 1966, 1984, 1986, undated; VII. Presidential Addresses, 1917-2001; VIII. Annual Meeting Programs, 1969-2002; IX. Obituaries, undated. Series I-VI were previously cataloged as B MS b209.1, B MS b209.2, B MS b209.3, B MS b209.4, B MS b209.5, and B MS b209 Misc. Series VII-XI were donated to the Boston Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine as part of a later accession in 2002. Series I, Subseries B was accessioned in 2002, and added to Series I. B MS b209.1. The records were integrated to form this collection.

Scope and Content Note

New England Surgical Society Records, 1916-2002 (inclusive), 1948-2002 (bulk), chronicle the Society's efforts to improve surgical training programs and establish surgical requirements; annual meeting planning; selection, evaluation, and nomination of candidates; and collaboration with other medical societies. The bulk of the collection dates from 1948-2002, and is comprised of Executive Committee meeting minutes, which include the nomination process of the Society's members; the planning and proceedings of annual meetings; and publication guidelines. Additional records produced by the Executive Committee include meeting agendas and minutes, meeting programs, transcripts of business and scientific meetings, and correspondence. The collection also contains the Society's presidential addresses from 1917-2002, whose topics include the history of the Society, the history of surgery in New England; and surgical diseases. In addition, the recommendations of the Survey Committee to the community hospitals and their responses, and the proceedings of annual, business, and scientific meetings are available in the collection. Additional records consist of meeting agendas, minutes, transcripts, and programs; photocopies of presidential addresses; and correspondence. Reports from officers and representatives of the American College of Surgeons and the American Board of Surgery are also found in the collection. There are several photographs of members and photographs of the 1960 and 1969 Executive Committees.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

New England Surgical Society.

med00102