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Registration Sheet November 2000


Records of the Stamford Medical Society covering the years from 1893 to 1954 are currently held by the Stamford Historical Society. Meeting for the first time on the evening of February 7, 1898, in response to a call from Doctor R.L. Bohannon, the Society began by electing officers, drew up a Constitution and established the rate for annual dues. They then adjourned to "partake of a collation" . This procedure developed into a strict order of business. Monthly meetings, usually at a doctor's house, always allowed time for a "collation" . Said collations were "enjoyable" , "delightful" , even "bounteous" . The range of adjectives was extensive.

Early in the 1890's a list of "bad pay" was circulated to members, indication that the problem of collecting fees has not been unique to any age.

The subjects of the papers presented at each meeting offer a medical history in their titles alone. Beginning early on with "Boils" and "Infantum cholera" , progressing to diphtheria and measurements of the stomach (deciding that alcoholics do not necessarily have distended stomachs), there was also vigorous discussion of pneumonia, conjunctivitis, typhoid fever and influenza. Strangely, there is no mention of the influenza epidemic of World War I.

Gradually these topics gave way to discussion of hysteria, grippe, infantile paralysis, summer diarrhea, and weakfoot. Pneumonia, problems related to pregnancy and cancer were frequently matters of report and discussion. In 1912 there was discussion of Freud's theories.

In February 1906, the name of Stella Q. Root was presented for membership and referred to the Board of Censors. Membership rules had to be "classified" to allow for her acceptance. On April 17th, Dr. Root became the first woman member of the Society.

Usually the candidates presented for membership were accepted. Occasionally an acceptance was deferred because the candidate had practiced less than a year in Stamford, and there were those who were never accepted on account of failure to meet the requirements.

Alternate forms of medicine, osteopathic, chiropractic, etc. were investigated and frequently lobbied against in the State legislature.

Problems of health care in Stamford were handled often in cooperation with the city Health Department. The sale of milk was a concern early in the century. In 1916 the Society was moved to establish a children's welfare clinic, and in 1917 it endorsed vaccination of all school children. In 1920, Dr. Root, then president of the Society, presented the Society's approval of a full-time, especially trained public health officer. It was not until 1922, however, that a motion to approve a full-time public health officer was published in The Advocate (Stamford newspaper).

Polio continued to be of serious concern in 1929 and again in 1930.

In 1934 the city and the Society were establishing a plan to provide medical care for the indigent poor. This continued to be a problem throughout the Depression. It was not until 1939 when 7087 people were on relief that a "Medical Relief Commission" went into action. Collusion between the Welfare Department and physicians was charged in 1940 and investigation requested.

By 1940, "modern" medicine as we know it, appeared in the form of sulfadiazine, a sulfa drug that is used especially in the treatment of meningitis, pneumonia, and intestinal infections. A First Aid clinic was begun at Yale & Towne, doctors began leaving for the armed forces, and a paper on "Genuine Aspects of Gas Warfare" was given.

The Society was concerned that physicians essential to communities must not be called for duty. Dr. Crane edited a newsletter to be sent to Society members in the armed forces.

Postwar planning began in 1943. There was discussion of "War Surgery" in both wars in 1945. In 1946 physicians were asked to render emergency care to veterans for service-related disabilities. Also in 1946 it was announced that streptomycin, an antibiotic used against many bacteria, especially in the treatment of tuberculosis, was available at Stamford Hospital. In 1948 the Red Cross began a blood bank at the hospital.

In the 1940's the Society began serious support of the Society's medical library and the hospital library. Aureomycin, used for chlortetracycline, was the subject in March of 1950. The Civil Defense Commission was formulation a list of physicians' assignments and the Red Cross began community blood typing. Work being done at the Rehabilitation Center was discussed and fluoridation was recommended to the Stamford Water Company.

Early on, all records were handwritten and the writing is generally clear and understandable. Witty comments were made by some, notably Doctors J. J. Ryle and Dr. D'Andrea. Overall the minutes reflect the honest efforts of Stamford doctors to maintain a standard of profession excellence and responsibility, to keep abreast of medical advances and, in general, to oversee the health of their community.

Created by D. Mix and C. Brown
November 2000

List of Records

Box 1
Folder 1 Papers pertaining to microfilm of collection produced by Northeast Document Conservation Center.
Folder 2 18 slides of various events, documents, and people.
Folder 3 Historical Address by Dr. Frank H. D'Andrea delivered at the 75th anniversary meeting of the Stamford Medical Society.
Folder 4 Book: The Story of The Stamford Hospital School of nursing 1901-1976by Marie Updegraff.
Folder 5 Papers pertaining to Stamford Medical Society
Folder 6 2 Programs:
A Brief History: the Growing of St. Luke's Community Services, Inc.
St. John's Church House paper.
Folder 7 Notebook 1 Minutes, February 7, 1893 - May l3,1902
Folder 8 Notebook 2 Minutes, September 30, 1902 - January 14, 1918
Folder 9 Notebook 3 Minutes, February 12, 1918 - January 8, 1935
Box 2
Folder 1 Notebook 2 Minutes, September 30, 1902 - January 14, 1918
Folder 2 Notebook 3 Minutes, February 12, 1918 - January 8, 1935

Note: In September 2000, The Stamford Historical Society transferred the Minute Books of the Stamford Medical Society to Microfilm. There are two reels located in the library in the microfilm collection.

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