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American Medical College, Barnes Medical College, and National University of Arts and Sciences Collection | Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives

Collection Overview

Title: American Medical College, Barnes Medical College, and National University of Arts and Sciences CollectionAdd to your cart.

ID: PC/PC059

Extent: 2.0 Linear Feet

Biographical/Historical Note

This collection consists of documents relating to two medical colleges that were founded in the late 19th century in St. Louis, American Medical College and Barnes Medical College. Although both were commercial ventures, in their early years the two promoted opposing medical philosophies: the former was founded in 1873 by practitioners of “eclectic” medicine, who emphasized the use of herbal remedies; the latter in 1892 by “regular” physicians. In the early 20th century, both colleges reformed and broadened their curriculums and established small private hospitals and dispensaries for the clinical training of their students. The two merged in 1911 in an attempt to sustain an institution of higher learning that could compete with Washington University and St. Louis University and, like them, offer undergraduate instruction. In 1912 the product of this merger was given a new name, National University of Arts and Sciences. The effort failed, however, and all its programs ceased by 1918. For more information about these defunct institutions, see the headings to individual series, which are listed below.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

Most of the documents are course catalogs or commencement programs which are arranged in short series according to academic name. There are only a few unpublished items in the collection, including the notes of a Barnes medical student (1899-1900) and several Barnes Dental College contracts (1908-1915 with related letter).

[PC059]

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions: The collection is open and accessible for research.

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (arb@wusm.wustl.edu).

Related Materials:

Preferred Citation: [Item description, Box number, Folder number], American, Barnes and National Colleges Collection, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University School of Medicine.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: American Medical College publications and photographs, 1881-1912.],
[Series 2: Barnes Medical College or University bulletins, 1900-1912.],
[Series 3: Barnes University commencement ceremony documents, 1905-1915.],
[Series 4: Personal items from the Barnes teaching institutions, 1900-1910.],
[Series 5: Barnes Dental College contracts and related letter, 1908-1915.],
[Series 6: National University of Arts and Sciences documents, 1913-1915.],
[Series 7: Composite Class Photographs and Graduate Diplomas, 1897-1911.],
[All]

Series 2: Barnes Medical College or University bulletins, 1900-1912.Add to your cart.

Barnes Medical College was organized in 1892 as a for-profit venture by a group of physicians and business leaders and named in honor of a recently deceased merchant, Robert A. Barnes (1808-1892).  Barnes had bequeathed money for the construction of a hospital and it has been widely presumed that the educators’ choice of name was part of an attempt to secure an affiliation between the two institutions.  If so, the attempt failed, for the trustees of the Robert A. Barnes estate chose instead to reinvest the assets and wait for a more favorable time to build Barnes Hospital.  Ignoring the rebuff, the college trustees constructed a building of their own at 2645 Chestnut (later renamed Lawton) Street.  The institution quickly became the largest medical college in the city (ca. 400 students) and its program outgrew the original structure.  In 1896 a second building opened two blocks west, on Lawson at Garrison Avenue.  In 1902 the objective of a college-related clinical facility was achieved with the establishment of Centenary Hospital and the Barnes Dispensary in a new adjoining building.  The institution also operated a dental college (see below), a college of pharmacy, and a nurses’ training program.

At its height, the college enrolled approximately 600 students, and in 1904 changed its name to Barnes University.  Despite these enhancements and changes of name, it became increasing apparent that the institution was financially unstable.  The trustees offered their properties to the Curators of the University of Missouri in 1906 to house the state medical college.  The negotiations lasted over a year and the Curators came close to accepting what seemed at first to be a generous offer.  In the end, however, the state refused to pay the private venture’s debts and plans for the connection collapsed in 1908.  During this same period, Barnes did absorb a smaller private school, the Hippocratean College of Medicine.  Flexner severely criticized the Barnes institutions in 1909, however, a contemporary reviewer writing for the American Medical Association (Philip Skrainka, 1910) judged their quality “good.”  One year following the merger with American Medical College in 1911 the names Barnes ceased to refer to medical instruction by this organization.  For a brief period (1911-1914?) the Centenary facility was administered by Christian Hospital.  From 1919 until 1936 the city of St. Louis used the building as a hospital for African American patients (City Hospital No. 2).  The structures at Garrison and Lawton were demolished in 1960.

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Annual announcement, 1900-01.Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Bulletin, July 1903.Add to your cart.
Gift of Helen Wells, from papers of her father, James W. Wells, accession 2005-017
Folder 8: Bulletin, July 1906.Add to your cart.
Folder 9: Bulletin, July 1907.Add to your cart.
Folder 10_a: Bulletin, July 1908.Add to your cart.
This bulletin has extensive halftone photographs of the interiors of laboratories, amphitheaters, and Centenary Hospital patient rooms.
Folder 10_b: Bulletin, July 1908.Add to your cart.
A bound reproduction of the bulletin in Box 1, Folder 10, created 2006.
Folder 11: Centenary Hospital Training School (Nurses), schedule of lectures and recitations, 1908.Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Bulletin, January 1909.Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Bulletin, April 1909.Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Bulletin, October 1911.Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Bulletin, January 1912, announcement of the American Polyclinic, the post-graduate medical school of the university.Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: American Medical College publications and photographs, 1881-1912.],
[Series 2: Barnes Medical College or University bulletins, 1900-1912.],
[Series 3: Barnes University commencement ceremony documents, 1905-1915.],
[Series 4: Personal items from the Barnes teaching institutions, 1900-1910.],
[Series 5: Barnes Dental College contracts and related letter, 1908-1915.],
[Series 6: National University of Arts and Sciences documents, 1913-1915.],
[Series 7: Composite Class Photographs and Graduate Diplomas, 1897-1911.],
[All]

BERNARD BECKER MEDICAL LIBRARY
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