Barnes Medical College Gross Anatomy Instruction Photographs

Exterior view of the first Barnes Medical College building. Color postcard, exterior view of the second Barnes Medical College building. Interior view of the Barnes Dental College Infirmary. Interior view of the Barnes Dental College Infirmary. Group portrait of the Barnes University football team. Group portrait of the Barnes Medical College class of 1904. Group portrait of Barnes Medical College students in front of the Dispensary.


Reference code


Level of description



Barnes Medical College Gross Anatomy Instruction Photographs


  • 1894-1906 (Creation)


0.4 cubic feet (2 boxes, 2 map case folders)

Name of creator


Administrative history

Barnes Medical College was founded in 1892 as a "for-profit" institution by a group of St. Louis physicians and businessmen. In 1911, Barnes Medical College merged with American Medical College. In 1912, the product of this merger was given a new name: National University of Arts and Sciences. The effort failed, however, and all programs ceased by 1918.

Barnes Medical College was 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.

Scope and content

This collection consists of 12 photographs and 1 diploma related to Barnes Medical College. The photographs primarily depict Gross Anatomy students and their dissected cadavers. Other depicted subjects include exterior views of Barnes Medical College, interior views of the Barnes Dental College Infirmary, group portraits of Barnes Medical College students, and a Doctor of Medicine diploma from Barnes Medical College awarded to Charles DeWitt Hibbetts.

System of arrangement

Some items have been previously removed from this collection, which has led to an incomplete sequence of numbered items.

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

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 (

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift, Gattermeir, Barbara, 1 August 2009, Accession number 2010-003: Barnes Medical College Gross Anatomy Instruction Photographs, VC060 (Barnes Medical College photographs), : Two photographic prints (16x21 cm) mounted on cardstock - portraits of Barnes Medical College anatomy students posing with their cadavers. Both prints dated January 1894. From the personal collection of Dr. James Stewart, Barnes Medical College class of 1895. He is not pictured in either photograph. Items numbered VC060013 and VC060014.

Gift, Mariel O. Camp, 01 December 2008, Accession number 2008-039: VC060 (Barnes Medical College): Diploma of the Barnes Medical College, St. Louis, for the degree of doctor of medicine awarded to Charles DeWitt Hibbetts, 1904. Composite photo of Barnes Medical College class of 1904 and faculty. Composite photo is extremely fragile.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Rules or conventions

"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

Sources used

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

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