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Purdue University School of Medicine collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 174

Scope and Contents

The Purdue University School of Medicine collection documents the early history of the Purdue and Indiana University Schools of Medicine. The collection provides a wealth of correspondence in regards to the union of the three Medical Colleges in forming a single School of Medicine at Indianapolis, as the Medical Department of Purdue University. Many of the letters are between Purdue President W.E. Stone, Indiana University President William L. Bryan, and the teaching staff of the Indiana Medical College.

Included in the collection is a scrapbook containing numerous clippings and several programs related to the history of the Purdue and Indiana University Medical Schools from 1898-1907. Also included is a brief history containing annual reports (1896-1906), pamphlets (some course related), a memorandum and a joint resolution concerning the merging of three private Indiana medical institutions into the School of Medicine of Purdue University. The collection also contains the periodical; The Medical Student, published by Indiana Medical College, The School of Medicine of Purdue University.

Types of materials include: clippings (information artifacts), correspondence, historical documents, memoranda, pamphlets, a periodical, reports, a joint resolution and a scrapbook. There are several articles from 1997, written by Lafayette historian, Bob Kriebel, concerning the Purdue and Indiana Medical Schools.


  • 1895 - 1997
  • Majority of material found within 1905 - 1907

Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of the material in this collection are in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Historical Information

Between 1905 and 1908, Purdue University conducted a School of Medicine. Over the years there was a clash of interests between academia, government and Indiana University.

Before 1905, medical education in Indiana had been carried on by several private schools. In 1903 formal negotiations were entered upon between the Medical College of Indiana, an institution located in Indianapolis and Indiana University. During these proceedings representatives of the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons of Indianapolis broached the subject of a similar union between that institution and Purdue University.

In 1904 the negotiations between the Medical College of Indiana and Indiana University failed, and the matter was indefinitely abandoned.

In May, 1905, the Medical College of Indiana submitted to Purdue University the same proposal which had failed ratification with Indiana University. "The authorities of Purdue declined to take the matter under consideration until assured that no negotiations of a similar kind with any other institution in the State were pending or contemplated. The proposal of the Medical College of Indiana was to give its property and assets of an appraised value of $100,000 to Purdue University, and to accompany the gift by its good will and the gratuitous services of its faculty; the motive being to permanently establish a medical college of high order in connection with an educational institution of good standing."

The Trustees of Purdue University took the proposal under consideration, and during some months inquired carefully into the whole matter. "They were convinced that the conditions were unusually favorable to the consummation of a union of interests where all previous efforts had failed, and to the inauguration of a progressive educational movement of great value to the State."

In September, 1905, the proposal of the Medical College was formally accepted, subject to the approval of the Legislature, and the Medical College became a department of Purdue University with the title of "The Indiana Medical College, the School of Medicine of Purdue University."

Soon after, a committee of faculty of the Central College of Physicians and Surgeons of Indianapolis entered into the conference with a committee of the medical faculty of Purdue with regard to a union of the Central College with the Purdue School, and these negotiations culminated on September 25, 1905 in a vote of the trustees of the Central College to suspend the operation of that college and to transfer the students, alumni, personal property and funds of the College to Purdue University for the use and benefit of the school of medicine.

The Fort Wayne College of Medicine soon followed and on October 2, 1905 formally voted to suspend its operation and to transfer its students, alumni, equipment, and funds to Purdue University for the use and benefit of its school of medicine, and the University appointed to its teaching staff several members of the faculty of the Fort Wayne College.

In May, 1906, one hundred and twenty-two students received their diplomas from Purdue University and successfully passed the examination of the State Board of Medical Registration. In the spring of 1907, Purdue graduated sixty-eight men and four women. In that class was Arett C. Arnett who helped establish a Lafayette clinic in 1922, later known as Arnett Clinic.

Finally, in April 1908, the founders of the medical school in Indianapolis reached a resolution with the faculty at the Purdue medical department to consolidate the Purdue Medical Department with the State College of Physicians and the Bloomington Medical Department of Indiana University. The separate medical schools in Indiana had now been consolidated, marking the "second founding" of the Indiana School of Medicine.

In 1909, the Legislature clearly mandated that Indiana University assume total responsibility for the state's public medical school.


1.278 Cubic Feet (Two letter-size full-width manuscript boxes and one legal-size full-width manuscript box)


The collection has been arranged into three series.
  1. Correspondence
  2. Historical Documents
  3. Scrapbook, Clippings, Pamphlets, Memorandum, Joint Resolution, Periodical, and Reports

Physical Access Information

The scrapbook is in fragile condition and should be handled with care.

Acquisition Information

Source and date of acquisition are unknown.

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in acid-free folders, and acid-free boxes.
Purdue University School of Medicine collection
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2014-09-12.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-02-24: Collection description updated to new standards by Mary A. Sego.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States