Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / archives / 8.2 Collection Guide

Medical School of Maine: Historical Records and Files, 1813-1976, n.d.

39.5 linear feet.

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Agency History /
Biographical Note:

On June 27, 1820, the first legislature of Maine voted to establish the Medical School of Maine to be under the control of the Trustees and Overseers of Bowdoin College. The legislature granted $1500 for initial expenses and authorized annual payment of $1000 (which ended in 1834) for general expenses. The first series of lectures were given in the spring of 1821 by Dr. Nathan Smith, founder of the Dartmouth Medical School and then professor of medicine at Yale University, Dr. John Doane Wells and Professor Parker Cleaveland, who taught chemistry at Bowdoin for nearly forty years. Originally housed in Massachusetts Hall, the Medical School moved to its new quarters, Seth Adams Hall, in 1862. In the early 1900s, Andrew Carnegie financed a movement to improve medical education in the United States and get rid of substandard teaching facilities. The Medical School of Maine's reputation was dealt a severe blow when Carnegie's investigators gave it an unfavorable review. World War I saw a major shrinkage in the faculty and enrollment at the school. At that time, the school was running at a deficit of $7000 per year. In 1918, the Trustees voted to close the school in 1921, but the Overseers refused. In June 1920, the school celebrated its centennial. In September of that same year, the Medical Council considered the Medical School so far below standard that it voted to drop the school from Class A status. In December 1920, the Boards voted to end all responsibility for the school unless a endowment for it could be obtained by June 1921. No endowment was secured, and at the end of Commencement 1921 the Medical School of Maine ceased to exist.

Scope and Content:
Records of the Medical School of Maine. Collection includes matriculation records, biographical files on graduates and nongraduates, and records documenting the administration of the school and financial matters. Also includes dissertations written by students, catalogues of the library and anatomical preparations, class lecture notes, and a class photograph album (1869).

Cite as: Medical School of Maine: Historical Records and Files, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
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