Statement of Significance (as of designation - October 6, 2008):
Founded in 1787 as a membership association of physicians, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is the oldest private medical society in the United States.The College of Physicians has been distinguished for its contributions to medical research and education. Its membership has comprised some of the leading American physicians and surgeons of the last three centuries. One of these was S. Weir Mitchell, Americas first neurologist. Mitchell was also a major figure in bringing the College of Physicians into the new era of twentieth-century medicine and the principal visionary who created the current College of Physicians Building. The Colleges medical library is one of the countrys oldest and a nationally important research collection; the Mütter Museum is a unique nineteenth-century gallery of specimens, teaching models, instruments, and photographs. Designed by the firm of Cope & Stewardson, the buildings combination of a rather opulent club-like character with efficient and progressive library and museum facilities, illuminates the transformation of an exclusive and somewhat guild-like trade into a modern profession.