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Harold J. Abrahams Papers c.1968
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Society and Executive Board meeting minutes, committee records, subject files, correspondence, mailings, event fliers, publications, newsletters, financial ledgers, legal briefs, and published legal proceedings document the formal operations of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia.

Administrative records comprises Series I. This series notably contains membership and officer election records, copies of various editions of the Society’s constitution and by-laws, financial records, and press releases.

The Transactions and Minutes series (Series II) comprises the bulk of the collection. It consists primarily of bound records of the meetings and business of the Society through 1970. The earliest minutes are called Transactions. Some volumes, especially those dating to the twentieth century, contain additional MSDC records including correspondence, committee reports, membership summaries, publications, and mailings. Beginning in 1971, the recorded minutes are solely of Executive Board meetings and can be found in Series III.

Records of the MSDC’s Executive Board comprises Series III. In addition to the continuation of the Society’s minutes (Series II), this series notably contains Executive Board meeting agendas, proceedings of the MSDC’s annual business meetings, and memoranda sent to the Executive Board.

The bulk of the Committees, Boards, and Councils series (Series IV) is comprised of committee minutes, originally kept in binders organized chronologically and then by committee name. Some additional committee documents (reports, correspondence with the Executive Board and the Society’s Executive Secretary, and mailings) can be found in the minute books in Series II. Memoranda on Committee Activities, summarized reports of various committee activities which were created for the Executive Board, can be found in Series III. Additional committee records including reports, correspondence, events, and mailings are organized by committee name. The majority of the records detailing the MSDC’s activities during World War II can be found under the Committee on Military Affairs.

Records pertaining to the lawsuit against the MSDC and the American Medical Association (AMA) regarding their violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act by preventing physicians from working for Group Health Association, Inc., the District of Columbia's group health insurer, are found in Series IX. The case was eventually appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court (317 U.S. 519) in 1943. In addition to the published court proceedings, the notebooks of William Leahy (the counsel representing the MSDC and the AMA) are found in Series IX.

Records of the Medical Association of the District of Columbia can be found in Series XI. The Association was founded in 1833 and was amalgamated with the MSDC in 1911. Unlike the MSDC, the Association could create and recommend fee schedules for routine medical services, a role which the new amalgamated MSDC undertook after the merger. Notably, much of the files within the Correspondence subseries include disputes between doctors and allegations of malpractice against physicians in the District.

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