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History of Medicine Finding Aids

Microfilm Reels of the Committee for the Nation's Health Records from the Michael M. Davis Collection, in the New York Academy of Medicine 1939-1955 (bulk 1946-1955)
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All Series Level Scope and Content Notes

Minutes, memoranda, publications, correspondence, draft legislation, and other administrative records relating to the Committee's lobbying efforts on behalf of national health insurance during the Truman administration. Includes copies of many of Truman's speeches on health matters; material on the opposition of the National Physicians' Committee for the Extension of Medical Service and American Medical Association to national health insurance; and material on health legislation introduced by James Murray, Robert F. Wagner, and John Dingell. Most of the material was collected by the Committee for the Nation's Health; some of it derives from Michael M. Davis, in whose papers the records now reside.


Series 1 contains the CNH's administrative records, covering the organization's political and financial activity from 1946 until its demise early in 1956. Most of the material was stored in yearly binders, but some information was also kept loose in folders. Transitions between binders have been inferred from the changes in binder tab position (from top to side, and vice versa), labelling styles, and dates of the materials contained in each section. In this guide to the microfilmed papers of the CNH, the titles given on file folder and binder separator labels have been retained with only minor changes or additions. Unfortunately the titles are not always an accurate reflection of date or content; hence the researcher should use these titles as more of an indication of his or her position in the microfilmed records rather than as exact guides to the contents of each file or binder division.

Included in the records are memos, copies of minutes, and the financial reports sent to Executive Committee members; reprinted articles, news clippings, and CNH policy statements and strategy plans used in the organization's campaign for national health insurance; and materials produced by the CNH's opposition (especially the American Medical Association). Although these papers give a full portrait of the CNH's public relations campaign to gain the support of individuals, political and media organizations, and union locals and media, the CNH files contain little actual correspondence. They do, however, contain the drafts and final versions of fundraising appeals, speeches, press releases, articles, and pamphlets on national health insurance, as well as notes and analyses by Davis, CNH Chairman Dr. Channing Frothingham, and Education Director Frederick E. Robin.

The material in series 1 should be supplemented with the four folders of Executive Committee memos and minutes for 1948 and 1949 filmed in 1972 and found on reel twelve.


Michael M. Davis's files on Harry S. Truman contain mostly published transcripts of Truman's speeches on national health insurance, as well as newspaper accounts and other materials related to Truman's public statements on health care and health economics issues. Most folders in this section are headed by the dates and occasions of Truman's speeches, and sometimes contain notes by Davis (and possibly others) on text and policy.


Series 3 appears to consist of material found in three distinct subseries in Michael M. Davis's files on the American Medical Association (AMA). The first subseries consists of materials on the AMA's opposition to the CNH, while the third details the similar activities of the AMA-associated National Physicians' Committee for the Extension of Medical Service (NPC). Correspondence, publications, and news clippings related to the AMA's and NPC's campaigns can be found here. The second subseries consists of six folders on the campaign against national health insurance and the CNH by Whitaker and Baxter, a San Francisco-based political public relations firm hired by the AMA to direct their national education campaign. All three subseries contain examples of CNH's response to the AMA efforts.

Additional material can be found misfiled on reel 1.


Series 4 holds CNH correspondence and materials related to health and health insurance bills introduced into Congress in the 1940s and 1950s, principally those sponsored by Congressmen James Murray, Robert F. Wagner, John Dingell, and others. These thirty folders contain draft and finished copies of these bills, congressional reports and hearings on health insurance and related subjects, and notes, comments, and analyses by Davis and other CNH officials. Also included are news clippings, mailings, and correspondence related to specific bills, including correspondence with Murray, Wagner, Dingell, I.S. Falk, and others.