The Rare Books & Manuscripts Section has recently acquired a collection of 127 class cards issued by various American medical schools between 1814 and 1897. This acquisition more than doubles the size of our collection of medical school class cards.
A student enrolled in any medical school during the 19th century was required to obtain from the registrar a card for each class (or series of lectures) in which he or she desired to enroll. These cards validated attendance at lectures, dissections, and rounds in hospital wards.
Medical school class cards are of great interest to the historian. They provide a record of what classes were being taught at a given school in the year issued and who was teaching each class. If a set of cards complete, it lays out the student’s course of study and how long it took him or her to complete.