The Physicians' Club of Chicago, 1899, Historical Sketch

The Physicians' Club was formed by the union of the Doctors' and Practitioners' Clubs.

The former had a membership almost wholly on the South Side, while the latter was composed of members from every part of the city. Their aims and purposes were similar, viz. : to promote sociability and good fellowship among the members of the profession, and to discuss at monthty meetings general topics of current interest, related in any way to medical affairs.

It was thought that a combination of these forces would be more useful and more productive of good than both operating singly.

In answer to an invitation from the Executive Committee of the Practitioners' Club, the Executive Committees of both Clubs met October 14th, 1895, and agreed to advise consolidation of the membership, and that the Doctors' Club amend its Charter by inserting the word " Physicians' " in place of the word "Doctors'." It was further agreed that all members in good standing, in either of the Clubs, should be members of the new organization ; that the membership should be limited to 250 ; that the annual dues should be $2.00; and that monthly meetings, with dinners and discussion, should be the order, as heretofore.

The Reports of the Committees were discussed by each of the Clubs in special sessions, and adopted by vote.

The first meeting of the new organization was held at the Union League Club, Monday evening, Nov. 25th, 1895. Dr. John Ridlon presided, and sixty-five members from both of the old Clubs were present. The new Constitution and By-Laws that had been formulated and endorsed by the Executive Committees in a joint session, were presented and adopted.

The second year of the existence of the Physicians' Club was marked by prosperity; the membership limit was almost reached, in spite of the fact that a number of members were retired for non-payment of dues, and a considerable number of old members were added to the honorary list.

With the notice for the meeting of January 25th, 1897, at which was discussed the subject " What is the attitude of the Physicians' Club in local political affairs ? " a postal card vote was taken, which resulted almost unanimously in the resolution that the Club should take some active part in local municipal affairs. Final action upon this question was deferred until the next meeting of the Club, which was held February 22nd, 1897. The following resolutions were adopted :

Whereas, The necessity is apparent and urgent for every good citizen to use his influence to promote local good government, and

Whereas, It appears that the Physicians' Club may reasonably undertake as an organization that which each member attempts individually, therefore,

Be it resolved, That the Physicians' Club shall, in a non-partisan way, exert its influence for good government in Chicago.

Resolved: That no discussion or action upon a question which is of a partisan or party character shall be tolerated.

Resolved ; That a committee of five, which may be called the "Good Government Committee" be appointed by the Directors, which Committee shall act in conjunction with the Civic Federation, the Municipal Voters' League, and other organizations having similar objects, to the end, that good men may be nominated for local offices, and that the members of the Club may be informed as to the best men before them for their suffrages.

Resolved : That it is the sense of the Club that all medical offices be filled by medical men.

At the following meeting of the Directors a Good Government Committee was selected. Of this Committee, Dr. H. M. Starkey was chosen chairman, and Drs. A. R. Edwards, D. R. Brower, Truman W. Miller and George F. Fiske the other members.

This Committee took immediate action and issued a circular to nearly all the physicians and dentists of Chicago, containing information and advice concerning the candidates in the spring municipal election.

The Physicians' Club of Chicago represents the liberal-minded element in the profession. It takes cognizance of political and sociological conditions which relate to medical practice and principle. It has denounced, in no uncertain manner, partisan favoritism in the management of our health department. It has taken exception to irregularities in the administration of public charities and the control of eleemosynary institutions. It has criticised any apparent deviation from professional etiquette. It has discussed with freedom some of the vagaries of contemporaneous practice. It has invited to participate in its discussions and has treated in a tolerant manner, persons holding all sorts of opinions on all sorts of questions. It is an open arena to which is invited the expression of the most diversified views on matters pertaining to the welfare of society. It seeks the truth, and its endeavor is to foster a spirit of altruism among its members.

At the end of its third year of existence, its membership is full and several applicants are in waiting. Its meetings are well attended and the consideration of live topics of the day has often been animated. It is safe to assume that its future usefulness will be increased along these same lines, and that its influence will become more powerful in the profession—an influence constantly exerted for the public good.

The Physicians' Club of Chicago is in affiliation with the Illinois State Medical Society. Its members are admitted to membership in the American Medical Association upon certificate.

1. The Physicians' Club of Chicago, 1899-1900 Year Book, Pages 5-8.
See Also
Physicians' Club of Chicago 1899 Year Book (Transcription)

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