As the newly appointed Archivist for the Society of American Bacteriologists in 1934, Barnett Cohen of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine aimed to preserve the history of microbiology in the United States both nationally and at the local level. In addition to acquiring the corporate records of the Society, Cohen’s long-term project was to oversee the preparation of a history of American bacteriology with regionally focused chapters written by the those who lived it. Though this aim was cut short by Cohen's untimely death in 1952, some of these chapters were written and published as individual papers elsewhere. In 1959 Paul F. Clark used those chapters and other materials gathered by Cohen, combined with other sources to publish the landmark book, Pioneer Microbiologists of America.
Cohen’s interest in the local historical approach was also reflected in his establishment of a symposium at the Society’s Annual Meeting beginning in 1941 that would examine the history of bacteriology of the city in which the meeting was held. This symposium continued until a few years following Cohen's death, through 1955 and a brief revival in 2009. In a number of cases, typed copies of the remarks by various speakers were deposited in the Society’s Archives. The Local History Symposium featured work in the fields of microbiology performed in the cities of Baltimore, New York City, Detroit, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Cincinatti, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh.
These documents are kept with other records of the individual meetings of which the round tables were a part, so they are included in Section 2-Meetings of the Records of the Society held at CHOMA and organized chronologically. For the convenience of researchers interested in local bacteriological history, the holdings pertaining to all of these round tables are summarized below.
To jump to the finding aid for Section 2- Meetings, go here: https://lib.guides.umbc.edu/c.php?g=836720&p=6576822#s-lg-box-wrapper-24527984
For additional information, contact the ASM Archivist.
1941: Baltimore, Maryland
1944: New York, New York
1946: Detroit, Michigan
p. 4 Bacteriology at the University of Michigan. Malcolm Soule
p. 17 Bacteriology at Michigan State College. Ward Giltner
p. 29 DIFCO. H. G. Dunham
p. 34 Parke, Davis and Company representative. A. S. Schlingman
p. 40 Bacteriology at Wayne University. Harry L. Clark
p. 49 Bacteriology in the City of Detroit Department of Health. Joseph A. Kasper
p. 55 Bacteriology in the Hospitals and Clinical Laboratories in the Detroit Area. William L. Brosius
p. 59 The History of Water Bacteriology in Detroit. Albert M. Shannon
p. 69 Bacteriology in the Dairy Industry in the Detroit Area. Russell R. Palmer
p. 81 Bacteriology in the Michigan Department of Health. George D. Cummings
1947: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
p. 1 History of Veterinary Bacteriology in Philadelphia. E. L. Stubbs (separate typescript only, 9 pp)
p. 1 History of Bacteriology of Tuberculosis in Philadelphia. Florence Seibert (separate typescript only, 7 pp)
p. 2 History of Freeze Drying of Biological Products in Philadelphia. Earl Flosdorf
p. 14 Ten Years' Work of the Laboratories for the Study of Airborne Infections. William Wells
p. 26 The Electron Microscope in Philadelphia Bacteriology. Thomas Anderson
p. 39 History of Bacteriology in Commercial Laboratories. Christopher Roos
1948: Minneapolis, Minnesota
1949: Cincinnati, Ohio
1951: Chicago, Illinois
1952: Boston, Massachusetts
1953: San Francisco, California
1954: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1955: New York, New York
1956: Houston, TX
In recognition of the American Society for Microbiology's designation of the location of the University of Pennsylvania's Laboratory of Hygiene as a Milestones in Microbiology site, the tradition of a local history symposium was revived in 2009.
2009: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania