For more than 30 years, from 1940 through 1972, CMS published The Chicago Medical School Quarterly three to four times a year out of the campus at 710 S. Wolcott Avenue in Chicago. This publication mirrored the research projects and interests of the faculty, students and alumni. In the first edition, a student editorial extolls that “we, as students, alumni and faculty of the Chicago Medical School have an opportunity to hear our own fellow colleagues and to be heard by them.”
To encourage a collective channel of communication, the publication was sent to all alumni, who were encouraged to “subscribe” and contribute monetarily to sustain it. The entire student body subscribed, as noted in the first few volumes. Students comprised the personnel of the publication with an advisory committee, and consulting editors made up of faculty and friends of the school were noted on the attribution page.
“Even the advertisements in the back of the issues give a sense of the time and place through details of the restaurants, book dealers and instrument providers from the unique landscape around Cook County Hospital and the growing medical district.”
Student-led scientific journals had been a long-standing tradition of medical schools, preparing students for the role of physician scientist and offering initial opportunities for publication. Research articles, book reviews, abstracts, essays of perspective on the history of medicine or about the experiences of a medical student, and an introductory editorial framed most issues of the CMS Quarterly. Illustrations accompanied the text and varied throughout the issues. Views of Chicago Medical School history can be found in the publication through photographs of research efforts and clinical experiences, as well as portraits of new faculty members, and medical photography of gross and microscopic tissues. Diagrams, graphs, hand-drawn illustrations and cartoons provided further content and character to the publication.
In a letter to the editors in 1941, John J. Sheinin, MD, PhD, then dean of CMS, described the journal as “reflecting the academic, ethical and social spirit in the march of progress of our institution.” The Quarterly traces the activity of the school during World War II; political activism of the students in the 1950s through descriptions of student organizations like the Association of Interns and Medical Students; fraternal developments; alumni notes; details of seminars at the school; new books in the library; and the comings and goings of faculty. Even the advertisements in the back of the issues give a sense of the time and place through details of the restaurants, book dealers and instrument providers from the unique landscape around Cook County Hospital and the growing medical district. Last published in the middle of the last century, the CMS Quarterly is an enduring glimpse into the life of the school and the student experience of several generations of alumni.
Kelly Reiss is director of the Rosalind Franklin University Archives and the Feet First Exhibition.