The Victor Vaughan Student Society for the History and Philosophy of Medicine was established in 1929 by a group of medical students with the help of the chairman of Medicine, Dr. Cyrus Sturgis. For the next 50 years members were invited from the senior class. The Society was named for Victor C. Vaughan, the dean of the Medical School from 1891 to 1921.
During the Society’s first decades, students and faculty mentors presented lengthy papers at the monthly meetings, all preserved in bound volumes now housed in the Taubman Health Sciences Library. The format changed in 1980 to include presentations by students or faculty members interested in the history of medicine. Today, the monthly meetings may include student papers, invited speakers, and sessions on literature and medicine. Members also may visit the Medical Rare Book Room at the Taubman Health Sciences Library, the Bentley Historical Library, the William L. Clements Library, or other locations rich in medical history.
In 2003 the society found a permanent home at the Center for the History of Medicine, which is located in the historic Simpson Memorial Institute on Observatory Street. The first director of the Simpson Institute was Dr. Cyrus Sturgis, whose named library is located on the first floor of the Simpson building, so history and the Victor Vaughan Society truly have come full circle.
All students, faculty, residents, and others interested in the history of medicine are welcome to attend. Dr. Howard Markel is the faculty advisor, and Yael Braunschweig and Ronald Siebenaler are the student co-presidents for 2014-2015. For more information, contact the Center at 734-647-6914, or e-mail Yael or Ronald.