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Friends Medical Society records

Identifier: HC.MC-1199

Scope and Contents

The Friends Medical Society, whose constituents were primarily medical doctors, was founded in 1950, and dealt with a large number of worldwide medical issues, sometimes in concert with the American Friends Service Committee. The collection consists of two series: topical and members. The first series contains documents organized by topic. Of note may be the documents, pamphlets, and correspondence on the subject of nuclear warfare, selective service and conscientious objectors, and international healthcare efforts. The countries which feature most prominently are Korea, the USSR, China, Vietnam, and India. The second series contains folders for documents relating to individual members of the society. These folders most commonly hold a form or survey for applying for membership in the Society, but also include correspondence or other documents related to the individual. The correspondence in this series primarily revolves around contributions or membership dues and miscellaneous conversations between the member and executive staff of the Society.


  • Creation: 1950-2006


Limitations on Accessing the Collection

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright and Rights Information

Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17)

Historical note

A number of Quaker physicians met in 1950 at Pendle Hill in Wallingford, PA to discuss the common concerns they had relating to national and world developments. The Friends Medical Society was formed as an outgrowth of this meeting. The aims and purposes were:

1. To provide a channel for the expression and discussion of concerns not ordinarily dealt with in other medical organizations

2. To work with the American Friends Service Committee and other organizations of similar purpose on medical problems and medical projects and to support appropriate medical activities. These included projects in Korea, Tunisia, Yugoslavia, the Near East, Africa, India and Russia.

3. To help physicians, dentists and medical students with problems arising from the "doctor's draft" or who are interested in practicing in areas of need

4. To provide a job placement service for physicians

5. To circulate information with a regular newsletter

6. To carry out a long-range program of study and investigation of the special contributions which Quaker and like-minded physicians might make to medical problems in general

Over the next 17 years, there were about 300 physicians and some other medical personnel who actively participated in the Society. The Society released three statements to the press in that time with concerns over thermonuclear warfare, civil defense and development of chemical and biological weapons. By 1967, their concern carried over to medical problems resulting from the Vietnam War as well as population growth.

While there were no dues, the Society relied on donations from its members, and expected that major projects would be financed through their associated corporation, The Friends Medical Foundation.

The Executive Committee of the Friends Medical Society was made up from members of the Society and generally with a representative of the American Friends Service Committee in attendance.

Among leaders of the society were Victor Vaughan, who served as chairman for a period, as did Huston Westove. Deborah Vaughan was secretary for a long period. Joseph Stokes was executive secretary and William Plummer was vice-chair of the society.

Information from an undated letter in the collection written by J. Huston Westover, M.D. and from Friends Medical Society, a pamphlet by J. Russell Elkinton, 1967 and internal evidence


7 Linear Feet (14 boxes)




The Friends Medical Society, a Quaker organization that was founded in 1950. The collection includes information about their programs around the world along with information on its members, predominantly medical doctors.


Gift of the officers of the Friends Medical Society, through Deborah Vaughan, 2001 & 2007


Received in 2001 (acc. no. 6577) and 2007 (acc. no. 7148)

Processing Information

Processed by Diana Peterson. Reboxed and information updated by Lilian Sweeney in November 2020.

Friends Medical Society records, 1950-2006
Diana Franzusoff Peterson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • November 2020: Reboxed and information updated by Lily Sweeney

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting or requesting reproductions from Haverford College Quaker & Special Collections Library

370 Lancaster Ave
Haverford PA 19041 USA US