Guide to the Cooper Medical College Collection

Daniel Hartwig
Stanford University Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives.
Stanford, California
May 2011
Copyright © 2015 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.


Call Number: SC0923
Creator: Stanford University
Title: Cooper Medical College collection
Dates: 1857-1974
Bulk Dates: 1857-1894
Physical Description: 0.75 Linear feet
Language(s): The materials are in English.
Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36-48 hours in advance. For more information on paging collections, see the department's website: .
Repository: Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives.
Stanford University Libraries.
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6064
Phone: (650) 725-1022

Administrative Information

Cite As

[identification of item], Cooper Medical College Collection (SC0923). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Cite As

[identification of item], Cooper Medical College Collection (SC0923). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Biographical/Historical note

The Medical Department of the University of the Pacific was the first medical school on the West Coast, founded in San Francisco in 1858 by Dr. Elias Samuel Cooper. Following the death of Dr. Cooper in 1862, the program was suspended. In 1864, Dr. Hugh Huger Toland founded Toland Medical College in San Francisco, which later became the medical department of the University of California. By 1872 the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific was reorganized as the Medical College of the Pacific in affiliation with University (City) College. In 1882 Dr. Levi Cooper Lane generously donated a state of the art building to the medical school and the name of the school was subsequently changed from the Medical College of the Pacific to Cooper Medical College in honor of Dr. Lane's uncle, Dr. Elias Samuel Cooper. In 1908, Dr. Lane granted permission for the equipment and properties of Cooper Medical College to be transferred to Stanford University. Instruction by Stanford University began in 1909 and continued in San Francisco until 1959, at which time the Stanford School of Medicine opened on the Stanford campus.

Scope and Contents note

The Cooper Medical College collection consists primarily of ephemeral material such as commencement invitations, programs, and addresses from Cooper Medical College and its predecessors, the Medical College of the Pacific, and Toland Medical College. Also included are several printed lectures from the Medical College of the Pacific, 1861-1879, annual reports, medical publications, faculty handbooks, clippings, and an alumni directory.

Access Terms

Cooper Medical College.
Cooper, Elias Samuel, 1820-1862.
Lane, Levi Cooper, 1833-1902.
Medical College of the Pacific (San Francisco, Calif.)
Toland Medical College.
University of the Pacific. Medical Dept.
Medicine--Study and teaching--California --Stanford.

Collection Contents


Collection items


Toland Medical College

Box 1, Folder 1

Toland Medical College-Opening Address 1866

Box 1, Folder 2

Toland Medical College-Valedictory Address 1869

Box 1, Folder 3

Toland Medical College-Annual Announcement of Lectures 1871

Box 1, Folder 4

Toland Medical College-History from: Thompson, William Benbow. The Story of the Professorship of Obstetrics at the University of California. Reprinted from: Portland, Or: Western Journal of Surgery Pub. Co 1950


Medical College of the Pacific


Announcement of the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific

Scope and Content Note

The present pamphlet indicates that while the school was established in 1858, it did not begin normal operation until the spring of the following year. "The regular Annual Course of Lectures in this Institution will commence on the first Monday in May, 1859, and be continued for eighteen weeks" (p. 8). The pamphlet also includes a brief outline of the courses offered and a schedule of fees.
Box 1, Folder 5

Medical College of the Pacific-Lectures 1861-1879

Box 1, Folder 6

Medical College of the Pacific-Annual Announcements 1872-1882

Box 1, Folder 7

Medical College of the Pacific-Commencement Programs 1871-1879

Box 1, Folder 8

Cooper, Elias Samuel-publications, addresses, biographical 1856-1938

Biography/Organization History

Elias S. Cooper, founder of California's (and the West Coast's) first medical school, came to San Francisco in May 1855 and immediatelyembarked on an ambitious program to advance the status of medicine in the state. He not only established his own medical and surgical practice in the city (which he promoted vigorously, to the dismay of some of his rivals), but also began his own private medical teaching program), agitated for improvements in the teaching of anatomy, helped to found both the San Francisco County Medico-Chirurgical Association and the California State Medical Society, began publishing the prestigious Pacific Medical and Surgical Journal, and in the fall of 1858 founded California's first medical school, attached to the University of the Pacific. The medical school's faculty originally consisted of Cooper and six others; Cooper's nephew, Levi Cooper Lane, joined the faculty in 1859. Cooper served as professor of anatomy and surgery at the school from its inception until his death eight years later. After Cooper's death the school went into decline, being eclipsed by the foundation in 1864 of the rival Toland Medical College, ancestor of the University of California's medical school. In 1870 Cooper's school was revived by Levi Cooper Lane and Henry Gibbons; in 1882 it was renamed Cooper Medical College after its founder. After several decades of independent existence, Cooper Medical College was acquired by Stanford University; Stanford University'sSchool of Medicine thus can trace its ancestry back to the first medical school founded on the West Coast.
Box 1, Folder 9

Lane, Levi Cooper-dissertation, publications 1876-1891, undated

Box 1, Folder 10

Thorne, W. S.-"Report on Surgery" 1885


Cooper Medical College

Box 1, Folder 11

Cooper Medical College-Annual Announcement 1885

Box 1, Folder 12

Cooper Medical College-Annual Report (Morse Dispensary) 1884-1890

Box 1, Folder 13

Cooper Medical College-Annual Report (Dispensary) 1891-1893

Box 1, Folder 14

Cooper Medical College-Annual Report of Clinics 1894

Box 1, Folder 15

Cooper Medical College-Commencement Invitations and Programs 1883-1912

Box 1, Folder 16

Cooper Medical College-Commencement Addresses 1884-1888

Box 1, Folder 17

Cooper Medical College-Commencement Addresses 1889

Box 1, Folder 18

Cooper Medical College-Commencement Addresses 1890

Box 1, Folder 19

Cooper Medical College-Commencement Addresses 1890

Box 1, Folder 20

Cooper Medical College-Announcement of Lectures 1859

Box 1, Folder 21

Cooper Medical College- Anatomical and Surgical Lectures (advertisement); To the Medical Profession (advertisement). 1856, 01858

Box 2, Folder 1

Cooper Medical College-Building-Dedication 1882

Box 2, Folder 2

Cooper Medical College-Building: Shuman, Ronald. Portraits: The Cooper Medical Building, the Lane Hospital Building. San Francisco: Pacific Medical Center 1974

Box 2, Folder 3

Cooper Medical College-Rules for the Government of the Faculty of Cooper Medical College 1891

Box 2, Folder 4

Cooper Medical College-Stanford University, and J. H. Wythe. Faculty of the Cooper Medical College, Successor to the Medical College of the Pacific, San Francisco, 1882-1912. [Palo Alto]: Stanford University, School of Medicine 1969

Box 2, Folder 5

Cooper Medical College-Letter to Alumni 1911

Box 2, Folder 6

Cooper Medical College-Alumni Directory, 1859-1912. San Francisco, CA: Cooper Medical College 1916

Box 2, Folder 7

Cooper Medical College-Barkan, Hans. Cooper Medical College, Founded by Levi Cooper Lane; an Historical Sketch. San Francisco, Ca: Stanford Medical Bulletin 1954

Box 2, Folder 8

Cooper Medical College-Clippings 1973