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American College of Medicine and Surgery

Chicago, Illinois



Most of what we know a about the early history of American College of Medicine and Surgery comes from its ads in various medical journals. HathiTrust has the 1911 Flexner Report, which profiled the school.  The 1904 Spalding Football Guide has the schedule and photo of the 1903 team.  The school seal (right) comes from the 1915 commencement program, used by permission of Etsy Studio.


Chicago Eclectic Medical College was founded in 1901.  It became American College of Medicine and Surgery in 1902; the same year it became the medical department of Valparaiso University.  In 1907 it adopted the name Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery.  In 1917 it was purchased by Loyola University.  The Irish Standard notes that this merger created a college of 400 students.  In 1948 that college became known as the Stritch School of Medicine, and as such continues today as a major research and medical school.


A.C.M.&S. advertised itself as “not a LARGE school but a GOOD one.” The Flexner Report lists an enrollment of 366 (up from 315).  But Flexner credits this increase on the school’s accepting advanced students from “low grade institutions.”   The teaching staff was 71 (37 professors); none were full time faculty.  Some Valparaiso faculty also taught classes at A.C.M.&S.  


The Illinois Medical Bulletin reported in 1906 that beginning in 1908 A.C.M.&S. would require a preliminary year of physics, chemistry, biology and languages prior to a student’s admission.  However, Flexner found that this was not the case as a high school diploma or its equivalent was the only requirement.    In 1913 the school was included in the list of medical schools receiving a B classification from the American Medical Association  as “needing general improvements to be made acceptable.”


Before the merger, A.C.M.&S. students had chapters of four medical fraternities—Delta Omicrion Alpha, Phi Delta, Kappa Psi and Phi Chi. 

Bricks and Mortar





An adjoining building to the north contained the Free Dispensary.  A school ad claims that over a four-month period in 1905-06, supervised Senior students examined 2,000 patients there.


In 1903 A.C.M.&S. gave $10,000 to the Frances E. Willard National Temperance Hospital to build next door on Lincoln Avenue.  The hospital was connected to the college by a steel corridor extending across the alley.  In addition, A.C.N.&S. “enjoyed all the privileges offered by the famous Cook County Hospital,” thus providing students with abundant clinical opportunities.


When the school was purchased by Loyola University, the medical department immediately moved to the Lincoln Street facilities, remaining there until 1967.

In 1902 A.C.M.&S. purchased the former home of the Women’s Medical College at 333 South Lincoln Street (in “the midst of the greatest hospital and medical district in the United States.”  Built in 1877, it was a four story building with a frontage of 100 feet.  It contained two large amphitheaters, two recitation rooms, and what Flexner calls “the usual laboratories.”  The main floor measured about 30,000 square feet.  

This 1910 postcard view of the ACM&S complex shows the college building (left).  To its immediate right is the dispensary.  The corridor at the extreme left leads to the Willard Hospital.  Image courtesy of


            Colors: The seal suggests some shade of brown or gold

            Team name: Medics

American College of Medicine and Surgery played football for at least five years (1901-05)  The 1903 team played an eight-game schedule, winning six.  They defeated Kensington and Elgin Academies, St. Viateur’s College, Chicago Veterinary College, Northwestern Medical College, and a team from Ft. Sheridan.  Losses were to Notre Dame and Chicago Dental College.  The Medics seem to have competed reasonably well against similar teams.  However when they stepped out of their league to play Notre Dame and Michigan, they absorbed some horrendous beatings—92-0 and 142-0 to Notre Dame and 72-0 to Michigan in 1904—a game in which A.C.M.&S. registered minus total yardage, and the game was stopped after eight and a half minutes of the second half.

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