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Detroit College of Medicine

Detroit, Michigan



HathiTrust and Internet Archive both have early catalogs of Detroit College of Medicine and its predecessor.  HathiTrust also has the the 1900 Souvenir Annual.  Wayne State University has the 1914 and 1929 Erythrocyte as part of its digital collection of yearbooks.


The Detroit College of Medicine was chartered in 1868.  In 1879 a competing Michigan College of Medicine was founded.  In 1885 the two schools merged under the name Detroit College of Medicine.  In 1913 the school was restructured as the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery, passing under that name into the control of the Board of Education for the City of Detroit.   In addition to the medical school, D.C.M.&S. contained a dental school and a veterinary school.  In 1933 the Board joined D.C.M.&S. with the Liberal Arts, Education, Pharmacy, Engineering and Graduate schools that comprised the College of the City of Detroit.  In 1934 this structure became known as Wayne State University.  Today Wayne State University College of Medicine has more than a thousand students.  


The Flexner Report shows 161 students in 1909.  Students tended to be more or less local.  Fifteen of the 28 graduates in 1914 were from Michigan.  Another eight came from Ontario.  All graduates at that time were male. The 1916-17 catalog shows 170 total students.


Flexner's praise of the school is muted.  He praises the strict enforcement of entrance requirements.  Otherwise, expressions such as "ordinary routine," "slight additional," "fair" and "on the usual terms" dot the analysis.  While noting the clinical opportunities in Detroit, Flexner notes that "sound policy" would probably close D.C.M.


In 1913 the junior class began to publish a school yearbook.  At that time D.C.M. had chapters of four fraternities--Phi Rho Sigma, Alpha Phi Sigma, Phi Beta Pi and Nu Sigma Nu.  Other than the yearbook staff, no other organizations are shown.  The 1916-17 catalog shows a student council and an athletic council.


Students at Detroit Medical College managed occasionally to make the newspapers.  In 1900 a D.C.M. student, Harry Brailey, contacted smallpox after dissecting an infected cadaver.  His roommate Joseph J. Young, another D.C.M. student, nursed him back to health but died himself from the disease.   At Halloween 1912 rioting D.C.M. students fought a pitched battle with Detroit police.  From fall 1917 to spring 1919 faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Detroit Medical College operated Base Hospital 36 in Vittel, France.  There they treated the wounds, injuries, and illnesses of allied personnel--including civilians--suffered during World War I.


Bricks and Mortar

In 1889 Detroit College of Medicine moved into a new four-story building at the corner of St. Antoine and Mullet streets.  The building contained 40,000 square feet.  In addition to recitation rooms, the library, and the Y.M.C.A. room, space was divided into "well-equipped labs."   A neighboring four-story building contained additional space for classrooms.   Burned in 1894, it was rebuilt in 1897.


Catalogs describe Detroit as the "medical center of a wide territory."  Nine hospitals and dispensaries were located in the immediate vicinity of  D.C.M., providing ample clinical opportunities for students.  In addition students had access to the Wayne County Asylum, the Detroit Tuberculosis Sanatorium, the Michigan State Sanatorium for Tuberculosis and the  Michigan Home for Feeble Minded.


In spring of 1927 D.C.M. moved into a new six-story building, located in the same area.  

The St. Antoine Street Building.  (Catalogue and Announcements 1916-17 <;view=1up;seq=7>) accessed 2-14-2017

The 1899 Detroit College of Medicine football team.  (Souvenir Annual 1900  <;view=1up;seq=88> accessed 2-14-2017


College Football Data Warehouse shows one football game for D.C.M.--a loss to Detroit University in 1904. However, newspaper show games with Olivet and Adrian in 1909 and at least one game with Lapeer High School in 1912.  The 1900 Souvenir Yearbook contains an image of the 1899 team.


D.C.M. fielded a basketball team in some years.  The 1916-17 catalog lists team members; newspapers note games with Pontiac High School and Olivet College in 1914.


The Erythrocyte has a section on the 1914 baseball team which played against Detroit University, Assumption College of Windsor, Detroit Business University, and Michigan State Normal of Ypsilanti.





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