Edward R. Loveland (1893-1960)

ACP’s First and Only Executive Secretary

One of the most significant organizational changes to come out of ACP’s 1926 Annual Session in Detroit was the decision to create the position of Executive Secretary of the College. At the suggestion of Dr. Alfred Stengel, Edward R. Loveland, the Office and Personnel Manager of the University of Pennsylvania, was interviewed for the position. Mr. Loveland was born in Aldine, New Jersey, July 13, 1893. He was educated at Banks College, Rochester Business Institute, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania. During World War I, Mr. Loveland served as an instructor in rehabilitation schools at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and Philadelphia General Hospital, which was then a military unit. He also taught commerce in several local Philadelphia high schools and was principal of the West Philadelphia Y.M.C.A. School from 1919-1921. In 1921, he accepted an administrative position at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Loveland accepted the Board of Regents Executive Committee’s offer and was appointed on April 4, 1926, as the first (and only) Executive Secretary of the American College of Physicians.

Edward R. Loveland

Mr. Loveland’s appointment as Executive Secretary coincided with the College’s shift from Chicago to Philadelphia. Soon after his appointment, he went to Chicago for a conference with the Secretary-General, Dr. Frank Smithies, in order to arrange for the transfer of the College records to Philadelphia. He also met with Dr. Clement Jones in Pittsburgh to become acquainted with the financial situation of the College. At this time the total assets of the College amounted to $18,500. The first person to be hired by Mr. Loveland was Pearl Ott, who remained his secretary until they both retired in 1959. In 1927, he arranged the first technical exhibits for the Annual Meeting held in Cleveland. In compliance with the College’s newly adopted Constitution and Bylaws, the new Executive Secretary now had personal responsibility for accounting, budgeting and the collection of all fees and dues.  

The College Thrives under Loveland’s Management

Mr. Loveland instituted the policy of reporting all the College’s general and financial activities to the Board of Regents (BOR). He presented a program for the investment of surplus funds that was approved by the Regents. Under his management, the assets of the College had increased to approximately $45,800 by the end of 1927 and to approximately $66,000 by January 1, 1930. Mr. Loveland also served as Business Manager for the Annals of Internal Medicine. While the Depression had resulted in reduced income for the College, Loveland’s managerial talents enabled ACP to finish the year with a surplus. By the BOR meeting on May 4, 1930, Edward R. Loveland had mentioned that the nationwide depression was greatly affecting the income of College Fellows, and suggested that a “lenient attitude” towards dues remittance should be ascribed to for legitimate cases of financial difficulty. 

When he was first hired, Mr. Loveland’s salary was $6,000 annually (approximately $84,729 in 2019 US dollars), with his eventual compensation reaching $10,000-$15,000. On April 4, 1932, the Executive Secretary reported that he had distributed a letter to members suggesting if any "found it impossible to pay his dues to promptly arrange through the Executive Offices for temporary deferment, or payment in monthly installments." By the November 13, 1932 BOR meeting, all membership fees were reduced for Fellows and Associates. At Mr. Loveland’s request, the BOR approved a temporary reduction in his salary so that other staff would not be affected. Under Loveland’s management, the College’s financial situation improved at a pace seemingly ahead of the nation in general. By 1936, the College’s finances enabled the purchase of the Eisenlohr Mansion at 4200 Pine Street, Philadelphia. The mansion, along with repairs, construction and furnishings, cost ACP $64,000 (approximately $1,155,547 in 2019 dollars).

Special Postgraduate Courses

In 1938, the Committee on Postgraduate Surveys recommended that the American College of Physicians offer “special postgraduate courses” prior to the next Annual Session in New York City. The Committee’s recommendation was that these courses be of two weeks duration, covering various specialized branches in internal medicine or allied subjects. These courses were to be organized at Harvard University, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Graduate School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. ACP Executive Secretary, Edward R. Loveland, convinced the  BOR that admission to these postgraduate courses should be an added membership privilege, that the College should underwrite the entire promotional work, handle the registration and collection of all fees and reimburse the educational institutions for the full cost of the courses. He emphasized that doing so would reduce the cost of the courses to the hosting institutions and therefore foster goodwill for additional courses to be offered at the nation’s top educational bodies.

Later that year, the BOR directed Mr. Loveland to investigate the possibility of the College offering “Group Liability Medical Practice Insurance” for its members. In summary, he concluded that because of legislation in many states, the lack of enthusiasm by insurance companies, and the marked differentiation in liability insurance rates presently in force, it was "impractical for the College to make any arrangements for liability insurance for its members at [that] time." This decision was revisited in 1953, when Mr. Loveland was asked to assist the Committee on Insurance in researching and developing a proposal for group professional liability insurance. By the end of the year, the malpractice plan had received applications from 528 Fellows. The premiums collected amounted to $26,766.00. Within four years, nearly 2,400 additional doctors were covered by the College’s professional liability insurer. 

33 Years of Service

During the March 1956 BOR meeting, ACP President George F. Strong brought to the attention of the board that April 1, 1956, would mark the thirtieth anniversary of Edward R. Loveland's appointment as Executive Secretary of the College. Accordingly, it was unanimously agreed that an Honorary Fellowship be conferred on Mr. Loveland. He would be invited to sit on the platform at the Convocation in “a College gown" and awarded an inscribed illuminated scroll. This resulted in an amendment to the College’s Constitution in order to allow a non-physician to receive this distinction. The inscription read in part, “[Edward R. Loveland’s] services have been distinguished by his constant adherence to the highest traditions of the medical profession. During these years, he has played an essential role in the advancement of the program of the College in the field of medical education and medical science. In grateful appreciation, the Board of Regents and the membership have elected him at the Annual Session in 1956, in Los Angeles, as the first and only recipient, other than a physician, of such Honorary Fellowship in the history of the College.”

Over the next few years Edward R. Loveland had begun to experience some health concerns including a significant hospitalization in 1958. Upon his return, Mr. Loveland informed the Regents of his decision to retire as Executive Secretary on December 31, 1959. At his official retirement celebration, Mr. Loveland received a long and meaningful ovation. President Dwight L. Wilbur summed up Loveland’s career by stating that, “I assure you I speak for countless Officers, Regents, Governors, and Fellows of the College of the past, and I am also sure I speak for those of the present in saying that nobody has made a greater contribution to the American College of Physicians than Mr. Loveland.” Edward R. Loveland, full-time Executive Secretary for thirty-three years, retired on December 31, 1959. On October 23, 1960, after a long and trying illness, he died at age 67.


  • Prepared by Eric Greenberg, based on materials from the Archives of the American College of Physicians
  • Piersol, George M. Gateway of Honor: The American College of Physicians, 1915-1959. Lancaster, PA: Lancaster Press, 1962.
  • Rosenow EC Jr. History of the American College of Physicians: Executive Perspectives, 1959-1977. Philadelphia: American College of Physicians; 1984.
  • Tooker, John, and David C. Dale. Serving Our Patients and Profession: a Centennial History of the American College of Physicians (1915-2015). American College of Physicians, 2015