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The American College of Physicians (ACP) was founded in 1915 and
headquartered in New York City. ACP's Founder, Dr. Heinrich Stern,
and all of the College's officers lived in either New York City or
its surrounding suburbs. After Dr. Stern's death on December 30,
1918, the College had a brief period of turmoil and disagreement
over leadership and the institution's future. This was concluded
with what could be described as a "benign coup d'état" by
Drs. Frank Smithies of Chicago, Clement Jones of Pittsburgh, and
William Gerry Morgan of Washington, D.C. As a result, all current
officers of the College resigned and the administrative framework
of College was nearly completely restructured by a new leadership.
One of the first changes implemented by the new regime was to move
the College's headquarters to Chicago, as it was believed that
establishing a location near the center of the United States would
enable the College to be more likely viewed as a national
institution. It is also likely not coincidental that the College's
new Secretary-General, Frank Smithies, who at that time was the
principal leader in the organization, practiced in Chicago.
Under Frank Smithies' leadership, the College prospered with its
membership increasing along with a revived sense of enthusiasm
among the leadership. From the beginning of Dr. Smithies' tenure in
1918, he gradually exercised greater authority, and by 1925 he
completely dominated the College's policies. This brought him into
conflict with Dr. Alfred Stengel of Philadelphia, who had assumed
the Presidency of the College that year. While Dr. Stengel and many
members of the BOR appreciated Dr. Smithies' contributions to the
College, they were increasingly concerned about his dictatorial
style over all aspects of College life. During the College's 10th
Annual Session in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan, on February 27,
1926, Dr. Stengel and a majority of the BOR attempted to fire Dr.
Smithies. This potential change was met with great resistance from
Regents loyal to Dr. Frank Smithies, and as a result, no action was
Shortly thereafter, a self-appointed group composed of the
President and Drs. Charles F. Martin, William Gerry Morgan, and
Charles Jennings drew up a plan that they hoped would remove Dr.
Smithies from power without embarrassing him further or damaging
the College's reputation. The plan called for Dr. Smithies to be
elevated to President-Elect, becoming Dr. Stengel's successor by
1927. The Secretary-Generalship would then be vacated and replaced
with a paid non-medical administrator to be known as the Executive
Secretary. This would, therefore, transfer the management of the
College from a medical to a non-medical administrator who would be
viewed as free of factional affiliations. It was further agreed
that the administrative headquarters of the College, including all
its files and records, should be moved from Chicago to the Eastern
Seaboard, preferably Philadelphia. (Dr. Stengel taught at the
University of Pennsylvania.) These suggestions were agreed to by
Dr. Smithies and approved by the Board of Regents.
With the hiring of Edward R. Loveland as Executive Secretary of
ACP, the headquarters was officially moved to Philadelphia in 1926.
In order to provide a Philadelphia headquarters and an office for
the Executive Secretary, quarters were rented in the Covington
Hotel at 37th and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, which was
situated near Dr. Stengel's office at the University of
Pennsylvania. By 1928 the Covington Hotel was no longer considered
an appropriate location for the College, and a newer and more
modern headquarters was needed. Accordingly, the College leased a
new headquarters from the Integrity Trust Building at 36th and
Walnut Streets. Prior to 1935 it had became obvious to many that
the College required a permanent headquarters. A special committee
was authorized to begin searching for properties to be purchased.
As a result, the College would actually own its next
-Prepared November 2012 by Eric Greenberg, based on Morgan,
William G. The American College of Physicians: Its First Quarter
Century. Philadelphia, 1940. And Piersol, George M. Gateway of
Honor: The American College of Physicians, 1915-1959. Lancaster,
PA: Lancaster Press, 1962.