Lane Library

Governance of Cooper Medical College

With the advent of Cooper Medical College a new framework of governance was adopted as prescribed in the following three instruments:

  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Bylaws of Directors of Cooper Medical College
  • Bylaws of Faculty of Cooper Medical College

These documents provided the administrative stability crucial to the survival and progress of the School in the years ahead. Their main features are outlined as follows:


Articles of Incorporation

We have already described the procedure whereby Dr. Lane and four colleagues incorporated as an Association entitled "Cooper Medical College" and took the necessary steps as Board of Directors of the College to co-opt a Faculty and award diplomas to twelve medical graduates. The next step to be taken was the adoption of a separate set of Bylaws for the Directors, entitled: [23]


Bylaws of Cooper Medical College

The following are the major elements of the Bylaws as adopted originally on 28 November 1882 and variously amended until 1904: [24]


Article One. (as amended 25 January 1892) The government of the College shall be composed of five (5) Directors who shall be elected by the Members of the College at an election to be held on the last Monday in January of each year.

Said Directors shall elect from their own number a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, who shall hold office for the term of one year from the time of their election, and until their successors shall have been chosen and qualified.

The Directors shall meet on the last Monday in each month, and at such other times as the President may deem necessary.

If a vacancy occur in the office of President, Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer, such vacancy shall be filled by the Board of Directors by electing one of their own number; and in the event of a vacancy occurring in the office of Director, the Board shall elect one of the Members of the College to fill the same, and the officer or officers so elected shall hold office until the next annual meeting.

(Note. The Members of Cooper Medical College and the Directors of the College as referred to in these Bylaws derive from the Association of five physicians organized by Dr. Lane to incorporate as Cooper Medical College. These five physicians became the original five Members of the corporation known as Cooper Medical College, and they elected themselves as the original five Directors (i. e. Executives) of the College. These Bylaws were designed to govern the operation of the College. Since the Members and the Directors were the same five individuals, that is until the number of Members was increased from five to six in 1890, and separate minutes were kept of their activities as Members or as Directors, the records are sometimes confusing.)


Article Two. The Board of Directors shall prescribe the curriculum of studies to be taught by the corps of professors and teachers and such other rules and regulations as in their judgment may from time to time be found necessary and proper; it shall authorize all expenditures and shall constitute the ruling and governing power of the College.


Article Three The President shall preside at all the meetings of the Members and at all the meetings of the Directors; he shall see that the Bylaws and such rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Directors are rigidly enforced, and that the purposes for which the College was incorporated are strictly pursued; he shall have a general supervision of all the affairs of the College and at the annual meeting of members he shall present a report of the accounts and general concerns of the College during the previous year.

He shall sign all contracts, diplomas and other instruments in writing, which have been first approved by the Board of Directors, and shall affix thereto the seal of the College.

He shall have the casting vote (the deciding vote cast by the presiding officer when the voting on both sides is equal) at all meetings of the members and of the Directors.

Vice President

Article Four. In the absence of the President or inability of the President to act, the Vice President shall perform all the duties of the President. If both the President and Vice President be absent from a meeting of members or of Directors, the Secretary shall call the meeting to order and a temporary chairman shall be elected.


Article Five. The Treasurer shall receive the moneys belonging to the College and shall disburse the same under the direction of the Board of Directors. The funds of the College shall never be loaned to any member or to any Director nor used in any manner whatsoever save as directed by the Board of Directors. He shall make to the President an annual financial account immediately prior to the annual meeting of the members, together with estimates of receipts and disbursements for the ensuing year.

The Treasury of the College shall consist of four funds , to wit, the Donation Fund, the Current Fund and the Lane Hospital Fund.

Lane Library Fund. On 29 September 1903 Article 5 3/4 was adopted, to wit: There is hereby created a new fund in addition to those already existing and to be designated as the "Lane Library Fund" into which shall be paid all the proceeds arising from the sale of the properties bequeathed to this College by Pauline C. Lane; all moneys bequeathed to this College by Pauline C. Lane, etc. Out of said fund shall be paid all moneys necessary for the purchase of a site for a library building; for the construction of a library building on said site; for the fitting up, furnishing and appointing of said building; for the purchase of books and periodicals; etc.


Article Six. The Secretary shall keep an exact record of the proceedings and the meetings of the members of the College and of the Board of Directors.

He shall keep an exact record of the membership of the College, and on the admission of a new member he shall see that such new member subscribes his name to the Bylaws.


Article Seven.. The Members of the College shall meet annually at the time specified in Article One for the purpose of electing Directors and a Board of Managers for Lane Hospital, and of transacting such other business as shall come before them - such as receiving the Annual Report of the President, and discussing such matters as have relation to the scientific or business concerns of the College.

Mode of Election - Article Eight.


Article Nine. (as amended on 24 November 1890) The number of Members of the College, until otherwise ordered, shall be six (6) and no more.

With the exception of Pauline C. Lane, wife of Levi Cooper Lane, no one shall be admitted to membership hereafter unless he be a member of the Faculty provided for in Article Ten of the 'Bylaws, and be not less than the age of thirty years, and unless he receive all the votes of the then Members of the College, and unless he be not related by affinity or consanguinity to any of the other Members of the College.

Such new Member shall not be entitled to exercise any of the rights of membership until he has subscribed his name to the Bylaws of the College.

(Note: Originally the Bylaws specified that "the number of Members of the College shall be five (5) and no more." Article Nine was amended on 24 November 1890 to permit six members as above ordered so that Mrs. Lane might be elected as the sixth Member of Cooper Medical College in 1891. She thanked the College for her election and stated that she had no desire to exercise any power but, at the same time, her great interest in the institution made this closer connection with it very satisfactory. )

The Faculty

Article Ten. As extensively revised on 28 March 1904:

Section 1. There shall be maintained an efficient teaching body in the College consisting of Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Lecturers, Instructors and Assistants, as the Board of Directors shall elect for the proper instruction of students in all branches of medicine and the sciences cognate thereto.

The Professors shall constitute the Faculty and shall meet regularly once a month at such time or times as the Faculty shall determine.

Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors shall hold their positions indefinitely except as

hereinafter provided.

Section 2. Instructors shall be elected for terms of two years and may be reelected. Lecturers shall be elected for one year and may be reelected.

Section 3. No one shall be elected a member of the Faculty except on receipt by this Board of a report in his favor signed by all the members of the Faculty.. . . .

Section 4. No Professor shall be dismissed from the Faculty except on the receipt by the Board of a request to that effect, signed by two-thirds of the members of the Faculty. The same rule shall apply to dismissal from the positions of Associate Professor and Assistant Professor. . . .

Section 6. Anyone holding a position in this College either as Professor or teacher who from time to time shall drink intoxicating liquor to excess shall thereby forfeit such position. . . .

Section 8. Women shall not be eligible for the position of Professor, Associate Professor or Assistant Professor. . . .

Section 10. A Collegiate Council is hereby created to be constituted of the whole teaching body except only assistants in the various departments of the College. Said Council shall meet at least once in each semester and at such other times as the President shall determine. The purpose of said Council shall be the discussion of such matters as relate to the teaching in the College and of the making of such recommendations in that regard to the Board of Directors or to the Faculty as the Council may deem proper.


Article Eleven. The degree of Doctor of Medicine conferred on those students who shall have earned it, according to the rules and regulations of the Directors, shall be evidenced by written Diplomas issued to such students, which Diplomas shall be under the seal of the College and shall be signed by the President of the College and by each member of the Faculty.

The Lane Lectures

Article Twelve. There shall be delivered from time to time, in addition to the regular medical lectures, such Lectures on the Sciences cognate to medicine as shall be thought proper by the President. Such lectures shall be free to the public and shall be known as "The Lane Lectures." They shall be delivered by the members of the Faculty, or by such persons outside of the Faculty as may be indicated by the Board of Directors.

Tuition Fees

Article Thirteen.. All moneys received from tuition fees shall be appropriated as follows:

First. To the payment of all the incidental expenses incurred in the maintenance, cleaning and repair of the College Building; of taxes, street assessments and insurance; of such servants including janitor as are necessary to be employed; of all expenses for fuel, gas, water, dissecting material and maintenance of museum.

Secondly. After the above payments are made, the remainder of all moneys arising from tuition fees shall be placed at the disposal of the Faculty.

Under the Bylaws of Cooper Medical College, strict control was exercised by the Directors who were highly efficient and successful in their management of the School. This was due primarily to the leadership of Dr. Lane, and to the fact that the Directors were closely integrated with a devoted Faculty, a condition which promoted collegial relations.


Bylaws of the Medical Faculty

We have already noted that the Faculty met on 9 November 1882 and adopted the Bylaws of the Medical College of the Pacific as Bylaws of Cooper Medical College. It was not until nine years later, in 1891, that the Cooper Faculty adopted a new set of Bylaws to which we shall later return.


The Lane Popular Lectures

Dr. Lane insisted that Article 12 be included in the Bylaws of Cooper Medical College in order to assure that a course of public medical lectures would be delivered annually and in perpetuity. The idea was controversial but Dr. Lane was convinced of the importance of disseminating medical information among the laity. The result was an annual series of ten free lectures that became known as "The Lane Popular Lectures." delivered semimonthly from January to May, inclusive.

The following description of the first course was printed in the Annual Announcement of the Cooper Medical College describing the program of the College for the Session of 1883: [25]

In the creation of this course, the founder has entertained the hope that besides being a public utility, it would tend somewhat to relieve medicine of the complaint of exclusiveness, often charged against it - of neglecting to contribute its quota to the diffusion of knowledge in those departments of science with which medical men are familiar. A prominent aim of a majority of these lectures will be to illustrate those topics which are comprised under the head of public health; some, however, will have a more scientific cast, and it is believed may aid in dispelling the errors popularly prevalent, that our profession is making no advances, and show to the contrary that no scientist is working more faithfully than the medical, and that in no department of science are more new tracts of knowledge being added than in medical science.

To conform to the purposes of the donor, as just stated, the Faculty of Cooper Medical College will deliver the first course of lectures in the new building upon the evening of the first and third Fridays of each month, from January to May, inclusive.

The first course of lectures on the following subjects began on 5 January 1883 and was delivered by members of the Faculty.

  • Physical Education of Women by Dr. Clinton Cushing
  • Influence of Belief Upon Man's Organization and Character by Dr. Henry Gibbons, Sr.
  • The Perpetuation of Disease by Dr. C. N. Ellinwood
  • Mind and Brain by Dr. J. H. Wythe
  • Suicide by Dr. L. L. Dorr
  • Food and its Adulteration by Dr. W. G Johnston
  • Infant Food by Dr. Henry Gibbons, Jr.
  • Contagious Diseases and Disease Germs by Dr. J. O. Hirschfelder
  • How Do We Hear and How Do We Lose Our Hearing ? by Dr. Adolph Barkan
  • Anesthetics by Dr. L. C. Lane

Although the lectures during the earlier years were delivered by the older members of the Faculty, in later years the younger members were expected to participate for Dr. Lane believed that this would improve their public speaking ability.

As we might expect from our knowledge of the suspicious nature of San Francisco doctors, Dr. Lane was severely criticized in the local medical society for sponsoring public lectures which they considered nothing more than an advertising scheme. There were also those who believed that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that teaching medicine to the public could only do harm.

In 1932 Dr. Emmet Rixford, former assistant to Dr. Lane and later Professor of Surgery at Stanford Medical School, delivered a lecture entitled "The Lane Popular Lectures" during the fiftieth consecutive course of those Lectures. He pointed out that this lecture series had continued for fifty years without interruption, and from the beginning with creditably large audiences. This strongly attests to the success of the undertaking and amply vindicated Dr. Lane who was years ahead of his time - witness the vast amount of medical information now published and broadcast by physicians for the instruction of the public. [26]

In 1895 Dr. Lane permanently endowed a biennial Lane Course of Medical Lectures to be delivered by some eminent personage in medicine, a subject to which we shall later return.


University of California Beckons Again

Also according to Dr. Rixford, at about the time of the founding of the Lane Popular Lectures in 1882, the University of California made another attempt to absorb the Cooper school: [27] [28]

About this time a determined effort (the second or third) to bring the two schools together was made by dear old Doctor John LeConte, when President of the University of California. In the goodness of his heart he went so far as to have an appointment to a professorship in the Medical Department of the University issued to each of the members of the faculty of Cooper College. The effort was well meant but not well timed, for Dr. Lane had just spent $150,000 of his money in constructing the college building, and it was not in him to give up then. When a committee of the Medical Faculty of the University waited on Dr. Lane he stated that he was opposed to the proposed union, that in his opinion there was room for the two schools, that the friendly rivalry which existed between them was beneficial to both; they could keep up the standard of medical education, but if they united other and inferior schools would surely rise up to take the place of one of them. When the matter was brought up in his faculty Dr. Lane summarily closed the incident by saying that if anyone wished to accept the appointment he had best do so at once. [29]

We find no mention of this invitation from the University of California in the minutes of either Medical College of the Pacific or Cooper Medical College. That is not surprising for Dr. Lane appears to have promptly squelched all interest in the proposal of President LeConte to abolish the Cooper school on the eve of its rebirth. John LeConte (c.1818 to 1891) was Professor of Physics in the University of California and served as President of the University from 1876 to 1881.


Henry Gibbons, Sr., (1808-1884)

The first of the Lane Lectures of the year 1885 was delivered by Dr. Lane on January 2nd as a eulogy for Dr. Gibbons, Sr., who died on 4 November 1884. [30]

Eight years ago the health of Dr. Gibbons began to fail, and from that period until the time of his death, he was frequently ill. His affliction had no well defined character; at times it caused him to suffer greatly from violent pains of a seemingly neuralgic nature. His disease was doubtless due to over-work of body and mind, for age found in him no disposition to abate the exacting duties which had been the accustomed task of earlier years. In his busy career, upon his ear fell unheeded the whisperings of time that the sixth age had come, when men should shift into the penultimate act of repose, for one saw him still, more dead than alive, pale, feeble and suffering, pushing his course among the crowding throng of our city.

At length exhausted nature clamored so loudly for rest, that for once he listened to it, and consulting with his friends, it was decided that he must make a journey for his health. But whither should he go? As the dying Greek of old, remembered and longed to see his native Argos, so he longed to revisit the home of his youth in Wilmington, Delaware. Early last autumn he repaired thither, and enjoyed the warm greetings of many old friends; met and addressed those kindred to him in faith in the meeting-house where his father had worshipped. That scene of silent worshippers, or rapt listeners to the aged speaker, as he told again the old story of simple piety and plain virtue, would have been a fit subject for the pencil of the Quaker artist, Benjamin West.

The fields with their well-known Flora, the skies with familiar cloud-forms, no doubt awakened in his heart many an emotion of mute rapture, but it was in the home of his father that the sight of old remembered objects awakened the deepest feelings. Amidst such surroundings, he fell asleep, and was visited by two messengers; one, that of Death, who having touched his heart gently and painlessly, gave it rest and hasted away; the other, that of Peace, who, having placed upon his brow a chaplet of the white flowers of purity, remains by his side forever.

There can be no doubt of the crucial role of Dr. Gibbons in the ultimate survival of the medical school launched in 1858 against forbidding odds by Elias Cooper. When Cooper died in 1862 Dr. Lane, the heir apparent, had been on the faculty only one year and was not yet inured to the contentious medical environment of San Francisco. When the school was suspended in 1864 for want of Cooper's vigorous advocacy, Lane, Gibbons and others of the Cooper faculty joined Toland Medical College. It was chiefly Gibbons who, six years later with Lane at his side, rallied the dispersed Cooper faculty and revived the Cooper school in 1870.

By this time Dr. Gibbons had become editor of the Pacific Medical and Surgical Journal and was establishing himself as the foremost medical journalist of the West. He used the pages of the Journal to frustrate the efforts of Toland and his partisans to dissolve or engulf the renascent Cooper school.

Also in 1870, Dr. Gibbons joined with Dr. Thomas Logan in reorganizing the State Medical Society. The Society had been founded fourteen years previously by Thomas. Logan in association with Elias Cooper who, according to Dr. Logan, "was the leading spirit of the occasion." In the field of medical organization in the State, there was no one more effective and constructive than Dr. Gibbons in his day.

Dr. Gibbons was ever the Nestor of the medical faculty and wise personal counselor to Dr. Lane who was able to devote two important years (1876-1878) to study in Europe only by entrusting management of the Medical College of the Pacific to Dr. Gibbons, Sr. It was not until his return from abroad in 1878 that Dr. Lane firmly took up leadership of the school.

We may fairly conclude, then, that Henry Gibbons, Sr., was responsible for the revival and survival of the Cooper school during the critical sixteen-year period of transition from the death of Elias Cooper in 1862 to the return of Dr. Lane from Europe in 1878; and that, In the annals of the Cooper schools, Elias Cooper, Henry Gibbons, Sr., and Levi Lane should be always remembered as the triumvirate of patriarchs.

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