This database indexes the names of physicians and surgeons who registered for licensure with the Illinois State Board of Health and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation from ca. August 1877-February 17, 1937. The information included in this database was extracted from the Department of Professional Regulation record series “Register of Licensed Physicians and Surgeons” (RS 208.028). The registers were transcribed by volunteers from the Illinois State Genealogical Society, with supervision and editing by Illinois State Archives staff. This is an ongoing project, and eventually database entries will extend to November 1952.
The Board of Censors, which briefly existed from January 1825 to January 1826, was the first Illinois regulatory body to oversee the licensing and registration of physicians. No further regulation of medical professionals occurred until the creation of the State Board of Health in July 1877. This board required all physicians and surgeons to be licensed by this agency. After licensure, the medical practitioners recorded their license information with their home county’s clerk. The State Board of Health was abolished in July 1917, and medical professionals were subsequently licensed by the newly created Department of Registration and Education. This agency was renamed the Department of Professional Regulation in 1987, and incorporated by executive order into the new Department of Financial and Professional Regulation in July 2004.
The database contains more than 62,700 names of physicians or surgeons. Entries include the physician’s full name; certificate number issued; the known counties where the physician resided; year of registration or certificate issuance; and the volume and page numbers of the register where the physician’s entry appeared. Beginning in September 1898, the line number on the register page containing the entry is also listed. The date of birth for each physician or surgeon is included starting in 1924. Register entries occasionally listed multiple registration dates, counties, or ages for some physicians or surgeons.
Each database entry contains a link to the image of the register pages containing the physician’s entry. Entries from Volumes 1 thru 9 have one image link each; those appearing in Volumes 10 and 11 contain two links for each side of the original page. The registers list more detailed information than the online database including the full dates of registration, certificate issuance by the state, diploma or license issuance, and when the physician’s certificate was recorded by the county clerk; type of medical practice (e.g., “regular,” eclectic, homeopathic); the numbers of years practiced in Illinois by the physician and of total years in practice; and the community or post office address of residence for the physician or surgeon. The age of the physician or surgeon at the time of certificate issuance is listed in the registers until February 6, 1924; afterwards birth dates are instead listed. In most registers, entries for many physicians or surgeons were later updated to reflect changes in identifying information (e.g., name, ages, registration dates, counties or cities of residence or registration). These changes were noted in the registers by correcting the relevant portions of the practitioner’s original entry with the updated information.
For most downstate (i.e., registered outside Cook County) physicians from 1877-November 1883, as well as all physicians statewide from September 30, 1899-November 30, 1931, entries for the practitioners appear in two volumes. However, variations in registration information occasionally exist between the two volumes in which the physician appeared. Both a “fair” (Volume 4) and “rough” (Volume 7) copy of downstate physicians’ registers were prepared by the State Board of Health during 1877-November 1883. Registers from September 30, 1899-November 30, 1931 are available in both handwritten (Vols. 6, 8-9) and typed (Vols. 10-11) formats. The typed volumes were prepared around the late 1930s using excerpts of information listed in the handwritten registers, and arranged in numerical order by the physician’s certificate number.
After consulting the database, researchers may download and print a register page or request unofficial and uncertified copies of the register pages on which the physician or surgeon’s entry appeared. To request a copy of a register page from the State Archives, please provide the name and certificate number of the practitioner, and the register volume and page on which the original entry appeared. As a result of limitations on staff research time, Archives staff can search and copy no more than two names per request. Send your request to:
Illinois State Archives
Margaret Cross Norton Bldg.
Springfield, Illinois 62756
Submit a Request Via the Internet