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Finding Aid for the T. Perceval Gerson Papers, 1886-1960
724  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: T. Perceval Gerson Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1886-1960
    Collection number: 724
    Creator: Gerson, T. Perceval (Theodor Perceval), 1872-1960
    Extent: 13 boxes (6.5 linear ft.) 2 oversize boxes
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Abstract: T. Perceval Gerson (1872-1960) was a member of the Severance Club, a cultural conversation group, serving as president from 1917 until his death. He founded the Hollywood Bowl Association serving as charter board member and leader. Gerson was also a trustee of the Metropolitan University, director of the Southern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, physician to the California State Personnel Board as well as a member of the California State Medical Society and the Los Angeles County Medical Association. The collection consists of correspondence, papers, journals, newspaper clippings, photographs, and memorabilia relating to Dr. Gerson's medical practice, his presidency of the Severance Club of Los Angeles, leadership of the Hollywood Bowl Association, and interests in various social and political issues.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    • 1953, Purchase.
    • Gift of T. Perceval Gerson, 1955.
    • Gift of Mrs. T. Perceval Gerson, 1961.
    • Gift of Mrs. Harold H. Story, 1968.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], T. Perceval Gerson Papers (Collection 724). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Biography

    Gerson was born on May 27, 1872 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; awarded MD, University of Pennsylvania, 1895; pursued post-graduate work at Johns Hopkins Medical School for three years; interned in large eastern hospitals, and taught pathology at Johns Hopkins; practiced medicine in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, 1899-1903; in 1903 moved to Los Angeles, California; member of the Severance Club, a cultural conversation group, serving as president from 1917 until his death; founder, charter board member and leader of Hollywood Bowl Association; trustee of the Metropolitan University; director, the Southern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union; physician to the California State Personnel Board; also a member of the California State Medical Society and the Los Angeles County Medical Association; died in Glendale, California in 1960.

    Biographical Narrative

    Doctor Theodore Perceval Gerson was long accorded a position of prominence in Hollywood. He was a skilled physician and surgeon. He also played a leading role in various cultural activities and socio-economic and political movements.
    He was born at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 27th, 1872, the son of Isidor Isaac and Ella Hemenway (Woodruff) Gerson. His maternal grandfather, Theodore Tuttle Woodruff was the pioneer inventor of the sleeping car for railroads, an elaboration of which later became the Pullman Car. Dr. Gerson died in Glendale, California, on March 3, 1960.
    Doctor Gerson was graduated from Central High School of Philadelphia in 1891, and was awarded the M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1895. In 1896, he pursued post-graduate studies at the Medical School of Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore, following which he spent three years in internships at large Eastern hospitals, and taught pathology at his Alma Mater. From 1899 to 1903 Dr. Gerson practiced medicine in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania and in the latter year moved to Los Angeles.
    He was married January 7th, 1899 to Harriet Anna Thompson of Chicago. His second wife, the former Vera Madeline Daniels of Ontario, Canada, and later of Saginaw, Michigan, he married in Pasadena, November 3rd, 1923. His children by his first marriage were Lowell Woodruff, Gerald Perceval and Cecil Alice. By his second marriage he had one son, Cedric.
    From boyhood Doctor Gerson had taken an active interest in music, drama, literature, science, and various cultural pursuits. In addition to medical articles, he wrote several articles on music and allied subjects.
    In August 1906, he was elected to membership in the Severance Club, a cultural conversation group in Los Angeles, and after service in minor offices, became its President in 1917. He remained in that position by unchallenged annual elections until his death.
    In 1918 he asked a group of prominent men and women to meet with him to discuss plans for the promotion of greater participation in cultural activities by the citizens of Southern California. This meeting raised almost a thousand dollars, appointed a development committee of ten, made plans for incorporation, and secured a tract of land as site for its activities in the hills of Hollywood. From this meeting the famous Hollywood Bowl plans originated.
    Dr. Gerson, besides being the founder, Charter board member, and for many years the single driving force of the Hollywood Bowl Association, was a Trustee of the Metropolitan University, a Director of the Southern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, Physician to the California State Personnel Board, Director and Secretary of the Los Angeles Mothers Clinic Association, Inc. and a member of the Municipal Newspaper Commission. He was also a member of the Advisory Board of Yenching University in Peiping China, the American Medical Association, California State Medical Society, Los Angeles County Medical Association, Chicago Pathological Society and Alpha Mu Pi Omega Medical Fraternity.
    In 1953 the library purchased, with the assistance of contributions by friends of Dr. Gerson, his distinguished autograph collection of Americans prominent in political and social history from 1850 to the present.
    Some of the autographs in Dr. Gerson's collection were collected by William Henry Knight, a member of the research staff of the Pacific coast historian, Hubert Howe Bancroft; others are addressed to Dr. Gerson. Also included were autographed letters addressed to Senator John D. Works and Benjamin Fay Mills. Those addressed to Knight, Mills and Works were removed and cataloged separately. The scope and content of these letters are indicated in the numbered collections catalog under the entries for these individuals. The letters addressed to Dr. Gerson were added to his papers.
    The many photographs, clippings and related ephemeral material as well as the autographs, not falling within either the correspondence of Dr. Gerson or Mills, Knight and Works, were added to the Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Picture and Ephemera Collections. An inventory of the original Gerson Autograph Collection is in the Collections File, Gerson folder.
    In 1961 the department received additional papers of Dr. Gerson as a gift from his wife. Included in these papers were correspondence, photographs, clippings memorabilia and the diaries of Dr. Gerson covering the major part of his career. Of particular interest are the papers relating to the Hollywood Bowl Association and the Severance Club.
    In 1966 the department received additional papers of Dr. Gerson that were contained in the Harold H. Story papers (Collection #995). These papers were added to the Gerson collection in appropriate categories and in Box 13, January 1968. Included in these papers were correspondence, photographs, clippings and memorabilia covering the major part of Dr. Gerson's career. Of particular interest are the papers relating to the Hollywood Bowl Association.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of correspondence, papers, journals, newspaper clippings, photographs, and memorabilia relating to Dr. Gerson's medical practice, his presidency of the Severance Club of Los Angeles, leadership of the Hollywood Bowl Association, and interests in various social and political issues. Correspondents include: Jane Addams, William Jennings Bryan, Luther Burbank, Clarence Darrow, Eugene Debs, Theodore Dreiser, John Foster Dulles, Thomas Edison, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry Ford, Hamlin Garland, Emma Goldman, Averill Harriman, Charles Evans Hughes, Estes Kefauver, William Gibbs McAdoo, Richard M. Nixon, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Margaret Sanger, Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Steffens, Adlai Stevenson, Harry S. Truman, and Earl Warren.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Letters to T.P. Gerson (Boxes 1-3).
    2. Letters from T.P. Gerson (Box 4).
    3. Misc. correspondence and scrapbook (Boxes 4,14).
    4. Hollywood Bowl (Box 5).
    5. Severance Club (Box 6).
    6. Memorabilia (Box 7).
    7. Journals (Boxes 8-13).
    8. Hollywood Bowl Posters, Gerson University class photograph (Box 15).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Gerson, T. Perceval (Theodor Perceval), 1872-1960--Archives.
    Severance Club.
    Hollywood Bowl Association (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Physicians--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.
    Civic leaders--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Journals (accounts).