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Winthrop M. Phelps was born in Bound Brook, New Jersey. He received a BS from Princeton University in 1916 and an M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1920. After his internship year at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Phelps was an assistant resident at Baltimore’s Childrens Hospital. He continued his residency training in orthopedic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Children’s Hospital in Boston from 1923 to 1925. He completed a research teaching fellowship in orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School before joining the Yale University Medical School faculty as an instructor. In 1931, Phelps was promoted to professor and the following year published his first article on brain damaged infants and spastic children. Leaving Yale in 1936, Phelps moved to Baltimore to establish a private practice in the treatment and rehabilitation of children with the condition Phleps called cerebral palsy. In 1937, Phelps founded the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute in Cockeysville, Maryland and later moved the facility to Reisterstown. The institute was a training facility for physicians and therapists as well as a treatment center for children afflicted with cerebral palsy. Phelps also established cerebral palsy clinics in Baltimore, the state of Maryland and in other major U.S. cities. In 1967 the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute became a part of the John F. Kennedy Institute for Habilitation of the Mentally and Physically Handicapped Child and its affiliates The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1965, Phelps was appointed to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine faculty as a lecturer in orthopedic surgery and assumed emeritus status in 1968. Phelps belonged to many professional organizations and boards such as the American Medical Association, the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and the Southern Medical Association. He was also a founder and first president of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy which was established in 1947.

Scope and Content

The Winthrop M. Phelps Collection consists of clippings, photographs and memoribilia mostly related to his career in the treatment of cerebral palsy. The collection is particularly strong in the individual newspaper clippings related to the treatments and the impact on the patients’ lives.

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