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Edmund D. Pellegrino Papers

Identifier: BRL-007
The collection contains the papers of Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino and primarily documents his career at Georgetown University as Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and as the founding Director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics. It includes correspondence, publications on medical ethics, course and conference files, presentation files, administrative records related to boards and committees at Georgetown University and elsewhere, memorabilia and biographical files, audiovisual recordings, and records related to the Institute of Human Values in Medicine.

Overall, the collection documents Pellegrino's contributions to the field of bioethics, particuarly as an educator and administrator at Georgetown University.


  • 1948 - 2017


Conditions Governing Access

Unpublished Georgetown University administrative records may be consulted only with the permission of the University office which created it. This includes, but is not limited to, the following materials:

Sub-series 1.1: General Correspondence: Georgetown University administrative correspondence found in boxes 32 and 33.

Sub-series 3.1: Georgetown University Courses and Conferences: All unpublished materials.

Series 5: Board and Committee Files: Georgetown University administrative records found in boxes 34-37, 41, and Born-Digital Media Box 1.

Series 6: Grants and Proposals: Georgetown Genome Project folders in box 72.

Additionally, the folder titled “Journal Article Critiques” is closed until 2080 for privacy purposes.

All other processed materials are generally open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.


39 Cubic Feet (in 83 boxes)


The collection contains the papers of Dr. Edmund D. Pellegrino, dating from 1943 to 2017. It primarily documents his contributions to the field of bioethics, particuarly as an educator and administrator at Georgetown University.

Biographical Note

Edmund Pellegrino, MD, (June 22, 1920 - June 13, 2013) was Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Medical Ethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University and founding director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics. He served as Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, John Carroll Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics, and director of both the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and the Center for the Advanced Study of Ethics at Georgetown University. Raised in Brooklyn, NY, he received his BS degree from St. John’s University and his MD from New York University. He served residencies in medicine at Bellevue, Goldwater Memorial, and Homer Folks Tuberculosis Hospitals, following which he was a research fellow in renal medicine and physiology at New York University. During Dr. Pellegrino’s more than 65 years in medicine and university administration, he has been a departmental chairman, dean, vice chancellor and president.

Dr. Pellegrino authored over 600 published items in medical science, philosophy, and ethics, and served as a member of numerous editorial boards. He was the author or co-author of twenty-three books, and the founding editor of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. Dr. Pellegrino was a Master of the American College of Physicians, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and recipient of 52 honorary doctorates in addition to other honors and awards including the Benjamin Rush Award from the American Medical Association, the Abraham Flexner Award of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Laetare Award of the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Pellegrino’s research interests included the history and philosophy of medicine, professional ethics, and the physician-patient relationship.


The collection is organized into ten series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1974-2009

Series 2: Bibliographic/Writing Files, 1957-2013

Series 3: Courses and Conference Files, 1972-2012

Series 4: Presentations, 1986-2012

Series 5: Board and Committee Files, 1982-2009

Series 6: Grants and Proposals, 1981-1983, 1995

Series 7: Interviews, 1981-2011

Series 8: Institute of Human Values in Medicine (IHVM), 1972-2012

Series 9: Biographical Materials and Memorabilia, 1948-2017

Series 10: Audiovisual, 1979-2004

Custodial History

EDP began transferring administrative records to what would become the BRL Archives in the 1980s when he served as the Director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. The bulk of the collection was transferred sometime prior to 2015.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection is mix of records transferred to the BRL Archives from the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics and other items that were donated by the Pellegrino Family. The deed for the materials donated by the family was executed in 2020.

The accession records associated with this collection are: 006 and BRL.2015.001-009

Related Materials

The Biomedical Ethics Advisory Committee Records (BRL-013) and the President’s Council on Bioethics Records (BRL-015) include records related to Pellegrino. The Bioethics Research Library Archives Audiovisual Collection (BRL-019) includes recordings of lectures delivered by EDP for the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.

Processing Information

The collection was processed in 2021. It has been rehoused in archival-quality boxes. Original folders in good condition were retained, while other materials were rehoused in archival-quality folders as needed. Folder titles created by EDP and Marti Patchell were retained when possible. Some material was weeded from the collection during processing, including excessive duplicative items, extra copies of publications, and routine administrative records (travel invoices, receipts, etc.). The contents of computer disks found in the collection have not been examined.
Guide to the Edmund D. Pellegrino Papers
John Zarrillo
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Bioethics Research Library Archives Repository

102 Healy Hall
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057