The CUYAHOGA COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY (1859-1902) organized to carry out the functions of the defunct NINETEENTH DISTRICT MEDICAL SOCIETY to assure the competence of medical professionals in Greater Cleveland. The society emphasized continuing medical education; quarterly afternoon meetings featured a paper by one of 25 members. During the Civil War, the society was inactive, but afterwards the need for a medical association resurfaced, and rival organizations competed for area physicians. In June 1867, the (first) Cleveland Academy of Medicine was formed by many whose names appear on the rolls of the county society; in 1868, younger physicians enamored with the pathology research of Rudolf Virchow formed the short-lived Pathological Assn., which merged with the Cleveland Academy of Medicine to become the Cleveland Medical Assn. By 1874 this latter group joined the Cuyahoga County Medical Society.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Society, 100 members strong, bought books and journals through an arrangement with the Case Library; in return for $1 per year per member, the library cared for and controlled the lending of society books. Within a decade, some members sought an organization that met more frequently, in the evening, and offered more of a forum for scientific discussion. The county society lost some members to the fledgling SOCIETY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES OF CLEVELAND in 1887. In response, the older body moved its meeting to 3:30 P.M. and increased dues to expand the book and journal fund.
Another challenge came when the Cleveland Medical Society organized in 1893: younger physicians joined the new, more progressive body. The county society then adopted an amendment to provide specialty sections, such as the medico-legal section, active until 1898 in the study of forensic medicine and open to all reputable physicians and lawyers. The Cuyahoga County Medical Society joined its rivals in 1894 to form the CLEVELAND MEDICAL LIBRARY ASSN. The Society of Medical Sciences disbanded in 1896, and the Cuyahoga County Medical Society and the Cleveland Medical Society later united in the ACADEMY OF MEDICINE.