Howard Dittrick(1877-1954) was born and educated in Ontario, Canada, and came to Cleveland upon completing his medical education at the University of Toronto in 1900. Dittrick worked at Lakeside Hospital in obstetrics and gynecology, joined the Cleveland Medical Library Association, and developed an interest in medical history. While the library was still in its home on Prospect Avenue, Dittrick was put in charge of historical materials that were previously collected mostly by Dudley P. Allen. When the CMLA built a new building in 1926 to house its library, a large gallery on the third floor was allocated to the Museum, the library and museum remain in this beautiful building on Euclid Avenue across the street from Severance Hall.
Dittrick was an avid collector of medical artifacts, which he both purchased and solicited from local physicians and their descendants. Dittrick did fund raising to get the museum started and in the process clarified the goals of the Museum. The Museum would collect articles owned by midwestern doctors in the period from 1850 to 1930, the bulk of todays collections fit that description. The museum was named in honor of Dittrick in 1945, in recognition of his twenty years work to make the Museum an exciting place with extensive collections.