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Guide to the Brooklyn hospitals and health services organizations collection ARC.141

Brooklyn Historical Society
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Brooklyn 11201
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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Nicholas Pavlik

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 13, 2017
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Last updated by John Zarrillo  , March 2017

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Brooklyn Homeopathic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Central Homeopathic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn Eastern District Homeopathic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Gates Avenue Homeopathic Dispensary
Creator: Brooklyn State Hospital. Board of Visitors
Creator: Brooklyn Eclectic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: German Hospital Society (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: House of St. Giles the Cripple
Creator: Bushwick Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Central Throat Hospital and Polyclinic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn Diet Dispensary
Creator: Maimonides Hospital of Brooklyn
Creator: Bethany Deaconess Hospital Society
Creator: Bedford Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn Central Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn City Dispensary. Social Service Committee
Creator: Bedford Dispensary and Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Bedford Dispensary Association (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Associated Alumnae of Brooklyn Training Schools for Nurses (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn Temperance Society. Board of Managers
Creator: Downstate Medical Center (N.Y.)
Creator: People's Medical and Surgical Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Memorial Hospital for Women and Children (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). Memorial Dispensary
Creator: Memorial Hospital for Women and Children (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). Memorial Training School for Nurses
Creator: Samaritan Hospital of Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Memorial Hospital for Women and Children (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Lutheran Hospital Association of the City of New York and Vicinity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Long Island Throat and Lung Hospital and People's Dispensary Association (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Long Island State Hospital
Creator: Swedish Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Inebriates' Home for Kings County
Creator: Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn
Creator: Kings County Pharmaceutical Society
Creator: United States. Army. Base Hospital No. 37
Creator: Kings County Lunatic Asylum (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn Homeopathic Hospital and Training School for Nurses
Creator: Homeopathic Medical Society of Kings County
Creator: Brooklyn Homeopathic Hospital
Creator: Brooklyn Homeopathic Lying-In Asylum (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn Maternity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Salvation Army. Brooklyn Nursery and Infants' Hospital
Creator: Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Lung Association
Creator: Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Health Association
Creator: St. Christopher's Hospital for Babies
Creator: Brooklyn Bureau of Charities. Committee on Prevention of Tuberculosis
Creator: Brooklyn Association for Mental Health (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Faith Home for Incurables (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Sons of Temperance of North America. Grand Division of Eastern New York
Creator: Woman's Temperance Society of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Creator: Women's Health Protective Association of Brooklyn (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Brooklyn Home for Blind, Crippled, and Defective Children (Port Jefferson, N.Y.)
Creator: Jeri Finesilver Cancer Foundation (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Prospect Heights Hospital and Brooklyn Maternity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Prospect Heights Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). School of Nursing. Alumnae Association
Creator: St. Martha's Sanitarium and Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: St. Peter's Hospital (Cobble Hill, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: St. Mary's General Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: St. Mary's Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: St. Catherine's Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Triboro Hospital (Queens, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Visiting Nurse Association of Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Creator: Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association of the City of Brooklyn
Creator: Downstate Medical Center (N.Y.). Alumni Association
Creator: Brooklyn Homeopathic Maternity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: St. Charles Hospital (Port Jefferson, N.Y.)
Creator: New York State School for Nurses (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Creator: New York State School for Training Nurses (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Title: Brooklyn hospitals and health services organizations collection
Dates [inclusive]: 1829-1998
Dates [bulk]: 1861-1939
Abstract: The Brooklyn hospitals and health services organizations collection spans the period 1829 to 1998 and contains records of various Brooklyn hospitals and health services organizations, many of which were affiliated with charitable organizations or religious denominations and provided care to Brooklyn's disadvantaged and underserved citizenry.
Quantity: 2.3 Linear Feet in 11 half manuscript boxes.
Language: Materials in English and German.
Text [Box]: ARC.141 5 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 4 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 11 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 3 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 2 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 9 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 1 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 10 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 7 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 8 of 11
Text [Box]: ARC.141 6 of 11
Call Phrase: ARC.141
Sponsor: This collection was processed and described as part of the project, "Uncovering the Secrets of Brooklyn's 19th Century Past: Creation to Consolidation," funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources, with additional support from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

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Historical Note

In colonial New York, only a small number of almshouse infirmaries existed to care for the sick, while the mentally ill were usually imprisoned or placed in poorhouses. It was not until the early to mid-19th century, when the New York City area's dependent and poor population increased dramatically, that hospitals and other health services organizations, such as homeopaths and maternity wards, readily began to emerge. In Brooklyn specifically, the earliest hospitals included the Kings County Hospital, which grew out of an almshouse infirmary in 1831, and the Brooklyn City Hospital, which was incorporated in 1845. One of Brooklyn's first mental institutions was also established in Flatbush in 1845.

Most health services organizations that were established during this period were affiliated with charitable organizations, religious denominations, or ethnic groups, and had meager resources with which to care for patients. Hospitals, for instance, provided shelter, meals, and only minimal medical care, usually administered by poorly trained staff in unsanitary conditions, while mental health institutions suffered from extreme overcrowding. Because of the social stigma attached to such institutions, middle and upper class citizens usually received medical care in the privacy of their homes.

Popular attitudes toward public health institutions began to change in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Dramatic advances in conventional medical science, aided by the professionalization of nursing, began to greatly improve the quality of care offered by hospitals and other infirmaries. As affluent citizens were urged by their physicians to use the ever-improving medical facilities, the number of hospitals in New York City began to rise. In 1908, there were 63 general hospitals in New York, and by 1930 there were 125.

Likewise, the emergence of the mental hygiene movement also spurred a dramatic increase in the quality of care offered to New York's mentally ill, who were admitted to the Manhattan Psychiatric Center, the world's largest mental hospital, or were transferred to improved psychiatric wards at hospitals throughout New York State. By the 1930s, 25,000 New York City residents resided in state mental institutions. Homeopathic practice, too, had substained a substantial following between 1860 and 1900, with over 100 homeopathic institutions operating in the city at the turn of the 20th century.

Congruous to the improvement of the city's public health facilities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the increase in public awareness of social issues relevant to public health, such as sanitation, preventive practices, and temperance. Education on these issues was facilitated by a growing number of advocate groups and charities established by the city's affluent citizenry and religious denominations.

By the early 20th century, the widescale professionalization of medical practice in New York City had firmly taken root, though several significant alterations would continue to be made to the city's public health system throughout the 20th century.

Sources:

  1. Cordasco, Francesco. "Homeopathy," in The Encyclopedia of New York City, ed. Kenneth T. Jackson (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New York Historical Society, c1995), 554-555.
  2. Opdycke, Sandra. "Mental Health," in The Encyclopedia of New York City, ed. Kenneth T. Jackson (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New York Historical Society, c1995), 749-750.
  3. Opdycke, Sandra, and David Rosner. "Hospitals," in The Encyclopedia of New York City, ed. Kenneth T. Jackson (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press; New York: New York Historical Society, c1995), 560-563.

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Scope and Contents

The Brooklyn hospitals and health services organizations collection spans the period 1829 to 1998, with the bulk of the material dating between 1861 and 1939, and contains records of various Brooklyn hospitals and health services organizations, many of which were affiliated with charitable organizations or religious denominations and provided care to Brooklyn's disadvantaged and underserved citizenry.

Many types of institutions are represented in the collection, including general hospitals and dispensaries; women and children's hospitals; hospitals and dispensaries serving a specific religious denomination or ethnic group; specialized hospitals and dispensaries; mental institutions; terminal care facilities; rehabilitation centers; homeopathic hospitals and dispensaries; medical societies and preventive health organizations; and medical colleges and nurse training schools.

Materials in the collection consist mainly of annual reports and yearbooks containing essential summary information on an organization, including historical sketches; lists of board members, officers, and medical staff; constitutions, bylaws, and articles of incorporation; reports of various officers; financial statements; medical and surgical statistics and reports; lists of subscribers, members, and contributors; details regarding monetary donations; and rules for the admission of patients. While the annual reports and yearbooks do contain general information on individuals who received care from a particular organization, specific names are withheld.

Additional materials in the collection include constitutions and bylaws, rules of procedure, progress reports, medical manuals, catalogs, member and alumnae lists, newsletters and bulletins, brochures, and various ephemeral literature.

The following organizations are represented in the collection, listed by institution type:

General Hospitals and Dispensaries:

Bedford Dispensary and Hospital (also represented under its previous names, including the Bedford Dispensary Association and the Bedford Dispensary)

Bethany Deaconess Hospital Society

Brooklyn Central Dispensary

Brooklyn City Dispensary

Brooklyn Eclectic Dispensary

Brooklyn State Hospital (also represented under its previous name, the Long Island State Hospital)

Bushwick Hospital

People's Medical and Surgical Dispensary

Prospect Heights Hospital (also represented under its previous names, including the Brooklyn Homeopathic Lying-In Asylum; the Brooklyn Homeopathic Maternity; the Brooklyn Maternity; and the Prospect Heights Hospital and Brooklyn Maternity)

Samaritan Hospital of Brooklyn

St. Catherine's Hospital (materials partly written in German)

St. Martha's Sanitarium and Dispensary

St. Mary's General Hospital

St. Peter's Hospital

State University of New York Downstate Medical Center

Triboro Hospital

U.S. Base Hospital No. 37, A.E.F. (a unit of the Kings County Hospital that was active during World War I)

Women and Children's Hospitals:

House of St. Giles the Cripple

Memorial Hospital for Women and Children

St. Charles Hospital (also known as the Brooklyn Home for Blind, Crippled, and Defective Children)

St. Christopher's Hospital for Babies

Salvation Army Brooklyn Nursery and Infants' Hospital

Denominational and Ethnic Hospitals and Dispensaries:

German Hospital Society (materials mostly in German)

Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn

Lutheran Hospital Association of the City of New York and Vicinity (materials mostly in German)

Maimonides Hospital of Brooklyn (Jewish)

Swedish Hospital

Specialized Hospitals and Dispensaries:

Brooklyn Diet Dispensary

Central Throat Hospital and Polyclinic Dispensary

Long Island Throat and Lung Hospital and People's Dispensary Association

Mental Institutions:

Kings County Lunatic Asylum

Terminal Care Facilities:

Faith Home for Incurables

Rehabilitation Centers:

Inebriates' Home for Kings County

Homeopathic Hospitals and Dispensaries:

Brooklyn Eastern District Homeopathic Dispensary

Brooklyn Homeopathic Dispensary

Brooklyn Homeopathic Hospital

Brooklyn Homeopathic Lying-In Asylum (also represented under its subsequent names, including the Brooklyn Homeopathic Maternity; the Brooklyn Maternity; the Prospect Heights Hospital and Brooklyn Maternity; and the Prospect Heights Hospital)

Central Homeopathic Dispensary

Gates Avenue Homeopathic Dispensary

Medical Societies and Preventive Health Organizations:

Brooklyn Association for Mental Health

Brooklyn Temperance Society

Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Health Association (also represented under its subsequent names, including the Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association and the Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Lung Association)

Committee on Prevention of Tuberculosis (a unit of the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities)

Homeopathic Medical Society of the County of Kings

Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association of the City of Brooklyn

Jeri Finesilver Cancer Foundation (affiliated with the Brookdale Hospital Medical Center)

Kings County Pharmaceutical Society

Sons of Temperance of North America's Grand Division of Eastern New York

Visiting Nurse Association of Brooklyn

Woman's Temperance Society of Brooklyn

Women's Health Protective Association of Brooklyn

Medical Colleges and Nurse Training Schools:

Associated Alumnae of Brooklyn Training Schools for Nurses (an organization comprised of alumnae from Brooklyn's several nurse training schools)

Brooklyn Homeopathic Hospital Training School for Nurses

Medical College of the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center

Memorial Hospital for Women and Children Training School for Nurses

New York State School for Training Nurses (also represented under its subsequent names, the New York State School for Nurses and the Prospect Heights Hospital School of Nursing)

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Membership lists
  • Rules of procedure
  • Progress reports
  • Newsletters
  • Yearbooks
  • Catalogs
  • Bulletins
  • Manuals (instructional materials)
  • Bylaws (administrative records)
  • Annual reports
  • Constitutions
  • Brochures

Subject Organizations

  • Gates Avenue Homeopathic Dispensary
  • Brooklyn Homeopathic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Homeopathic Medical Society of Kings County
  • Brooklyn Eastern District Homeopathic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • House of St. Giles the Cripple
  • Brooklyn State Hospital
  • Central Homeopathic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • German Hospital Society (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Maimonides Hospital of Brooklyn
  • Bushwick Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Eclectic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Diet Dispensary
  • Brooklyn City Dispensary. Social Service Committee
  • Bethany Deaconess Hospital Society
  • Central Throat Hospital and Polyclinic Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Central Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Bedford Dispensary and Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Bedford Dispensary Association (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Bedford Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Associated Alumnae of Brooklyn Training Schools for Nurses (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Temperance Society
  • Downstate Medical Center (N.Y.)
  • People's Medical and Surgical Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Memorial Hospital for Women and Children (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). Memorial Dispensary
  • Memorial Hospital for Women and Children (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). Memorial Training School for Nurses
  • Samaritan Hospital of Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Memorial Hospital for Women and Children (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Lutheran Hospital Association of the City of New York and Vicinity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Respiratory Disease Association (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Long Island Throat and Lung Hospital and People's Dispensary Association (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Long Island State Hospital
  • Jewish Hospital of Brooklyn
  • Swedish Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • United States. Army. Base Hospital No. 37
  • Inebriates' Home for Kings County
  • Kings County Lunatic Asylum (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Kings County Pharmaceutical Society
  • Brooklyn Homeopathic Hospital
  • Brooklyn Homeopathic Hospital and Training School for Nurses
  • Brooklyn Homeopathic Lying-In Asylum (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Maternity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Salvation Army. Brooklyn Nursery and Infants' Hospital
  • Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Lung Association
  • St. Christopher's Hospital for Babies
  • Brooklyn Tuberculosis and Health Association
  • Brooklyn Bureau of Charities. Committee on Prevention of Tuberculosis
  • Brooklyn Association for Mental Health (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Faith Home for Incurables (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Sons of Temperance of North America. Grand Division of Eastern New York
  • Woman's Temperance Society of Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Women's Health Protective Association of Brooklyn (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn Home for Blind, Crippled, and Defective Children (Port Jefferson, N.Y.)
  • Prospect Heights Hospital and Brooklyn Maternity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • St. Peter's Hospital (Cobble Hill, New York, N.Y.)
  • Brookdale Hospital Medical Center (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Prospect Heights Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.). School of Nursing. Alumnae Association
  • Jeri Finesilver Cancer Foundation (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • St. Mary's Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • St. Martha's Sanitarium and Dispensary (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • St. Catherine's Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • St. Mary's General Hospital (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Triboro Hospital (Queens, New York, N.Y.)
  • Visiting Nurse Association of Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • St. Charles Hospital (Port Jefferson, N.Y.)
  • Downstate Medical Center (N.Y.). Alumni Association
  • Hospital Saturday and Sunday Association of the City of Brooklyn
  • Brooklyn Homeopathic Maternity (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • New York State School for Training Nurses (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • New York State School for Nurses (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)

Subject Topics

  • Medical care -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Terminal care facilities -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Medical colleges -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Nursing schools -x Alumni and alumnae -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Nursing schools -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Medicine -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Societies, etc.
  • Maternity homes -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Maternal health services -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Psychiatric hospitals -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Mental health services -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Dispensaries -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Specialty hospitals -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Medicine -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Hospitals -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Women -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Societies and clubs
  • Health
  • Preventive health services -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Infant health services -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Temperance -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Temperance -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Societies, etc.
  • Tuberculosis -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Tuberculosis -- New York (State) -- Kings County -x Prevention
  • Alcoholics -x Rehabilitation -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Charities, Medical -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Alcoholics -x Care -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Charity organi-ation -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Child health services -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Church charities -- New York (State) -- Kings County
  • Children -x Institutional care -- New York (State) -- Kings County

Subject Places

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Brooklyn hospitals and health services organizations collection, ARC.141, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Portions of this collection were the gift of St. Martha's Sanitarium and Dispensary, 1897; the House of St. Giles the Cripple, 1915; the Prospect Heights Hospital and Brooklyn Maternity, 1927; Sally Forbes, 2004; B.J. McAfee, date unknown; the Jeri Finesilver Screening Clinic, date unknown; and George W. Schiebler, date unknown. Sources and dates of acquisition for all remaining items in the collection are unknown.

Processing Information

Minimally processed to the collection level. SUNY Downstate Medical Center historical booklet (2004.004) added to the collection by John Zarrillo, March 2017.

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