In 1875, The Mount Sinai Hospital selected Mary Putnam Jacobi, MD (1842-1906) to be the Chief of the newly established Children’s Clinic. Abraham Jacobi, MD, her husband, was an important member of the Mount Sinai medical staff and is today considered the Father of Pediatrics in this country. Still, the Trustees did not want him to be in charge of both the inpatient and outpatient services, so Mary Jacobi was appointed. All was well for some years, but in May 1884, the Board of Trustees’ minutes record the “continued absence and irregularity of Mrs. Dr. Jacobi in her duties in the Dispensary.” There was a motion seeking her resignation, but this was amended to instead send the president and vice-president of the Board to speak with “the delinquent” and report back. The subsequent meeting does not have a report on the visit with “Mrs. Dr. Jacobi,” but it is known that she resigned from the staff in October of 1886, more than two years later. Did being “Mrs.” Jacobi save her appointment? Perhaps. The very few other female doctors on staff were known as just Dr. The fact that Mary Putnam was married to Abraham Jacobi probably loomed large in the eyes of the Mount Sinai trustees. He remained associated with the hospital until his death in 1919.
By some remarkable coincidence, many Mount Sinai Health System buildings have been dedicated or opened in May.
The Beth Israel Hospital opened its first facility in a rented loft in May 1890 and then moved to 196 Broadway the next year. In May of 1892 they moved again, this time to 206 E. Broadway and 195 Division St. Beth Israel remained at this location until the completion of the Jefferson & Cherry Street building in 1902. Beth Israel did not have another May opening until May 15, 1966 when the Linsky Pavilion opened.
On May 17, 1855, a religious service was held to inaugurate the opening of The Jews’ Hospital in the City of New York, which became The Mount Sinai Hospital in 1866. Presiding at the inauguration was Rabbi J.J. Lyons, with Rabbis Leo, Sternberger, Rubin, Cohen, Waterman, Schickler and Tebrich serving as cantors.
When Mount Sinai had outgrown this site, the Trustees decided to move uptown to the block of Lexington Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets. The cornerstone for the new hospital was laid on May 25, 1870 and the completed hospital was opened on May 29, 1872.
Within 25 years, the Hospital had again filled its site and decided to move to its current home next to Central Park, between 100th and 101st Streets. The Park ensured that the hospital would not again get surrounded by the bustle of the City’s streets. The cornerstone for this new hospital was laid on May 22, 1901. In May 1922, Mount Sinai marked the completion of a massive expansion project that extended the hospital across 100th Street down to 99th Street. This included 1184 5th Avenue, which today is the oldest building on the Mount Sinai campus.
On May 23, 1952, The Mount Sinai Hospital celebrated the dedication of the Klingenstein Pavilion on 5th Avenue.
This was built as Mount Sinai’s Maternity Pavilion, and remains the home of our OB-GYN department. At the same event, the Atran Laboratory and the Henry W. Berg, MD Laboratory buildings were both dedicated as well.
And finally, in perhaps Mount Sinai’s biggest dedication, on May 26, 1974, the new Mount Sinai School of Medicine welcomed Vice President Gerald Ford and the Annenberg family to celebrate the formal dedication of the Annenberg Building. When this building opened, it was the thought to be the largest space in this country devoted to medical education.
The Mount Sinai Hospital was not alone in its fascination with May for buildings. On May 21, 1857, the St. Luke’s Hospital chapel opened at the Hospital’s first site and a year later (May 13, 1858) the hospital itself opened at 5th Ave between 54th and 55th Streets.
The Woman’s Hospital in the State of New York, which became the Women’s Division of St. Luke’s Hospital in 1952, also had a May dedication tradition. On May 4, 1855 the Woman’s Hospital was opened at 83 Madison Avenue. Almost 50 years later, on May 17, 1904, the cornerstone was laid at a new site at Amsterdam Avenue and 110th Street.
Finally, on May 25, 1965 the Woman’s Hospital opened in a separate building on the St. Luke’s campus on Amsterdam Avenue and 114th Street.