Arthur H. Aufses, Jr. MD Archives Blog

Familiar Names: A “Who’s Who” of Beth Israel Buildings 

Reflecting on Beth Israel’s rich history, we want to honor the many namesakes of the 16th Street campus. This post provides brief biographies of some of the men and women whose contributions to Beth Israel’s legacy are more than name deep.  

Charles H. Silver was a career public servant, including a term as the President of the New York City Board of Education. He joined the Beth Israel Board of Trustees in 1938 and was its President starting in 1947. He was also active in Jewish-Christian interfaith matters and was a staunch supporter of the Phillips School of Nursing. A highly influential man, the Archives has photographs of Charles Silver with leaders ranging from Vice President Alben Barkley (Truman administration) to Pope John Paul to the discoverer of penicillin, Sir Alexander Fleming. In 1952, the ground was broken for the Charles H. Silver Clinic at Beth Israel Hospital, named in his honor. We have several blog posts dedicated to his legacy, and his New York Times obituary provides a more complete biography. 

Harold and Minnie Fierman stand between two Phillips School of Nursing Students carrying clothes and a teddy bear in front of Fierman Hall
Photograph of Harold and Minnie Fierman with Phillips School of Nursing students on move-in day, late 1960s

Fierman Hall, initially opened in 1960 as housing for Phillips School of Nursing students, is named for Harold and Minnie Fierman. Harold Fierman was a long-time Beth Israel Board member, beginning in 1954 to at least 1979. He was a corporate lawyer and served as Board of Trustees Treasurer. The Archives has a number of photographs of Harold and Minnie Fierman in our catalog.  

The Linsky Pavilion is named for Belle and Jack Linsky. Belle Linsky was a Beth Israel Hospital Board of Trustees member, and her husband, Jack Linsky, was the founder of Swingline Staples. The couple was also known for their high-profile art collection, which was eventually donated to the Metropolitan Museum. The Archives catalog has a number of digitized materials about the Linsky Pavilion, which, described as an “ultramodern” and an “unusual circular building” first opened in 1966 and greatly increased Beth Israel’s number of beds. 

The Karpas Pavilion, opened in 1966 as a patient care unit, was named for Irving D. Karpas. A childhood friend of Charles Silver, he was a clothing manufacturer and stockbroker. He joined the Beth Israel Hospital Board of Trustees in 1938 and remained on until his death in 1971. His New York Times obituary provides a more complete biography, and photographs of the Karpas Pavilion are online here.  

Baird Hall initially opened in 1967 as “a 20-story, 144-unit staff apartment house.” It was named for David G. Baird, who was a stockbroker and philanthropist. His New York Times obituary is available here.  

Finally, the 16th Street campus was named for Milton and Carroll Petrie in 1992 due to their more than $21 million in contributions to Beth Israel (according to the 1991 Annual Report) and included the largest single gift ($10 million) to Beth Israel at its time in 1986. Milton J. Petrie was a clothes retailer and Beth Israel Board of Trustees member. The Archives has digitized and undigitized materials about Petrie online here.

Authored by Stefana Breitwieser, Digital Archivist

New Exhibit: At the Heart of It All

How did Mount Sinai become a global leader in cardiovascular care and research?

While we can cite many firsts, such as the first use of an electrocardiograph machine in the United States at The Mount Sinai Hospital in 1909, generations of our pioneering health care professionals have played pivotal roles in advancing our knowledge of cardiovascular disease, leading to the development of life-saving interventions and treatments.

In October 2023, Mount Sinai Heart was renamed Mount Sinai Fuster Heart Hospital, in honor of Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, who is its President and the Physician-in-Chief of The Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Fuster has led our progress in cardiology for 41 years, and his commitment to education, research, and discovery has influenced cardiovascular care worldwide. In recognition, The Arthur H. Aufses, Jr., MD Archives staff has researched and assembled an exhibit in the Annenberg lobby showcasing some of Mount Sinai’s historic contributions that revolutionized the way we understand and treat heart conditions. The below all pertain to the Mount Sinai Hospital.


1909

First electrocardiograph machine acquired for use at Mount Sinai Hospital by Alfred Cohn, a pupil of Sir Thomas Lewis. This is cited as the first use of an EKG machine in United States. Specialty of cardiology begins to develop at MSH, and by 1927, 13,000 EKGs had been performed here.

1915

The Mount Sinai Hospital established one of the first electrocardiography departments in the country under the direction of Dr. Bernard S. Oppenheimer. Doctors previously had only learned the techniques while training in Europe. The hospital’s wards were wired for connection to EKG. In 1917, Dr. Oppenheimer was awarded an American Medical Association gold medal for an exhibit on electrocardiographic changes associated with myocardial infarction (heart attack).

One of Mount Sinai’s giants was Dr. Emanuel Libman. His skills as an internist were renowned— Albert Einstein said he had ‘‘secret-divining eyes.’’ Dr. Libman started as an intern at Mount Sinai Hospital from 1894-1896 and then studied bacteriology and pathology in renowned clinics in Berlin, Vienna, and Munich. In 1897, he published his description of Streptococcus enteritis (later named Streptococcus Libman), which causes focal infection of the intestine. In 1904, Libman, using a gift from Trustee Adolf Lewisohn to build a laboratory building at Mount Sinai Hospital, established a separate department of bacteriology and serology. He went on to study meningococci, streptococci, and Bacillus pyocyaneus, known today as pseudomonas aeruginosa, and became an outstanding bacteriologist. His use of blood cultures to diagnose disease was another major contribution. His seminal work, published in 1910, dealt with the pathogenesis of subacute bacterial endocarditis, which he elucidated through bacteriologic, pathologic, and clinical studies. He introduced the terms “acute” and “subacute” and called attention to the color of the skin and many other clinical features of bacterial endocarditis. In 1924, along with his student, Dr. Benjamin Sacks, Libman first described Libman-Sacks endocarditis (LSE). Widely venerated for his teaching and introduction of clinical conferences in 1905 (known today at Grand Rounds), he worked at Mount Sinai from 1898 until his death in 1946.

So numerous, original, comprehensive and important have been the studies of the heart emanating from the wards and laboratories of Mount Sinai Hospital that I think one can correctly speak of the Mount Sinai school of cardiologists, of which [Emanuel] Libman was the founder and guiding spirit
– William H. Welch (1850-1934)

1929

Dr. Arthur M. Master devised the prototype for today’s cardiac stress test, the “Master Two-Step”. This was the first exercise test to be standardized for the weight, height, and sex of the patient and evaluated the function of the heart through blood pressure and pulse rate measurements taken before and after exercise. Along with the work of Dr. Simon Dack, this ended an era when total bed rest was prescribed for cardiac cases, noting that lowered caloric intake and moderate exercise are beneficial, while total rest is harmful.


In 1934 Dr. W. Harold Branch joined the Mount Sinai Hospital as a volunteer physician. Dr. Branch was a research member of the special cardiac clinic from 1934 to 1950, where he eventually became Senior Clinical Assistant. From New Jersey, he attended Lincoln University (1920), Howard University Medical School (1928), New York University, Columbia University, and Dr. Branch observed and documented acute coronary occlusion in African Americans, which challenged existing theory on that subject. In 1937, he published an article about a case of sudden simultaneous bilateral embolism of the popliteal arteries, which in 2022 was still considered a “rare diagnosis.” On being elected to membership in the American Heart Association, the New York Times quoted him, saying he “believed he is the only Negro member of the group,” making him the first Black man to be a member. He worked at many hospitals in the metro area until his death.


1947

Cardiovascular Research Group formed as an interdepartmental entity under the direction of Dr. Marcy Sussman. Some of the earliest studies of angiography and congenital heart disease are performed. The group included the Hospital’s cardiographers and its other experts in various aspects of the physiology and pathology of the heart. Out of their work came two new developments. The first, on the scientific side, was a detailed study of the lesions in congenital heart disease, for which several new techniques and instruments were devised. The second grew out of the realization of the practical advantages of the pooled knowledge of the group as a unit, as well as their special equipment and their skill in using it. Other members of the Medical Staff, confronted by the extremely difficult technical problems involved in diagnosis and treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease, either as the main problem or as a complication in other illnesses, began referring such patients to the group. Also in 1947, the cardiac catheterization laboratory was established.


While these machines may look bulky and outdated, they were the cutting-edge technology in their day. Keeping pace with the latest and most efficient equipment remains critical to providing the best patient care. Used in the early days of pioneering cardiac treatments, these were used to perform angioplasties, open heart surgery, radionuclide stress tests, pacemaker interpretation, among others. This group of pictures span from the 1950s to the 2000s.


1956

Cardiology was established as a division within the Department of Medicine. Dr. Charles K. Friedberg was appointed Chief. 

Also in 1956, a separate residency was established for Cardiology–Nanette Kass Wenger, MD was appointed the first resident, hence also Chief Resident. She was among the first physicians to focus on coronary heart disease in women and to evaluate the different risk factors and features of the condition across genders. In 1958, she moved to Atlanta to become a senior resident in medicine at Emory University. Dr. Wenger conducted her clinical practice at Grady Memorial Hospital and was named director of cardiac clinics and director of the ambulatory electrocardiography laboratory in the 1960s. In 1971 she was appointed full professor of medicine, and in 1998 she became the chief of cardiology. Dr. Wenger has authored and co-authored more than 1,600 scientific and review articles and book chapters. Dedicated to her professional organizations, she was also a founder of the Society of Geriatric Cardiology. She received numerous awards, and in 2004 Dr. Wenger received the Gold Heart Award, the highest award of the American Heart Association.

1958

Mount Sinai Hospital’s Simon Dack, MD, became the first editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology and developed it over 25 years into one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals. In 1988, the journal became the official Journal of the American College of Cardiology, with Dr. Dack remaining as editor-in-chief.

1950s-1970s Research

Considerable research was performed in the Division of Cardiology. This included projects in heart failure, (Richard Lasser), cardiogenic shock (Leslie Kuhn), computerized ECGs, (Leon Pordy), heart block (William Stein), vectorcardiography (Arthur Grishman), hemodynamics (Howard Moscovitz and Alvin Gordon), echocardiography laboratory (Louis E. Teichholz). Additionally, Ephraim Donoso was cited as an outstanding clinical teacher.

“Mrs. Bel Scher, supervisor of cardiology at Mount Sinai Hospital, has worked at her profession for fifteen years. She trained at one hospital, then worked at several others, even setting up a department of neurology at one of them. Posing as the patient is Miss Dorothy Rucker, who is a technician in the ECG department. In 1967 the average age of the 28 million working women in the U.S. was 41 years.”

1969: Drs. Pordy and Chesky, go over a visitor’s cardiogram they have just taken, while Teodorina Bello, technician, makes a log entry. After running 172 EKG tests on physicians who visited the Mount Sinai booth, Dr. Pordy comes to the conclusion that many doctors should see a doctor.

1983

Valentín Fuster, MD, PhD was recruited from the Mayo Clinic to serve as the Chief of Cardiology. Dr. Fuster was already well known for his research on the relationship between platelet function and atherosclerosis, which helped unify researchers in these areas.

Mount Sinai Hospital Annual Report, 1983

Mount Sinai Health System Milestones for 2024


With a new year upon us, we recognize Mount Sinai’s historical milestones. It grounds us in the knowledge that our predecessors’ relentless efforts resulted in discoveries of what was once thought beyond medicine or science. The achievements of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Mount Sinai Health System throughout our histories inspire our work to greater heights.

Compiled by J.E. Molly Seegers, Michala Biondi, and Stefana Breitwieser


1824 – 200 years ago

The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary created its Otology Service, the first in the U.S.

1859 – 165 years ago

The Uterine Service (later renamed the Gynecology Service) was formed at Roosevelt Hospital, the first specialty service outside of the Medical and Surgical departments.

1874 – 150 years ago

New York Eye and Ear Infirmary surgeons began charting detailed accounts of their cases (already customary in Europe).

1884 – 140 years ago

The Mount Sinai Hospital Board of Directors approved the creation of “Outdoor Visiting Physicians” which became the District Medical Service. 111 years later in 1995, the Mount Sinai Visiting Doctors Program took up this mantle by providing care to adults who are unable to leave their homes.

1889 – 135 years ago

On December 1st, the Beth Israel Hospital was formed at the founding meeting of the Beth Israel Hospital Association held at 165 East Broadway. Beth Israel’s first physical location, a dispensary, opened in May 1891 between Henry Street and Madison Street, just underneath the Manhattan Bridge.

Daniel Guggenheim, one of seven sons of Meyer Guggenheim, became a Trustee of Mount Sinai Hospital, beginning a family relationship with the institution that persists today.

1899 – 125 years ago

As a result of the rigorous scientific environment, and so that their work would be “utilized in the interest of medical science and art,” Mount Sinai Hospital began publishing special reports describing various studies, statistics, and case summaries. The first volume was 347 pages.

Mount Sinai Hospital purchased four lots on the Southwest corner of Madison Ave and 101st St to build our third and current location. The cost was $140,000.

Roosevelt Hospital opened The Ward for Sick Children in the Accident building at W. 58th St. and Ninth Avenue. Abraham Jacobi, MD, widely known as the “Father of American pediatrics,” originally assumes charge of the ward. He had been on the staff of the Mount Sinai Hospital since 1860.

The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s Board of Directors created a Post-Graduate School for Nurses.

St. Luke’s Hospital established a policy of accepting tuberculosis patients. At the time, patients with “incurable” diseases were not accepted in most hospitals.

The pathology museum was founded at Mount Sinai Hospital.

1909 – 115 years ago

Nettie Shapiro, MD joined the house staff at Beth Israel Hospital, the first female member.


1924 – 100 years ago

All Mount Sinai Hospital

  • The Occupational Therapy Department was inaugurated, primarily for outpatient “mental cases.” Separately, a Therapeutic Kindergarten began, akin to today’s pediatric group therapy. Both began under the Social Service Auxiliary.
  • Annual Report stated, “intimate contact between the wards of the Hospital and the laboratories exists by virtue of the fact that a large number of the Attending Staff are permanent laboratory associates and assistants.”
  • Physicians emphasized “one of the most important developments of modern medicine is the study of end results”; requested unified medical records and “a much more elaborate social service organization” to tabulate and analyze. Foretelling the importance of data science.
  • Insulin was first administered for diabetes treatment. Recently introduced radium treatments numbered 2,798.
  • The Physiological Chemistry department furnished a trained assistant to take charge of a laboratory recently opened in the pediatric department. This was the first instance of a special research laboratory in one of Mount Sinai Hospital’s clinical departments.
  • Gertrude Felshin, MD joined the House Staff. For the next 39 years, she simultaneously held appointments in Pediatrics and Gynecology, as well as working as a Research Assistant in several laboratories: Endocrinology, Chemistry, and Pediatrics. Her work bridged the gap before there were obstetrics or reproductive science services.
  • A radiographic museum was created for teaching and studying roentgenograms (x-rays).
  • Statistics for the year:
    • 22,407 total patients treated in Hospital and Emergency Ward
    • 5,837 major surgical operations
    • 181,505 consultations in Out-Patient Department

1939 – 85 years ago

St. Luke’s Hospital established the position of Director of Religious Activities. The department was said to have been a model for planning hospital religious departments throughout the country.

1949 – 75 years ago

Mount Sinai Hospital’s Psychiatry Department established an adolescent clinic.

A new clinic to treat congenital heart disease was created at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Roosevelt Hospital established its Division of Psychiatry. New York State invited the Hospital to participate in its Psychiatric Pilot Plan which assigned a psychiatrist to each medical, surgical and specialty division in the hospital and out-patient services for support.

The Poliomyelitis service inaugurated at St. Luke’s Hospital. When NYC’s two contagious diseases hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, St. Luke’s—unique among the city’s voluntary hospitals—accepted and treated the overflow.

1974 – 50 years ago

Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Adolescent Health Center (AHC) was officially opened at 19 E. 101st St as all adolescent services were centralized in one building. It was the largest comprehensive care facility for adolescents in the country.

Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Medical Board amended the by-laws to provide full board membership for the Director of Nursing and the Director of Social Work. Thereby the first women on the Board were Dr. Gail Kuhn Weissman, Director of Nursing, and Dr. Helen Rehr, Director of Social Work.

Division of Neonatology was created by Farrokh Shahrivar, MD at St. Luke’s Hospital.

A private nurse-midwife practice opened at Roosevelt Hospital, ten years after the general nurse-midwife practice was instituted.

St. Luke’s Hospital’s Palliative Care Program was established for terminally ill patients, the majority of whom were cancer patients and later AIDS patients.

St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing held its last graduation and closed. During its more than eighty years of existence, over 4,000 women, and a few men, graduated.

1984 – 40 years ago

The Kathryn and Gilbert Miller Health Care Institute for Performing Artists opened at Roosevelt Hospital.

Beth Israel Medical Center created a geriatric psychiatry inpatient program. The New York Eye Trauma Center opened at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Both were the first of their kind in New York City.

The Beth Israel School of Nursing was renamed the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing after Seymour Phillips, a member of the School’s Board of Trustees for more than forty years. Members of the Phillips family remain on the Board today.

1989 – 35 years ago

The Peter Krueger Clinic for the Treatment of Immunological Disorders at Beth Israel Medical Center was dedicated on First Ave by Trustee Harvey and Connie Krueger in memory of their son, Peter.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine students first used simulated patients to test clinical practice skills. The School soon received a gift to establish the Charles C., Marietta and Charles A. Morchand Center.

First woman chairman at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Brenda Shank, MD, Ph.D. was appointed Chairman of Radiotherapy; she changed the department’s name to Radiation Oncology.

In cooperation with The Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co. Ltd., Beth Israel Medical Center established a medical service dedicated to Japanese citizens and tourists in the metropolitan area; it included “a bilingual, multidisciplinary medical practice” and was “modeled after Japanese medical protocols” that emphasize preventive medicine and extensive annual examinations.

Both Beth Israel and Mount Sinai were designated as AIDS centers.

1994 – 30 years ago

The Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Department of Emergency Medicine became operational when Sheldon Jacobson, MD was appointed founding Chairman.

St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center opened The Theodore B. Van Itallie Center for Nutrition and Weight Management under the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition.

Lawrence S. Phillips donated $5 million to name the Zeckendorf Towers’ facility Philips Ambulatory Care Center. The gift commemorated their four generations of service to the Beth Israel Medical Center.

1999 – 25 years ago

Mount Sinai Medical Center purchased Western Queens Community Hospital (formerly Astoria General) for $40 million. With 235 beds, it was renamed The Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens.

Mount Sinai’s Dermatology Department founded the Skin of Color Center, the first of its kind, to focus on the numerous skin conditions which disproportionately affect people of color or require special evaluation techniques and treatments.

The Mount Sinai Medical School’s Department of Preventive Medicine, With the support of the Pew Charitable Trust, established the Center for Children’s Health and the Environment was the “nation’s first academic research and policy center established to examine the links between childhood illness and exposure to toxic pollutants.”

Mount Sinai’s Multidisciplinary Minimally Invasive Surgery Center opened with six operating rooms.

2004 – 20 Years Ago

The East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership (EHHOP) clinic was created by Mount Sinai School of Medicine students. The goal was to provide high quality primary and preventative health care at no cost to uninsured residents of East Harlem.

The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary opened the Jorge N. Buxton, MD, Microsurgical Education Center.

2009 – 15 years ago

Roosevelt Hospital’s Headache Institute launched an Adolescent Headache Medicine Program to provide appropriate diagnosis and care for children suffering from migraines.

St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center’s Division of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine and the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine opened the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Maintenance Program.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center re-designated Mount Sinai Hospital as a Magnet Award winning hospital, in recognition of superior nursing performance. It was the first full-service New York hospital to be re-designated.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine received a Clinical and Translational Research Award (CTSA) for $34.6 million. Research was conducted under a new centralized, multi- and interdisciplinary structure known as the Mount Sinai Institutes for Clinical and Translational Sciences (now ConduITS).

New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s Facial Paralysis Rehabilitation Center opened.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s Ph.D. program in Clinical Research enrolled its first students. The master’s program was already ongoing.

2014 – 10 years ago

Mount Sinai West and the Mount Sinai Health System created the Kidney Stone Center offering minimally invasive treatment techniques and a holistic approach to prevention, the first such center in New York City.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai’s chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) held its inaugural meeting.

New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai was the first in the United States to perform a series of autologous temporalis fascia transplants to the vocal fold to restore patients’ voices.

2019 – 5 years ago

Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai West announced the creation of a new inpatient Addiction Consultation and Evaluation Service (ACES).

SafetyNet, an electronic adverse event reporting system, launched across the Mount Sinai Health System.

Dean Charney announced the creation of a Center for Biomedical and Population Health Informatics, which was co-sponsored by the Department of Population Health Science and Policy and the Scientific Computing group.

Mount Sinai Health System kicked off the Diversity Innovation Hub to address social determinants of health and representation of women and minorities in health care.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai started the Institute for Transformative Clinical Trials to provide translational and clinical researchers throughout the Health System with the interdisciplinary expertise to design, conduct, and analyze innovative clinical trials.

A new research center, The Lipschultz Center for Cognitive Neuroscience within the Nash Family Department of Neuroscience and The Friedman Brain Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, was created to focus on understanding the neural mechanisms of higher cognitive function and apply this knowledge to the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of cognitive function in humans.


Recent Acquisitions – The William G. Hamilton, MD Papers

The Aufses Archives is happy to announce that it has received materials from William G. Hamilton, MD, donated by his wife, Linda Hamilton, PhD.  William Hamilton was an orthopedic surgeon working with the Kathryn and Gilbert Miller Health Care Institute for Performing Artists at the Roosevelt Division of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. The Institute began in 1985 and served the performing artist community until the mid-2000s. He also was the first in-house doctor for the New York City Ballet.  Dr. Hamilton treated many prima ballerinas as well as many major league athletes who sustained foot and ankle injuries. This collection contains the first materials we have which document the work of the Miller Institute. 

Hamilton’s whole career collection is huge, and includes dozens of photographs of various clientele, as well as ballet posters and team jerseys from pro basketball and baseball players, all in large frames and autographed by cast or team members. The collection also includes his many awards, certificates, and citations, instructional videos, PowerPoint presentations, and many sets of slides used in teaching and lectures on his foot and ankle repair techniques.  

The Aufses Archives chose materials that were most germane to Dr. Hamilton’s work at the Roosevelt Division. It includes articles, including an unpublished article that discusses using the marsupial meniscus of the ankle in dancers; his teaching videos and PowerPoint presentations; various hospital ID cards; his residency training diploma; several photographic tribute books honoring him, as well as several photographs of him with well-known dancers who were patients. My personal favorite item is a model of the bones of the foot in a delicate pink ballet slipper.  

The remainder of Dr. Hamilton’s collection was distributed to two other institutions. The New York City Ballet claimed the large number of dancer photographs and the rest of the collection was acquired by the NYU Health Sciences Library Medical Archives. 

Additional information on this collection will be available in our catalog by early 2024. 

Authored by Michala Biondi, Associate Archivist

Now Online: Selected Beth Israel alphabetical files, including WWI letters

As we wrap up our 2023 Digitization Project Grant, we are pleased to share a final batch of newly digitized materials – a selection of textual records from the Beth Israel Medical Center alphabetical files, including over 80 World War I letters.

This project was made possible by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). We are very grateful for their support. You can find all the material digitized as part of this project here and materials will also become available in the Digital Culture of Metropolitan New York in the coming months. 

Alphabetical files 

The Beth Israel Medical Center alphabetical files represent a miscellaneous assortment of textual records from throughout the hospital’s history. Each file provides a small insight into one aspect of its organization, which taken together provide a rich material history of the institution. The selection chosen for digitization emphasized materials through the completion of the campus in 1969, and provides insight into the hospital’s management, campus planning, and newsworthy happenings. 

Like the annual reports and Board of Trustees minutes, organizational and management records in this selection provide insight into the day-to-day decision-making at Beth Israel for things large and small. The digitized material includes the Rules and Regulations of the Beth Israel Dispensary (1907), excerpts of minutes from the Phillips School of Nursing (1905-1912), minutes from department head meetings (1931-1935), by-laws of the Beth Israel Hospital Association (1947-1960), and directories for the house staff and visiting staff (1950s-1960s). 

Campus planning is also a major theme in these materials. From Dazian Pavilion (construction started 1922) to planning for the Linsky Pavilion (opened 1966) these materials closely track the progress, reasoning, and decision-making surrounding the evolution of Beth Israels footprint in the Lower East Side. Of note are a group of articles written by Louis J. Frank, Beth Israel Hospital Superintendent, which describe a range of his theories on hospital management at the time of the construction of the Dazian Pavilion. Topics range from medical humanitarianism to facility planning, from European hospital design to vegetarian hospital food services. 

Newspaper clippings (bulk 1909-1933) and press releases (1967-1968) also make up a significant amount of material and would be helpful to anyone interested in events at Beth Israel during those years. 

You can browse all the alphabetical files digitized as part of this project here. (Note that some clippings and articles by Frank are still under copyright. The materials will become available as soon as they reach public domain, largely on January 1, 2024.) 

World War I letters 

Included in the alphabetical files are three years’ worth of World War I letters (1917-1919) to and from Louis J. Frank. The correspondents are largely Beth Israel doctors deployed to military hospitals on the front lines in France.  

Postcard showing 14th-century gated monastary with garden at center
This postcard from Captain Leo B. Meyer, head of the BIH Medical Board, to Louis J. Frank pictures Base Hospital No. 3 at the Asile de Vauclaire, a 14th-century monastery-turned-military hospital and home to the Mount Sinai Hospital unit. Meyer was stationed there for much of the war. The Archives have a number of materials on Base Hospital No. 3.

Major topics include daily life of those serving in the war, surgery during battle (particularly limb salvage and amputation), x-ray training for military doctors, and reactions to the Armistice. News of Beth Israel is also frequent, particularly medical and nursing staff shortages, the needs of future and current military patients, accounts of various Beth Israel doctors at home and abroad, and the status of the new Beth Israel hospital building (future Dazian Pavilion). The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 is mentioned throughout, and there are also several references to the Mount Sinai Hospital unit.  

These letters are a valuable resource to anyone interested in the role of American doctors serving in World War I. You can browse the letters here

More information on this project 

The METRO Digitization Project Grant allowed us to digitize materials from the Mount Sinai Beth Israel collection for researcher access in our catalog throughout Summer and Fall 2023. You can read more about this project here and see our previous blog posts on our annual reports and Board of Trustees minutes and the Beth Israel photograph collection

Authored by Stefana Breitwieser, Digital Archivist

Now Online: Selected Beth Israel photographs

In light of recent news, the Arthur H. Aufses, Jr. MD Archives remains committed to preserving Beth Israel’s rich history. As part of our ongoing 2023 Digitization Project Grant, we have been digitizing a selection of photographs from the Mount Sinai Beth Israel photograph collection. This blog post seeks to recognize and celebrate Beth Israel employees over the years, naming and putting faces to just a few of the thousands of people who have contributed to the hospital’s history.  

This project was made possible by the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). We are very grateful for their support. You can find all the material digitized as part of this project here

1930s, 1940s, and 1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

More information on this project

As part of the METRO Digitization Project Grant, additional materials from the Mount Sinai Beth Israel collection will be available as they are added to our catalog throughout Fall 2023, including more photographs, World War I letters, and other documentation on the history of Beth Israel through 1969. You can read more about this project here, and see our previous blog post on our annual reports and Board of Trustees minutes

Authored by Stefana Breitwieser, Digital Archivist

Now Online: Selected Beth Israel Board of Trustees minutes and annual reports

The Arthur H. Aufses, Jr. MD Archives are excited to announce that the Beth Israel Hospital Board of Trustees minutes from 1889-1936 are now available online, as well as selected annual reports from 1893-1910 and the 1950s.  

This project was made possible by the 2023 Digitization Project Grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). We are very grateful for their support. 

What kind of research can you do with Board of Trustees minutes? 

Board of Trustees minutes document every major decision made by a hospital. This can provide a longitudinal look at how many aspects of Beth Israel have evolved over time.  Reading through the minutes for specific subjects over the course of years can provide a detailed narrative of what decisions were made and why. For example, the Archives have already used the minutes to provide a look at how the campus has developed in researching our ongoing Building Beth Israel series

Minutes are also a great resource to look at how Beth Israel responded to particular historical events, such as the 1918 Influenza Epidemic. Researchers have also used the minutes to track donations of money, supplies, and art to the Hospital, as well as to better understand the legacy of specific Trustees.  

List of professions of patients treated at Beth Israel Hospital in 1893
List of occupations of the patients treated by Beth Israel Hospital, from the Annual Report, 1893
Handwritten list of Board of Trustees members for 1897
List of members from the Board of Directors minutes, 1897
Cover of 1956 annual report with reproduction of mural and the title "A Record of Progress"
Cover of the 1956 annual report

What kind of research can I do with annual reports?  

Annual reports provide a great snapshot of the projects and people at a hospital in any year. They are a great resource for researchers who are interested in a particular year or period in Beth Israel’s history. They provide a detailed portrait of any department’s biggest accomplishments and track the progression of the hospital’s many milestones. While most of the Archives’ collections reflect institutional history, annual reports also provide an overview of the doctors and researchers who were working in various departments at any given time.  

How can I access these files?  

You can browse a listing of the Beth Israel Hospital annual reports and Board of Trustees minutes. This is a complete list of what is available in our physical archival collection, and all of these materials can be viewed on-site at the Archives.  

Material that has a plus sign next to it can be accessed online. Click the plus sign and select the item from the drop-down, and then select the thumbnail of the digitized materials in order to pull up a full PDF version of the item.  

Screenshot of catalog illustrating how to navigate to select files
Screenshot from catalog

Please note that the Board of Trustees minutes are closed for twenty-five years following their date of creation. Additionally, Beth Israel Medical Center appears to have discontinued creating annual reports sometime in the late 1990s. Only selected annual reports have been digitized, but all Beth Israel annual reports that are currently in the Archives collection are available for on-site reading room use. 

You can also find all the material digitized as part of this project here. Additional materials will be available at that link as they are added to our catalog throughout Fall 2023. 

More information on this project 

As part of the METRO Digitization Project Grant, additional materials from the Mount Sinai Beth Israel collection will be added to our catalog throughout Fall 2023, including photographs, World War I letters, and other documentation on the history of Beth Israel through 1969. You can read more about this project here

Authored by Stefana Breitwieser, Digital Archivist

New Exhibit: Connection Workers

The Aufses Archives staff has installed our latest exhibit, Connection Workers, in the lobby of the Annenberg Building.

Before receiving care, patients and visitors interact with a multitude of hospital workers who provide functional support and assistance in directing people from point A to point B. This exhibit showcases those workers know the answers and have the training to assist with making the connection between where our patients and visitors are, and where they need to be.

This season’s exhibit highlights workers from our hospitals’ histories who made vital connections by greeting visitors, scheduling appointments, transporting patients, connecting telephone calls, registering clinic appointments, and, as we transitioned into the digital age, ensuring that information was accessible digitally.

Some roles, such as transport and security, remained the same over the years. Other job responsibilities changed with the advent of new technologies, revolutionizing the way we communicate. Telephone operators, medical records administrators, and early IT workers have adapted by implementing and maintaining systems to keep us connected. Navigating the hospital environment has never been simple, but thankfully there have always been dedicated employees in positions that ease the way. 

This blog post focuses only on the Mount Sinai Hospital histories presented in the exhibit.

Telephone Operators & Switchboard

“Handling external patient information is a major responsibility of Central Information. Attending the wall board are Helen Mella, Gwendolyn Henderson, Amelda Hill, and Raymond Odom, Central Information Supervisor.”

August 1966

Telephone Operators Jacqualyn Mulrain, Delores Jenkins, and Barbara Villanueva (on phone), October 1989

“In the new Communications Center in Annenberg, Chief Telephone Operator, Iris Reid checks out a Centrex problem with DeLois Harrell, seated at her desk with its push-button console, one of eight such console desks that replace the switchboard in our new direct-dial system. At their left are the page operators.”

March 1973

Reception & Information

Metzger Pavilion’s Reception and Information area in 1928. Opened in 1904, Metzger formerly served as Mount Sinai Hospital’s administration building, had laboratories installed on the roof in 1948, and was torn down in 1986 to make way for the Guggenheim Pavilion.

Mount Sinai Hospital Bulletin, 1931

Roy Brown working at the Information desk during the November 9, 1965 blackout.

Information Technology (IT)

Mount Sinai People, April 1986

Mount Sinai People, Winter 1991

Year 2000 CHECKLIST newsletter, December 1999

Pictured here are the EPIC “Willow” project team in 2010 during the “first phase in the implementation of… a new electronic medical record system linking all inpatient and ambulatory patient care areas.” The transition to EPIC has taken many years, going through multiple rollouts that required collaboration across departments and the constant support of the EPIC Clinical Transformation Group in IT (now Digital and Technology Partners).

Transporters & Orderlies

Mount Sinai People, December 1982

Mount Sinai Hospital Bulletin, 1932

Carrie Feaster, Diane Guzman, Julia Medina, Carmen Ruiz, Cara Thompson, Socorra Muriel, and other unidentified Transporters modeling new uniforms, 1975

Mount Sinai People, February 1983

Security

Mount Sinai People, April 1985

Mount Sinai People, April 1986

On October 26, 2001 the Security team was honored at a breakfast for their service by the Emergency Department. Pictured (right to left) are: Security Officers Jose Santos, Richard Cruz, Charles Edmunds; Nurse Manager Laura Giles, RN; Security Officer Felix Reyes; and Chairman of the Emergency Medicine Department Sheldon Jacobson, MD.

Medical Records

“I like to keep things low key, to stay in the background. I enjoy life, but in a gentle way. That’s just the way I am.”

– Mitch McDaniel, Project Administrator in Medical Records, joined Mount Sinai in 1971, profiled in Mount Sinai People, 1990

Medical Records staff, 1949

Trustee’s Diary Describes Early Years of St. Luke’s

To understand life in seventeenth century London, the diary of Samuel Pepys is required reading. Diarists of his caliber are rare finds for the historian; but when they are uncovered, other sources of material do not compare for the recoding of events and the flavor of life in the period.

In 1952, the distinguished Columbia University historian Allen Nevins and his colleague Milton H. Thomas published a four-volume edited version of the diary of George Templeton Strong. The original Strong papers, which run to nearly four and one half million words neatly written in blank notebooks and undiscovered by scholars for more than forty years after his death, provide an amazing look at life in New York from 1835 to 1875.

Since strong was a St. Luke’s trustee from 1852 to 1857, his entries abound with references to the hospital, to Dr. Muhlenberg, to Robert B. Minturn the first St. Luke’s president, and to many others associated with St. Luke’s and its beginnings. The diary provides particularly interesting reading for those who are now associate with St. Luke’s.

From his days as a Columbia student through a long career as a leading attorney, Strong faithfully recorded the period’s events, leaving an unparalleled record of observations about the great and small happenings in each day of these forty hectic years. The diary became public when a history of Strong’s firm, now known as Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, was being written in the 1930’s, and later was given to Columbia University.



Volume III, which deals with the Civil War period, is the best known book in the series and is listed in the bibliography of most books written on the period. Strong served as a member of the pioneering Sanitary Commission, which provided the medical care and supplementary serviced needed by the Union army and the civilian population. In this voluntary capacity, he was on intimate terms with government leaders and with all of the principal military figures.

The diarist was a Columbia University trustee, and notes that he learned of his election to that body while attending a St. Luke’s meeting. His principle interest during his long association with his alma mater, were the School of Law and of Mines. He also points out his consternation about being named to the fund raising committee of the St. Luke’s board. A difficult task was his assignment by Muhlenberg to develop a motto for the hospital. Unfortunately, the diary does not indicate whether he finally did suggest “Corpus Sanare, Animan Salvare,” the motto found on the St. Luke’s seal. Ample references are found to the numerous technical and legal difficulties the St. Luke’s founders encountered and to the differences of opinion reflected by the various early trustees. His family physician was Dr. George A. Peters, for eight years a president of the St. Luke’s medical Board.

Because he was not writing for publication, Strong was free to open his mind to the diary and his views of people and events are not limited by worry over injuring anyone’s feelings. Never has the phrase, ‘one man’s opinion’ been more apropos.

Born to an old and patrician family, Strong, whose grandfather sailed with Robert Fulton on the “Clermont” on the world’s first steamboat ride on the Hudson, was on intimate terms with most of the rich and powerful men of the age. Lincoln was his close friend, as were John Jacob Astor, Peter Cooper, Washington Irving and future President Chester A. Arthur. His funeral in 1875 was attended by President Ulysses S. Grant; Astor was among the pallbearers.

A brilliant writer with a gifted pen and a reporter’s sense for detail, his notes on the minutia of family life and his descriptions of fires, trails, riots and people all form a clear and complete picture of the City he knew and loved. His detailed observations of the music and literature of the period and his analysis of sermons preached at Trinity Church, where he was a vestryman, show his broad grasp of subjects and his keep sense of the pertinent.

For those interested in the development of New York, its institutions and the people who turned it from a compact, if lively, port in 1835 to the bustling metropolis it was by 1875, the diary of St. Luke’s trustee George Templeton Strong is an invaluable source of information.



This article was first published in June 1970 issue of The News of St. Luke’s Hospital Center, from the archival collection of St. Luke’s Hospital Center. https://archives.mssm.edu/aa098-s004-ss002-ss003

Copies of the diaries have been digitized and are found here: https://digitalcollections.nyhistory.org/islandora/object/nyhs%3Astrong


The Mount Sinai Doctor: Charlotte Friend, PhD

This is the second in a series, The Mount Sinai Doctor, that are adapted from the thorough biographical entries located in our Archives catalog, information gathered from This House of Noble Deeds: The Mount Sinai Hospital, 1852-2002, and the unpublished unique material stewarded in our Archives.

Hailed as a gifted scientist, noted microbiologist, renowned virologist, and exceptional researcher, Dr. Charlotte Friend’s contributions to the field of cancer research continue to be foundational. She was the first and only female full Professor appointed to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine when the faculty was formed in 1966. Among many accomplishments, she is most celebrated for (1) discovering the Friend leukemia virus, proving that viruses can be the cause of some types of cancers, and (2) demonstrating that cancer cells can be stopped from multiplying and revert to being normal cells through a chemical treatment by a compound called dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO).

Early Life

Her important contributions to the study of cancer began and ended in New York, a city she loved. She was born March 11, 1921 on Houston Street to Russian immigrant parents. After her father passed away, her mother moved Charlotte and her three siblings to the Bronx. Growing up in the Great Depression, her family received “home relief” from the city to survive. She received a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College in 1944. During World War II, she entered the Navy where she was assigned to help direct a hematology laboratory in California. After leaving the Navy in 1946 and with the support of the G.I. Bill, she began graduate work in microbiology at Yale University. By the time she received her doctorate in 1950, Dr. Friend already had a position in the laboratory of Dr. Alice Moore at the then Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City.

Career

In 1956, Dr. Friend gave a paper at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in which she stated that she had discovered a virus that caused a leukemia-like disorder in newborn mice. She was roundly criticized for bringing up what was considered to be the false belief that viruses could cause cancer. Not only was her discovery correct and a watershed moment, the tide of change finally turned in the face of mounting evidence. Dr. Friend spent the following years investigating different aspects of the virus, as did many other researchers.

Dr. Friend with Mount Sinai’s Dean George James, MD, MPH

In 1966, Dr. Friend left Sloan-Kettering to become the first Director of the Center for Experimental Cell Biology and a Professor at the still developing Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She also was a Professor in the Graduate School of Biological Sciences. At Mount Sinai, she established her own laboratory that in 1967 was endowed as the Mollie B. Roth Laboratory. Still, there was an unending struggle to find the funding to keep the lab well-staffed and well equipped, a situation that got harder as federal funding began to shrink in the 1970s. The decline in federal funds for basic research led Dr. Friend to write several protest letters to congressmen and others in power. This was a tactic that she often took when a subject that mattered to her was at issue. During her time at Mount Sinai she “helped shape the educational and research philosophy” of the new School of Medicine. Dr. Nathan Kase, a former Dean of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said “Her presence was a major factor in establishing at the fledgling medical school a balance between emphasis on clinical care and on basic science research.” Dr. Terry Ann Krulwich, former Dean of the Mount Sinai Graduate School of Biological Sciences, noted that Dr. Friend had “a special feeling for students and the larger academic community.”​1​ To read more about the Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s early days, read about the first Deans, Doris Siegel (the first woman named to an endowed chair), and the opening day.

Advocacy, Service, & Awards

Dr. Friend with unidentified lab worker at Sloan-Kettering Institute

Her discovery of the Friend leukemia virus established her reputation very early in her career. Perhaps because of this, she felt that she herself was not held back by being a woman, except for some wage discrimination. Still, she believed that science truly had been a man’s world and that it would take conscious and steady efforts by women to change this. For her part, this involved nominating women to positions of authority in organizations; suggesting women speakers for programs; speaking out about women’s issues; serving as a role model to young women from grade school to graduate school; and ultimately, by taking time from her own lab to serve in prominent positions in professional associations.

One example of her advocacy was in 1979 when she confronted Francis Crick to adequately recognize that Rosalind Franklin was close to solving DNA structure on her own. He had published an article in The Sciences which he criticized her character as “brisk”, “oversensitive”, and “too stubborn.”​2​ Attacks on character aside, Dr. Friend wrote to him and pointed out that he “never accepted her as a first-class scientist.”​3​ Crick replied, “I now see what the trouble is. You apparently believe Rosalind was a first rate scientist. I think she was a good experimentalist but certainly not of the first class… What I object to is the artificial inflation of her reputation by women who do not fully understand her work and often did not know her personally.”​4​ He only conceded by citing “in particular Dr. Aaron Klug” (a man) as having made the argument to him.​5​ To this Dr. Friend published a letter to the editors, commenting, “Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.”​6​ Her humorous response to sexist discrimination shows Dr. Friend’s perseverance and that she likely frequently employed this strategy to stand up for herself and others when faced with such reprehensible behavior.

In the 1970s, when many associations ‘discovered’ their female members, Dr. Friend was asked to assume leadership roles in several organizations including: chairman of the Gordon Conference (1973); member of the Board of Directors (1973-76) and president (1976) of the American Association for Cancer Research; president of the Harvey Society (1978/79); and president of the New York Academy of Sciences (1978).

Accomplishments, Collaboration, & Recognition

Dr. Friend with Mayor Ed Koch, receiving the first-ever Mayor’s award in Science and Technology in 1985

Dr. Friend’s papers are in the Aufses Archives’ collection and provide insight into the world of cancer research during an important era, one which Dr. Friend herself helped propel. This was the time, starting in the 1950s, when scientists gradually turned to an acceptance of viruses as cancer causing agents in humans. The evolution of the field may be traced through the programs of conferences that Dr. Friend attended, the journal articles that she reviewed, as well as through correspondence and her own research. These papers also show the intimacy of the cancer research community itself, at least at the level at which Dr. Friend operated. Her papers provide information on women’s role in science.

She wrote about many things, including support for Israel, against anti-abortion measures, and in defense of women’s rights. In 1971, Dr. Friend published another landmark paper, this one titled “Hemoglobin synthesis in murine virus-induced leukemic cells in vitro: Stimulation of erythroid differentiation by dimethyl sulfoxide.” The co-authors were William Scher, J.G. Holland, and Toru Sato. This paper described research on leukemia cells that had been made to differentiate, or take another step in the maturation process to become erythroid cells, thus stopping their cancer-like multiplication. Research continues today by many others in the field trying to make this a reality in cancer care.

Dr. Friend, receiving Honorary Doctor of Science from Brandeis University in 1986

A frequent collaborator with other scientists, she often took part in international research efforts. Dr. Friend loved to travel and formed many long-term friendships with colleagues in Europe. Her sabbatical years (1963 and 1975) were spent working in laboratories in Australia, Israel, France, and Italy. She attended many international meetings and was very active in various associations and in outside professional activities, such as grant reviewing and serving on editorial boards and advisory councils.

In all, she published 163 papers, 70 of which she wrote by herself or with one other author. She won several awards, including: the Alfred P. Sloan Award in Cancer Research in 1954, 1957, and 1962; the Jacobi Medallion in 1984; first-ever Mayor’s award in Science and Technology in 1985; and an Honorary Doctor of Science from Brandeis University in 1986. Throughout her career, she was consistently generous in distributing her virus (FLV) and her cells (FELC) to others who wanted to work with them. Dr. Friend remains outstanding for having made two major contributions during her career.

Although diagnosed with lymphoma on her 60th birthday in 1981, she told few of her illness. She continued to go about her work with all the energy she had, writing grants, serving on many committees, and working in the lab. Charlotte Friend died in January 1987.


Works Cited

  1. 1.
    Schmeck Jr. HM. CHARLOTTE FRIEND DIES AT 65; RESEARCHED CANCER VIRUSES. The New York Times. January 16, 1987:18.
  2. 2.
    Crick F. How to Live with a Golden Helix. The Sciences. 1979;19:6-9. https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/101584582X462
  3. 3.
    Friend C. [Letter to Francis Crick]. The Francis Crick Papers. Published September 11, 1979. Accessed March 28, 2023. https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/101584582X227
  4. 4.
    Crick F. [Letter to Charlotte Friend]. The Francis Crick Papers. Published September 18, 1979. Accessed March 28, 2023. https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/101584582X367
  5. 5.
    Crick F. [Letter to the Editor of The Sciences]. The Francis Crick Papers. Published October 2, 1979. Accessed March 28, 2023. https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/101584582X225
  6. 6.
    Friend C. [Letter to the Editor of The Sciences]. The Francis Crick Papers. Published December 1979. Accessed March 28, 2023. http://resource.nlm.nih.gov/101584582X463

This post was authored by J.E. Molly Seegers, based upon the biographical note written by Barbara Niss.