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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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
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.
“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
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 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).
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.
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.
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
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’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.
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.
Schmeck Jr. HM. CHARLOTTE FRIEND DIES AT 65; RESEARCHED CANCER VIRUSES. The New York Times. January 16, 1987:18.
Dr. Frank B. Berry, pictured above, was born in Dorchester, Mass., in 1892. He attended Harvard College (Class of 1914) and Harvard Medical School, graduating in 1917. His medical training was interrupted by World War I, in which he served as an Army pathologist with the American Expeditionary Forces in France.
When he returned home, he interned at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and at Boston City Hospital, initially completing a residency in pathology. However, Berry developed an interest in surgery during the war. He chose to take an internship at Presbyterian Hospital (NYC), and a surgical residency at Bellevue Hospital (NYC), where he continued to practice as the director of its first Surgical and Chest Surgical Division under Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons section.
In 1936, Dr. Berry was appointed to Roosevelt Hospital as an Associate Attending Surgeon in thoracic surgery. At the start of World War II, Roosevelt Hospital was asked to form the Ninth Evacuation Hospital with hospital staff, and Berry was appointed Chief of Surgery of the unit. The “Ninth Evac” was one of the earliest units ashore in the North African landing and the unit was far forward during the Tunisian campaign. The unit traveled extensively through Northern Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, and Germany before returning home.
Dr. Berry also served as consultant in surgery at Allied Forces Headquarters. In 1944, he accompanied the Seventh Army during its invasion of Southern France and through the campaign to Augsburg, Germany. At the end of the war, Berry accepted the post of Deputy Chief of Public Health and Welfare of the Allied Control Commission in Germany, tasked with reopening German medical schools. He resigned as Associate Attending Surgeon (thoracic) at Roosevelt Hospital in 1946, and was appointed Visiting Consultant in general surgery (thoracic). He remained in the Army Reserves, becoming a brigadier general in 1949 and played a prominent part in furthering the reserve program in New York City’s Military District.
Berry began to experience tremors in his hands in the early 1950s, and decided it was prudent to move on from surgery. Between 1954 and 1961, he held the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense focusing on health and medical affairs. During this time, he developed what came to be known as the Berry Plan. The plan allowed medical students to avoid being “called up” arbitrarily, say in the middle of their schooling or in-hospital training, throwing a wrench into school enrollment plans, hospital staffing plans, and the education of many medical students. Applicants could request one of three schemes: to complete an internship year and then go in the service, to complete one year of residency then go into the service, or serve after completing full residency training. Each of these choices would then involve two years of active duty military service, and in some cases, additional reserve service years. Doctors didn’t always get the option they applied for, but they were able to complete some part of their training without interruption and were guaranteed a spot to continue where they left off once they returned from service; 42,000 physicians and surgeons took advantage of the Berry Plan, including many of our own MSHS physicians and surgeons.
Writing about Dr. Berry as a person, a former resident at Roosevelt Hospital, Edward G. Stanley-Brown says that he devoted enormous amounts of time and energy in teaching each one of the trainees. He took a personal interest in their lives, often acknowledging personal and professional events and successes with a note or phone call. His door was always open to his house staff. He was happy to assist a new intern with a simple procedure or work with a senior resident on the most complicated one. He could be stern and demanding in surgery, requiring residents to be courteous, pleasant and to arrive at the OR on time, or be dismissed for that session, but his reprimands were firm, fair and carried out in private. Stanley-Brown remembers him fondly as “a superb surgeon, a brilliant teacher … a true friend, and quite simply our beloved chief.”
Frank Berry died on October 14, 1976 at the age of eighty-four. His funeral took place in St. Bartholomew’s Church four days later. Stanley-Brown notes that it must have been a bad day to need a surgeon in NYC, because the church was full of them. Surgeons from Bellevue, Roosevelt, St. Luke’s, Presbyterian Hospitals and other sites, including every one of his intern group, came to honor the man who made such a difference in the education and lives of thousands of physicians and surgeons across the country.
Written by Michala Biondi, Associate Archivist
Sources: Stanley-Brown, Edward G. “Frank Brown Berry, 1892-1976,” Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 54, #5, May 1978, pp. 532-538. Berry, Frank B. “The Story of ‘The Berry Plan.’“ Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 52, #3, Mar/April 1976, pp. 278-282. Clark, Alfred E. “Frank B. Berry, Chief of Defense Doctors,” New York Times, October 16, 1976 Greene, Frederick L. “Remembering the Berry Plan.” General Surgery News, May 15, 2020 Wikipedia, “The Berry Plan.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berry_Plan retrieved March 1, 2023
The Arthur H. Aufses, Jr. MD Archives is pleased to share that we recently received a 2023 Digitization Project Grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) to digitize a selection of material from the Mount Sinai Beth Israel collection. METRO’s Digitization Project Grant is designed to support digitization projects for METRO members to enhance the quality and accessibility of library and information resources in the metropolitan New York region. The selection for this grant will be the largest body of digitized materials related to Mount Sinai Beth Israel (MSBI) to date.
Selected material spans from across the history of MSBI. Beginning as a form of Jewish mutual aid to care for marginalized workers and their families living in tenements, the hospital grew to treat and research many of the most pressing issues of the time and the history of the hospital is deeply intertwined with that of the neighborhood. Over its 133-year history, this has included caring for the sick during the Influenza Epidemic of 1918; the development of the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program in the 1960s, one of the first ever methadone clinics; being an early responder in treating and caring for patients during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s; and responding to the present COVID-19 pandemic. The Beth Israel records broadly document the history of the hospital, and the digitization of this material will allow Beth Israel to be more easily included in historical research related to the broader scope of healthcare in metropolitan New York. At the grant period’s end, more than 7,000 pages of material will be newly available through our catalog.
A big thank you to METRO for their support! You can learn more about past grant recipients and their projects here.
Authored by Stefana Breitwieser, Digital Archivist
As we look forward to a new year, I wanted to reflect on Mount Sinai’s remarkable historical milestones, honor our collective past, and celebrate those who make the Icahn School of Medicine and the Mount Sinai Health System what we are so proud of today.
2023 is a banner year as we mark the tenth anniversary of the Mount Sinai Health System’s creation. Among many pivotal moments described below, some highlights include trailblazing women, the evolution of psychological and substance use treatments, several otolaryngology milestones, and ways we have supported each other and our communities.
These milestones only highlight a selection of round number anniversaries.
We have so much to recognize in 2023, and the Arthur H. Aufses, Jr., MD Archives staff will be hard at work providing information and materials to support these celebrations!
1823 – 200 years ago
New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s Dr. Rodgers travelled to Curaçao at the request of the island’s Rear Admiral Governor, to perform surgery in what might be called ophthalmology’s first international goodwill mission.
1863 – 160 years ago
During the New York City Draft Riots of 1863, one of the “bloodiest race riots in American history,” rioters besieged St. Luke’s Hospital for 48 hours, threatening to set the building on fire as it had received three injured policemen. Founder Reverend William Muhlenberg met an injured rioter brought to the front doors and was able to calm the protestors, who began to disperse.
In the geographic center of the Draft Riots, Jews’ Hospital in New York (later The Mount Sinai Hospital) was “the asylum for their dead and injured. An eventual result for the Hospital was its adoption of the nonsectarianism [sic] which has been its policy ever since.” In caring for riot victims, Jews’ Hospital staff witnessed the particular terror and brutal violence inflicted upon Black people. (see post for further information)
James Henry Roosevelt died, leaving his estate for “the reception and relief of sick and diseased persons, and its permanent endowment…” which then created Roosevelt Hospital.
1873 – 150 years ago
New York Eye and Ear Infirmary’s Throat Department was established, forerunner of the Head and Neck Service.
1898 – 125 years ago
During the Spanish-American War, the hospitals treated troops ill with typhoid and other epidemic diseases. Roosevelt Hospital’s Ward V was turned over to the U.S. Department of War. St. Luke’s Hospital set aside 30 beds. The Mount Sinai Hospital cared for 44.
An Act of the State Legislature of 1897 established a law to give The Mount Sinai Hospital 40 cents per day for each charity patient. Costs were then $1.33 per day, about $33 today.
1913 – 110 years ago
Sophie Rabinoff, MD, became the first female intern on the house staff at Beth Israel Hospital after “triumphing over thirty men in a competitive examination.” Initially told by the hospital that women are not eligible for appointment, the hospital later agreed to allow her to sit for the examination, at which she came in first place.
1923 – 100years ago
The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Medical Board recommended, and Board approved that “patients suffering from mental disturbance … as well as those suffering from the minor psychoses and from functional nervous trouble, may be admitted to the Neurological Service.”
Mount Sinai Hospital statistics for 1923: 12,104 patients treated; average census 505; length of stay 15.7 days; days of care 183,863; average daily cost of ward patient $5.64; 8,261 ER visits.
Leila C. Knox, MD, became the first female Attending Physician of any level at St. Luke’s Hospital. Hired in 1913 as an assistant and bacteriologist, she retired in 1948 as Pathologist, Director of Laboratories and Associate Attending Physician, and was recognized for her work as a tissue diagnostician.
1938 – 85 years ago
Mount Sinai Hospital’s Robert T. Frank, MD published an article The Formation of an Artificial Vagina Without Operation in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecologyon his non-surgical vaginoplasty technique to create or enlarge a vagina. He had been working on the subject for many years and had published in 1927 an article advocating for non-surgical methods with Dr. S.H. Geist.
1948 – 75 years ago
Beth Israel’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Departments are merged into a single department; Dr. Henry C. Falk was Director.
The residency program in Urology at Beth Israel was approved by the American Medical Association and the American Board of Urology.
The Mount Sinai Hospital welcomed its first residents in Psychiatry.
The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Special Medical Clinic, an outpatient diagnostic center, was established for lower income patients, paid half of consultation service fees.
1953 – 70 years ago
Woman’s Hospital officially merged with St. Luke’s becoming Woman’s Hospital Division of St. Luke’s Hospital. Established in 1855, Woman’s Hospital was the result of a meeting of thirty-five influential New York City women gathered by Dr. J. Marion Sims who conveyed New York’s need for a hospital to treat gynecological diseases.
1958 – 65 years ago
Doris L. Wethers, MD, began working at St. Luke’s Hospital. The first Black Attending Physician, she was Director of Pediatrics from 1974 until 1979, when she became the principal investigator on a major research project studying sickle cell anemia. She also served as chairwoman of an NIH panel that recommended routine testing for newborns regardless of race or ethnicity.
1973 – 50 years ago
St. Luke’s-Roosevelt’s Smithers Alcoholism Center and Rehabilitation Unit opened (now the Addiction Institute of New York). Funded by R. Brinkley Smithers, who pledged a $10-million gift for the treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics in 1971, it was the largest single grant ever made by an individual or agency, including the Federal Government, to address alcoholism.
United States Senator Walter Mondale held hearings on child abuse at Roosevelt Hospital; the following year, Mondale initiated the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.
Mount Sinai’s Department of Community Medicine received a grant to develop a primary care health services system for the children of East Harlem. The program later served as a model for other urban settings.
Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing admitted its first male student.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine held its first classes in the Annenberg Building; the rest of the building opened slowly floor by floor after this.
1988 – 35 years ago
Beth Israel Medical Center establishes a 12-bed inpatient unit for AIDS care.
An AIDS unit at the Roosevelt Division site opened, providing 25 beds and augmented the St. Luke’s site AIDS unit which had 24 beds.
1993 – 30 years ago
A Letter of Agreement was signed formalizing the affiliation of Astoria General Hospital (predecessor of Mount Sinai Queens) and The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Beth Israel created the Alfred and Gail Engelberg Department of Family Medicine and a residency program, the first in a Manhattan hospital, in conjunction with the Institute for Family Health (IFH), led by co-founder Dr. Neil Calman. IFH later affiliated with Mount Sinai and created the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the Icahn School of Medicine.
For the first time, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine graduated more women than men, also a first in New York State.
Women faculty members of Mount Sinai School of Medicine formed the Women Faculty group to address issues of concern to the including pay equity, discrimination, participation by women in internal decision-making bodies, limitations on career advancement, parenting and schedule flexibility issues, and the underlying sexism that informs these issues.
Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Center for Research and Treatment of Autism created in The Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry.
1998 – 25 years ago
Center for Multi-Cultural and Community Affairs (CMCA) was established to increase underrepresented minority groups in medicine, adding to the diversity of the School and the Hospital, and to Mount Sinai’s effectiveness in serving the ethnically and racially diverse communities of East Harlem, Harlem, the Bronx, Queens, and the rest of New York City. Positioned as the interface for educational pipeline programs such as CEYE and SETH, Minority Affairs, institution-wide diversity initiatives, academic supports for medical students, and other initiatives within the School of Medicine, it was founded under the leadership of Gary Butts, MD in the Department of Medical Education.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Beth Israel and participated in a conference at the Hyman-Newman Institute for Neurology and Neurosurgery called “Researching the Health Actions of Advanced Meditation: A Landmark East/West Medical Conference.” The conference was co-convened by Tibet House and Beth Israel Medical Center with the participation of Columbia University.
The James P. Mara Center for Lung Diseases was dedicated at Roosevelt Hospital. Gerard M. Turino, MD is the founding director; funded by $2 million donation from The Carson Family Charitable Trust.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine students organized the first memorial service for cadavers used in gross anatomy class.
Announcement of establishment of the Mount Sinai-NYU Medical Center and Health System.
Continuum Health Partners, Inc. was selected as new name for Beth Israel and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt parent company.
2003 – 20 years ago
Dr. Kenneth Davis, Chairman of Psychiatry, officially becomes Dean of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the Board subsequently approved Davis as President.
Master’s program in Community Medicine changed from that of a Master of Science degree to a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.
2008 – 15 years ago
The Brain Institute was created (now Friedman Brain Institute). Eric Nestler, MD, PhD became the first Director when he joined Mount Sinai to become the Chairman of the Fishberg Department of Neuroscience.
The Ear Institute at NYEE opened, which centralized the ear specialty services of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, Beth Israel Medical Center, and the Children’s Hearing Institute.
2013 – 10 years ago
On September 30th, the approval and official creation of the Mount Sinai Health System was announced, and the Board was considered formed. Press release stated: “The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education.”
Icahn School of Medicine announced the formation of a new group, Women in Science and Medicine.
2018 – 5 years ago
Boards of Trustees of South Nassau Communities Hospital and the Mount Sinai Health System formally approved an affiliation agreement.
Mount Sinai Heart opened a new ambulatory practice at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s. The Center for Clinical Cardiovascular Care at Mount Sinai Heart offered a suite of specialty services for comprehensive and integrated cardiovascular patient care, including Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery, and Vascular Surgery, in one location.
Additionally, the following departments, institutes, committees, centers, collaborations, and other initiatives have reached a landmark year:
Department of Emergency Medicine in the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (Academic Department)
Center for Multicultural and Community Affairs
Minimally Invasive Surgery Center (MISC)
Wound Care Center
Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder Center for Maternity Care
Brain Institute (now the Friedman Brain Institute)
Experimental Therapeutics Institute (now the Drug Discovery Institute)
Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute (now the BioMedical Engineering and Imaging Institute)
Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism Institute
Minority Health Research Committee
Statistical Advisory Service
Office of Clinical Research
Office for Women’s Careers
Patient-Oriented Research Training and Leadership (PORTAL) program
OCD, Tic Disorders, and Tourette’s Disorder Team
Mount Sinai Health Network
East Harlem Health Outreach Project (EHHOP) Advisory Board
Center for Advanced Circuit Therapeutics (now the Nash Family Center)
Affiliation with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Authored by J.E. Molly Seegers with research contributions for Mount Sinai Morningside and Mount Sinai West by Michala Biondi and for Mount Sinai Beth Israel by Stefana Breitwieser
This week (December 4-10, 2022) is National Handwashing Awareness Week. As we all know, hand hygiene is a critical component of clinical care and patient safety. In this post we’ll be looking at handwashing campaigns at Mount Sinai Beth Israel over the years. (Click on the images for a larger view, or see the links below to view the item in our catalog.)
James Henry Roosevelt, whose bequest founded the Roosevelt Hospital, was born at his family’s home on Warren Street, NY, NY on November 10, 1800. Following his earlier education in neighborhood schools, he enrolled in Columbia College, where his studies included law, and was graduated from there in 1819. He subsequently set up a law practice in New York City.
With his studies behind him, and his law practice established, he stood on the threshold of a promising life. Described as a young man of pleasing appearance, brown hair, above-average height and with a gentle and courteous demeanor, he was well-to-do, brilliant, and engaged to be married to Julia Boardman, who was from an old New York City family.
However, a sudden illness that left him physically disabled, ending his plans for both career and marriage. The exact nature of the illness is unclear: Some speculated that it was lead poisoning from a home remedy for a cold, concocted of hot milk into which lead shot had been boiled. Others think he fell victim to poliomyelitis.
In any case, largely incapacitated, he abandoned his law practice. Not wanting to ‘burden’ Julia Boardman with his disability, he broke his engagement to her. (Neither married and both remained lifelong friends; in fact, one of the few bequests he made, outside of the one to his nephew, James C. Roosevelt Brown, and the monies left to found The Roosevelt Hospital, was an annuity for Ms. Boardman, whom he also named as executrix of his will.)
Roosevelt then embarked on a life not just of physical limitations, but also of frugality and austerity, devoting much of his time and interests to real estate dealings and to the management of his securities; he thus increased his worth substantially. It is thought that he conserved and increased his funds for one specific purpose: to support “the establishment in the City of New York of an [sic] hospital for the reception and relief of sick and diseased persons.” Whatever the reason, when he died on November 30, 1863, he left almost one million dollars toward that objective.
The hospital founded under the terms of his will was to be a voluntary hospital that cared for individuals regardless of their ability to pay. It seems reasonable to suppose that having himself suffered from illness, he realized the plight of those who might at the same time be afflicted with both sickness and destitution. We celebrate its 151st anniversary of its opening on November 2nd.
It is said that Roosevelt was never morose or gloomy. He maintained an active interest in the life about him and in the affairs in which he could not participate. He enjoyed the companionship of a host of friends, one of the closest being Julia Boardman.
Although James H. Roosevelt’s remains were first buried in his family’s vault in the New York City Marble Cemetery, they were moved to the Roosevelt Hospital grounds when a monument to him was placed there in 1876. In late 1994 the monument was removed and relocated and his remains were exhumed. In the spring of 1995 Roosevelt was re-interred in the New York City Marble Cemetery family vault. Julia Boardman’s remains were interred in the same cemetery, but in her father’s vault.
For more information about former Beth Israel locations, see the Building Beth Israel series. An interactive map of Beth Israel historical locations is available here.
The start date of an institution seems like a clear-cut fact, but often the records that would ideally shine a light on this milestone are actually a bit murky. The founding of the Phillips School of Nursing at Mount Sinai Beth Israel (PSON) is a great example of this historical ambiguity.
During a recent reference request, I had the opportunity to research the establishment of PSON more fully. I spent hours poring over the Beth Israel Board of Directors minutes tracking down this information. Reading through this material was extremely time consuming – the minutes are handwritten in large, loopy cursive, and most entries didn’t even have a passing mention of the school. (When one meeting had discussion about the Hospital purchasing a typewriter, I felt like it wasn’t a moment too soon!)
The earliest mention of nursing at Beth Israel Hospital is in the Board of Directors minutes of April 25, 1891, when a nurse applied for a position at the Hospital as it prepared to move to its new space at 196 East Broadway, and was hired to begin working on May 15 of that year at a salary of $23 per month (about $730 today). These early years at Beth Israel (established 1890) were marked by financial precarity, and it was noted in July 1891 that the Hospital must “limit itself to accepting ten patients for the foreseeable future, these to be serviced by 2 nurses only, one doctor, one cook, and if the Hospital would also reduce other expenditures…the institution would survive.”
In the years following, an added concern was hiring nurses who were trained. As was a common model for the time, Beth Israel Hospital opened its Training School for Nurses to supply the hospital with a fixed number of student nurses, who provided most of the nursing service to inpatients and were supervised by a smaller number of trained, professional nurses. We know that the school first opened at the Jefferson and Cherry Streets location with a two-year curriculum – but when exactly?
The minutes reveal only a rough outline of the founding of the school. The first mention of it was on October 11, 1898, when the idea was referred to the Medical Board in conjunction with the Board of Directors, Training School Committee. The committee consisted of two members, “Hurwitz and Fleck[?].” Two months later, the committee wrote a proposal for the school, and on March 7, 1899, it was officially established.
The school wasn’t mentioned again in the minutes for three full years, and renewed interest coincided with the hospital’s preparation to move to the Jefferson and Cherry Streets location. On March 4, 1902, the committee “was instructed to proceed at once with the necessary arrangements for nursing in the new hospital” in addition to “other work” as assigned. On May 6, 1902, the committee reported that “requests for the recommendation of a Supt. Of Nurses have been sent out and that the German Hospital recommended a Mrs. Chapman[?].” (German Hospital was renamed to Lenox Hill Hospital in 1918.) This superintendent of nurses would have supervised the student nurses during their training.
Finally, the minutes from late 1902 imply that the student nurses had begun their work. On October 7, November 11, and December 9, 1902, the minutes state that the nurses’ quarters were “insufficient”, and it was moved to find a better place to rent for them. The November minutes also reflect some logistical challenges around finding the right number of nurses per ward. There’s no definitive school start date mentioned.
The unprocessed Phillips School of Nursing records also have materials related to the hundredth anniversary of the school taking place in 2004. Did these celebrants have access to historical documentation that is not present in the Archives? It is difficult to say. The celebration, called “A Century of Caring,” honored the ten graduates of the first class in 1904: Rose Bergen, Elizabeth Berman, Fannie Finn, Rose Goldman, Rose Hyman, Julia Meyers, Lena Rabinowitz, Sophie Reichin, Elizabeth Stein, and Minnie Vogel.
By carefully reading the Board of Directors minutes, searching through PSON’s own records, and seeing the institution’s own conception of its anniversary year – all this taken together – we’ve concluded that the Beth Israel Hospital Training School for Nurses was established in 1899, with the first class beginning in 1902 and graduating in 1904. We feel that we can more reliably count on these dates than in the past, and hope that this account supplies helpful context to the archival labor that goes into these historical understandings.