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.
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