Boston Lying-in Hospital. Records, 1855–1983 (Bulk 1921–1966): Finding Aid. Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Harvard Medical Library and Boston Medical Library
August 8, 2008
© 2007 The President and Fellows of Harvard
Repository: Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Call No.: BWH c7
Creator: Boston Lying-in Hospital
Title: Records, 1855–1983 (Bulk 1921–1966).
Quantity: 5 cubic feet (1 standard record carton, 3 flat document boxes, and 1 roll of drawings.)
Abstract: The records of Boston Lying-in Hospital are the product of the hospital staff’s administrative,
fundraising, publication, and public relations activities from 1855 through 1981.
Boston Lying-in Hospital records were transferred from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Medical Library to the Harvard Medical Library in 2005. Additional material was added as follows:
Accession number 2007-036 was transferred from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Medical Library to the Harvard
Medical Library in October, 2006.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) owns the records described in this finding aid.
The Harvard Medical Library entered into a contract in 2005 to act as the repository
for some of BWH’s archival records. Before the transfer to the Harvard Medical Library,
the records were in storage at various locations within the BWH and later collected
and assembled for transfer by Anne Fladger, Director of the BWH Medical Library.
Staff archivists in the Harvard Medical Library, Center for the History of Medicine,
(CHM) processed the archival records of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital under a service
agreement with the BWH in 2005. The records, transferred in bulk from the BWH, were
made up of records from all the individual hospitals that eventually merged to become
the Affiliated Hospitals Center (AHC), which in turn became Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Processing staff made the decision to organize the records by their provenance, and
processed and described each individual hospital’s records separately. Consequently,
the original transfer yielded seven groups of records, one of which is the Boston
Lying-in Hospital records.
The records for each hospital were organized into series and described based on practices
used at the Harvard Medical School Archives. Processing for this collection also involved
primary preservation (refoldering and recontainering) and the creation of this detailed
finding aid. Duplicate records and records that did not meet the archival collection
goals of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Medical Library were discarded.
This finding aid was updated by staff at the Center for the History of Medicine in
Access requires advance notice. Consult the Director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Medical Library for further information.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection should be directed
to the Director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Medical Library. (Email: BWHMedicalLibrary@partners.org.)
However, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital does not hold copyright on all the materials
in this collection. Researchers who obtain permission to publish from the Director
are responsible for identifying and contacting the persons or organizations that hold
Boston Lying-in Hospital records, 1855–1983 (bulk 1921–1966). BWH c7. Harvard Medical
Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Records, 1900– (Bulk 1980–2000). [BWH c1]
- Affiliated Hospitals Center (Boston, Mass.) Records, 1966–1984.
- Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
Records, 1907–1992. [BWH c3]
- Robert B. Brigham Hospital. Records, 1889–1984 (Bulk 1915–1980). [BWH c4]
- Boston Hospital for Women. Records, 1926–1983 (Bulk 1966–1979). Records. [BWH c5]
- Free Hospital for Women. Records, 1875–1975. [BWH c6]
- Free Hospital for Women. Records, 1879–1969. [MC 915]
- Boston Lying-in Hospital. Matron’s journal, 1873–1889. [H MS b70.1]
- Boston Lying-in Hospital. Officers under the by-laws of and rules of the executive committee, 1916–1922. [B MS b197.1]
- Series I. Program Establishment, Development, and Review Records, 1947–1963.
- Series II. Committee Records, 1963, 1965.
- Series III. General Accounting Records, 1946–1964.
- Series IV. Building and Facilities Construction Records, 1921–1929.
- Series V. Public Relations Records, 1855–1981.
- Series VI. Publications, 1944–1966.
- Series VII. Special Events Records, 1961–1963.
- Series VIII. Memorabilia, 1946–1978.
Boston Lying-in Hospital (BLI) was the earliest incarnation of what is known today
as the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In 1832, the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society
and the Massachusetts Humane Society each contributed $5000 towards the establishment
of a hospital “for the care and relief of poor and deserving women.” Dr. Walter Channing
and Dr. Enoch Hale are credited as the founders and first attending physicians of
the Boston Lying-in Hospital.
Boston Lying-in Hospital provided maternity care for indigent women at 718 Washington
Street in Boston, Massachusetts and was the first institution of its kind in New England.
By 1853, BLI had outgrown its building and moved to Springfield and Worcester Streets.
At this time the hospital was charging patients for board, but was not generating
enough income to meet expenses. Consequently, the hospital was closed in 1856 and
the property sold in 1857. By careful investment of the remaining funds after payment
of debts, trustees were able to reopen the hospital in 1873 at 24 McLean Street. In
1923, BLI relocated once more to 221 Longwood Avenue across the street from the Harvard
Medical School quadrangle. In 1932, Richardson House was added to provide more private
rooms for new mothers.
The Boston Lying-in Hospital’s obstetrics training program and the Free Hospital for
Women’s gynecology training program, informally associated since 1922, were formally
united in 1951. In 1966, the Boston Lying-in Hospital merged with the Free Hospital
for Women in cooperation with Harvard Medical School, to form the Boston Hospital
for Women (BHW). In 1975, BHW merged with the Peter Bent Brigham and the Robert B.
Brigham Hospitals forming the Affiliated Hospitals Center. In 1980, at the time of
the opening of a new state-of-the-art facility, the Affiliated Hospitals Center became
known as the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical
Many advances in the practice of obstetrics in the United States were pioneered by
staff at the Boston Lying-in Hospital, including the use of anesthesia for labor pain,
using rubber gloves and washing hands to prevent infection, outpatient services, heated
bassinets for premature infants, and a nurse training school. The hospital also established
pre-natal care clinics, standards for cesarean section procedures, cardiac care for
pregnant women, and preventative medicine for newborns. The first RH factor in blood
was also identified at BLI. These advances produced a steady, and often dramatic,
drop in both maternal and fetal mortality rates over the course of its 134 years of
- Irving, Frederick Carpenter, 1883–1957. Highlights in the history of the Boston Lying-In Hospital. Read at the dinner on the
one hundred and eighth anniversary of the founding of the Hospital— Walter Channing
Day, 24 October, 1940. Boston. N.p. 1940.
- Irving, Frederick Carpenter, 1883–1957. Safe Deliverance. Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1942.
- Kass, Amalie M., 1928–. Midwifery and medicine in Boston: Walter Channing, M.D., 1786–1876. Boston: Northeastern University Press, c2002.
- Channing, Walter, 1786–1876. Memoir of the late Enoch Hale, M.D., M.M.S.S., A.A.S. By Walter Channing, M.D. Boston, D. Clapp, printer, 1848.
- Boston Lying-in Hospital. Its past, present, and future. Boston: Boston Lying-in Hospital, n.d. [1890?].
- Jewett, John Figgis.“Sesquicentennium of the Boston Lying-in Hospital—150 trailblazing years.” in Contemporary OB/GYN. New Jersey: Medical Economics Company, Inc. May, 1983.
The Boston Lying-in Hospital records include, primarily, those records that were created
during the time period that BLI was a separate record keeping entity—before its merger
with the Free Hospital for Women in 1966. Most of the records in this collection are
20th century in origin. Very few 19th century records are included except for some
modern copy prints of early photographs. Some photographs in the collection are dated
after 1966. The records capture the administrative and social history of the hospital
through annual reports, photographs, clippings, special event planning records, and
publications. Also included are some building specifications and blueprints for the
hospital’s facility at Longwood Avenue. Except for a few photographs, the records
do not include patient, student, or research records.
- Series: I. Program Establishment, Development, and Review Records, 1947–1963. (4 folders.)
Scope and Content: Contains annual reports which review major hospital or department organization, activities,
functions, programs, policies, vital statistics, and achievements.
Arrangement: Arranged as found in the collection.
- Box 1: Folders 1–4.
- 1. Boston Lying-in Hospital Annual Reports, 1947, 1950, 1951, 1955.
- 3. Boston Lying-in Hospital Annual Reports, 1962–1963, 1965.
- 4. Boston Lying-in Hospital Report of the Medical Social Service Department, 1945.
- Series: III. General Accounting Records, 1946–1964. (1 folder.)
Scope and Content: Includes one small volume containing receipts and notations about miscellaneous minor
expenses, such as snacks, flowers, gifts, and petty cash loans.
- Box 1: Folder 6.
- 6. Boston Lying-in Hospital Ledger for Discretionary Fund, 1946–1964.
- Series: IV. Building and Facilities Construction Records, 1921–1929. (12 items.)
Scope and Content: Contains a duplicate set (owner’s copies) of specifications sent out to bidders for
the “work to be performed and the materials to be used in the construction of … the
Boston Lying-in Hospital located on the easterly corner of Longwood Avenue and Avenue
Louis Pasteur, Boston, Massachusetts from the drawings and under the superintendence
of Coolidge and Shattuck, Architects, 122 Manes Building, Boston, Mass.” and a roll
of construction drawings for same from 1927.
Arrangement: Series IV is arranged in two subseries: A. Construction Specifications, and B. Construction
- A. Construction Specifications, 1921–1929. (5 items.)
Scope and Content: Contains five cloth covered, post-bound, carbon copy, multi-page documents with instructions
to bidders and finely detailed descriptions of the work required for construction,
including dimensions and materials.
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by specification title.
- Box 2: Items 1–5.
- 2. Specification for Building and Grounds for Boston Lying-in Hospital by Coolidge and Shattuck,Boston, Massachusetts, 1921.
- 3. Specification for Building and Grounds for Boston Lying-in Hospital by Coolidge and Shattuck, Boston, Massachusetts, 1921.
- 4. Specification for Nurses’ Home for Boston Lying-in Hospital by Coolidge and Shattuck, Boston, Massachusetts, 1921.
- 5. Specification for Plumbing for Boston
Lying-in Hospital by Coolidge and Shattuck, Boston, Massachusetts, 1921.
- B. Construction Project Drawings, 1927. (7 items.)
Scope and Content: Seven, extremely fragile (hand-drawn and lettered on architects vellum) construction
Arrangement: All seven drawings are rolled together in archival paper and stored in the same drawing
case with the rolled drawings found in BWH c3, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital Records,
- Plans/Drawings Cylinder Case, Roll #7: Items 1–7.
- 1. Basement Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- 2. Fifth Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- 3. Sixth Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott,1927.
- 4. First Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- 5. Second Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- 6. Third Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- 7. Fourth Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- Series: V. Public Relations Records, 1855–1981. (23 folders, 9 items.)
Scope and Content: Includes records produced from Boston Lying-in Hospital’s efforts to promote an effective
and cooperative working relationship with the outside community. Contains photographs
made for publications and exhibits, releases, and press clippings. See Box 1: Folder
30, under Series VII: Publications, for additional information related to the photographs.
Arrangement: Series V is arranged into two subseries: A. Photographs and Negatives, and B. Clippings.
- A. Photographs and Negatives, 1855–1980. (23 folders, 6 items.)
Scope and Content: Photographs include portraits of staff doctors, scenes of doctors and nurses working,
interior and exterior shots of BLI buildings, and preservation photographs of articles
and clippings related to BLI.
Arrangement: Arranged as found in the collection.
- Box 1: Folders 7–29.
- 7. Nurses and patients, c.1920–1964.
- 8. Nurses and patients, c.1900s–c.1970s, undatedcopy prints and copy negatives.
- 10. [Nurse caring for a premature infant (series of 7 images)], c.1940s; [Surgery scene], not datable; and [Nursery], c.1960s, undatedcopy negatives.
- 11. Activities of the Board of Lady Visitors, 1917–c.1950s, undated copy negatives.
- 12. Interior spaces, c.1920s–c.1930s, undated copy negatives and one copy print.[Delivery room?] c.1960s, original negatives.
- 13. Boston Lying-in Hospital buildings—exteriors, 1855–c.1960s, undated copy prints and copy negatives.
- 15. Staff pictures, 1873–c.1940s, undatedcopy prints,copy negatives, and photocopy.
- 16. Historical portraits—men, c.1880–1906, undatedcopy prints and copy negatives.
- 18. Historical documents and newspaper articles, 1886–1966, undatedphotographs and negatives of printed material.
- 20. Photograph subject releases, 1962–1967.
- 21. Fredrick Carpenter Irving, M.D., Obstetrician in Chief, 1931–1946, c.1946, undatedcopy print.
- 22. Duncan Earl Reid, M.D., Chief of Staff, 1947–1966, 1971.
- 23. Charles Montville Green, M.D., Visiting Physician, 1907–1915, c.1915, undated copy print.
- 24. William Lambert Richardson, M.D., Visiting Physician, 1875–1906, c.1906, undated copy print.
- 25. Franklin Spilman Newell, M.D., Visiting Obstetrician, 1916–1931, c.1931, undated copy print.
- 27. Hospital history, 1876, 1918, 1927, 1932, 1983, undated photocopies.
Three photocopies (and one original) of articles, books, and pamphlets on the subject
of the Boston Lying-in Hospital history. Also includes one photocopy of a pamphlet
about the Free Hospital for Women in 1927.
- 28. William Lambert Richardson, M.D., Visiting Physician, 1875–1906, c.1906, undated copy print.
- 29. Miscellaneous medical staff and patients, c.1900s–1970s, undated copy prints and copy negatives; Staff, patients, equipment, building plans, c.1980, original negatives, Kodak Safety Film 5063.
- Box 3: Items 1–6.
- 1. [Nurses washing newborns.] c.1890s–1900s, undated copy print.
- 2. [Woman holding child, another woman and a man observe while standing on steps of Boston
Lying-in Hospital.] c.1948, undated copy print.
- 3. Middle room of Premature Nursery 1939, undated copy print.
- 4. [Interior view of Swift library.] c.1930s, undated copy print.
- 6. Alfred Worcester, M.D., House Officer, 1883, c.1883.
- Series: VI. Publications, 1944–1966. (3 folders.)
Scope and Content: Includes stock publications of announcements, invitations, and brochures related to
nursing recruitment and employee information, and one issue of Nurses Notes,May, 1966. Patient publications include pamphlets, brochures, and single sheets describing hospital
feeding, circumcision, menus, diet plans, special studies, and instructions and resources
for new mothers. Fundraising publications include miscellaneous flyers and booklets.
Arrangement: Arranged as found in
- Box 1: Folders 30–31, 38.
- 30. Stock publications, 1960–1966.
This folder also contains a printed list, possibly intended to
accompany an exhibition, of descriptions of photographs. The described photographs
are some of those contained in Box 1, Folders 7–27, although they
are no longer in the order listed.
- 31. Publications for patients, 1944–1965.
- 38. Publications for fundraising campaigns, 1954–1965.
- Series: VII. Special Event Records, 1961–1963. (6 folders.)
Scope and Content: Contains records generated from activities pertaining to the administration and execution
of special events. Contents include planning and arrangement notes, budgets and invoices,
event programs and descriptions, show scripts, photographs, schedules, event flyers,
invitations, and related correspondence for the annual Boston Lying-in Hospital party
called “Stork Club Night” for 1961, 1962, and 1963.
Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by folder title.
- Box 1: Folders 32–37.
- 32. Stork Club Night I, 1961.
- 33. Stork Club Night I (continued), 1961.
- 34. Stork Club Night II, 1962.
- 35. Stork Club Night II (continued), 1962.
- 36. Stork Club Night II, 1962. 3 photographs.
- 37. Stork Club Night III, 1963.
- Series: VIII. Memorabilia, 1946–1978. (1 folder, 1 item.)
Scope and Content: One scrapbook containing hospital and nursing related photographs, clippings, and
memorabilia, and one commemorative plate.
- Box 4.
- 1. Commemorative plate, c.1960. Porcelain, 9" diameter, gold rim, with drawing of the Boston Lying-in Hospital painted
on it in blue. The drawing is a reproduction of a photograph found in the 1959, 1962,
1963 Annual Reports. Text: “The Sabina Line” is painted on the back. Fragile.