Boston Lying-in Hospital. Records, 1855–1986 (inclusive), 1921–1966 (bulk) : Finding
Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Harvard Medical Library and Boston Medical Library
2016 August 17
© 2007 The President and Fellows of Harvard College
Repository: Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Center for the History of Medicine.
Call No.: BWH c7
Creator: Boston Lying-in Hospital
Title: Boston Lying-in Hospital Records, 1855-1986 (inclusive), 1921–1966 (bulk).
Quantity: 6 cubic feet (2 record center cartons, 2 oversize boxes, and 1 roll of drawings.)
Language of materials: Records are in English.
Abstract: The records of Boston Lying-in Hospital are the product of the hospital staff’s administrative,
fundraising, publication, and public relations activities, the bulk of which are dated
from 1921 through 1966.
Boston Lying-in Hospital records were placed on deposit with the Harvard Medical Library
in 2001 by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Some of the collection was 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 2006 October.
Accession number 2015-086 was added by donation, in 2015.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) owns the records described in this finding aid.
The Harvard Medical Library entered into a contract in 2001 to act as the repository
for some of BWH’s archival records. Before the transfer to the Harvard Medical Library,
many of the records were in storage at various locations within the BWH. In 2005,
additions to the collection were assembled and transferred from a BWH storage facility
at 850 Boylston Street, Boston, MA by Anne Fladger, Director of the BWH Medical Library.
Gabriela Burgman created a preliminary box and folder list in 2005. Unprocessed parts
of this collection and new acquisitions were processed and this finding aid was written
by Catherine Pate at the Center for the History of Medicine. It was published in 2008.
A revised version was published in 2016.
Processing staff in the Center for the History of Medicine started processing the
archival records of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital under a service agreement with
the BWH in 2001. 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
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, arrangement, and the creation of this detailed finding aid to
improve access. Duplicate records and records that did not meet the archival collection
goals of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Medical Library were discarded.
Access requires advance notice. Access to unpublished administrative records is restricted
for 50 years from creation date. Patient information is restricted indefinitely. Restricted
records, except restricted patient photographs, are noted in the finding aid. Researchers
may apply for access to restricted material. Consult the Director of Brigham and Women’s
Hospital Medical Library for further information. (email: BWHMedicalLibrary@partners.org.)
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, 1855–1986 (bulk 1921–1966). BWH c7. Harvard Medical
Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Boston, Mass.
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Records, 1913– (inclusive), 1980–2000 (bulk). [BWH c1]
- Affiliated Hospitals Center (Boston, Mass.) Records, 1966–1984.[BWH c2]
- Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. Records, 1830– (inclusive), 1911–1980 (bulk). [BWH c3]
- Robert B. Brigham Hospital. Records, 1889–1984 (inclusive), 1915–1980, (bulk). [BWH c4]
- Boston Hospital for Women. Records, 1926–1983 (inclusive), 1966–1979 (bulk). [BWH c5]
- Free Hospital for Women. Records, 1875–1975. [BWH c6]
- Free Hospital for Women. Records, 1879–1969. [MC 915]
- Series I. Program Establishment, Development, and Review Records, 1873–1965.
- 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, 1855–1982.
- Series VI. Publications, 1944–1966.
- Series VII. Special Events Records, 1961–1963.
- Series VIII. Memorabilia, 1921–1986.
- Series IX, Reference Materials and Reprints, 1948.
Boston Lying-in Hospital (BLIH) 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, BLIH 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, BLIH 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 BLIH. 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.”Contemporary OB/GYN, 21 (May 1983):198–205, 212.
The Boston Lying-in Hospital records include, primarily, those records that were created during the time period
that BLIH 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 and some annual reports. 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, 1873–1965. (8 folders.)
Scope and Content: Contains annual reports which review major hospital or department organization, activities,
functions, programs, policies, vital statistics, and achievements.
- Box 1, Folder 1, Boston Lying-in Hospital By-Laws, 1873, 1878, and 1889, and Annual Reports, 1875–1890. 1 bound volume.
- Box 1, Folder 2, Boston Lying-in Hospital Annual Reports, 1886–1890. 1 bound volume.
- Box 1, Folder 7, Boston Lying-in Hospital Annual Reports, 1962–1963, 1965.
- Box 1, Folder 8, 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 10, 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, 4Specification for Nurses’ Home for Boston Lying-in Hospital by Coolidge and Shattuck, Boston, Massachusetts,1921.
- Box 2, 5Specification 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,
1830– (inclusive), 1911–1980 (bulk).
- Cylindrical case, Roll #7, 1Basement Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- Cylindrical case, Roll #7, 2Fifth Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- Cylindrical case, Roll #7, 3Sixth Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott,1927.
- Cylindrical case, Roll #7, 4First Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- Cylindrical case, Roll #7, 5Second Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- Cylindrical case, Roll #7, 6Third Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- Cylindrical case, Roll #7, 7Fourth Floor Plan, Boston Lying-in Hospital. Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, 1927.
- Series: V. Public Relations Records, 1855–1982. (37 folders, 10 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, photocopies 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 Photocopies, and B. Clippings.
- A. Photographs and Photocopies, 1855–1982. (36 folders, 4 items.)
Scope and Content: Photographs include portraits of staff doctors, scenes of doctors and nurses working,
interior and exterior shots of BLIH buildings, and photographs and photocopies of
articles and clippings related to BLIH.
Arrangement: Arranged as found in the collection.
- Box 1, Folder 11, Boston Lying-in Hospital Nurses and patients, circa 1920–1964.
- Box 1, Folder 12, Boston Lying-in Hospital Nurses and patients, circa 1900s–circa 1970s, undated copy prints and copy negatives.
- Box 1, Folder 14, [Nurse caring for a premature infant (series of 7 images)], circa 1939; [Surgery scene], undated; and [Nursery], circa 1960s, undated copy negatives.
- Box 1, Folder 15, Activities of the Board of Lady Visitors, 1917–circa 1950s, undated copy negatives.
- Box 1, Folder 16, Interior spaces, circa 1920s–circa 1930s, undated [Delivery room?]circa 1960s, copy negatives and one copy print.original negatives.
- Box 1, Folder 17, Boston Lying-in Hospital buildings—exteriors, 1855–circa 1960s, undated copy prints and copy negatives.
- Box 1, Folder 19, Staff pictures, 1873–circa 1940s, undated copy prints, copy negatives, and photocopy.
- Box 1, Folder 20, Portraits of Historical Figures Related to Women’s Health, circa 1850–1934.
Scope and Content: Portraits (copy prints) of doctors who contributed directly or indirectly to the Boston
Lying-in Hospital’s advancements in women’s health care. Names include: Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Walter Channing, J. Marion Sims, Rufus A. Kingman, Enoch Hale, Alfred Worcester,
Horatio Storer, and Otto Folin.
- Box 1, Folder 21, Moving day, 1980.
- Box 1, Folder 22, Historical documents and newspaper articles, 1886–1966, undated photographs and negatives of printed material.
- Box 1, Folder 24, Photograph subject releases, 1962–1967.
- Box 1, Folder 25, Fredrick Carpenter Irving, M.D., Obstetrician-in-Chief, 1931–1946, circa 1946, undated copy print.
- Box 1, Folder 26, Duncan Earl Reid, M.D., Chief of Staff, 1947–1966, 1971.
- Box 1, Folder 27, Charles Montville Green, M.D., Visiting Physician, 1907–1915, circa 1915, undated copy print.
- Box 1, Folder 28, William Lambert Richardson, M.D., Visiting Physician, 1875–1906, circa 1906, undated copy print.
- Box 1, Folder 29, Franklin Spilman Newell, M.D., Visiting Obstetrician, 1916–1931, circa 1931, undated copy print.
- Box 1, Folder 30, BLIH Classroom, 1948.
- Box 1, Folder 31, Photocopies of hospital histories written in 1876, 1927, 1932, 1940, 1957, and 1982, undated.
Scope and Content: Five photocopies of articles and book excerpts, and two copies of one original pamphlet,
on the subject of the Boston Lying-in Hospital history. Also includes one photocopy
of a 1927 fundraising pamphlet for the Free Hospital for Women. (See also: Box 2 folder
22 for another publication relating hospital history.)
- Box 1, Folder 32, William Lambert Richardson, M.D., Visiting Physician, 1875–1906, circa 1906, undated copy print.
- Box 1, Folder 33, Miscellaneous medical staff and patients, circa 1900s–1970s, undated Staff, patients, equipment, building plans,circa 1980, copy prints and copy negatives; original negatives.
- Box 2, Folder 6, [Nurses washing newborns.] circa 1890s–1900s, undated copy print.
- Box 2, Folder 7, [Woman holding child, another woman and a man observe while standing on steps of Boston
Lying-in Hospital.] circa 1948, undated copy print.
- Box 2, Folder 9, Alfred Worcester, M.D., House Officer, 1883, circa 1883.
- Box 2, Folder 12, Portraits, Thomas Goethals, M.D., circa 1930s–1960s. Prints, three 8" x 10"and 1 (dry-mounted) 7½" x 9¼".
- Box 2, Folder 13, Portrait, Franklin S. Newell, M.D., 1930. Print, dry-mounted, 7¾" x 9¾".
Scope and Content: Dedicated “To Dr. Abramson Oct. 18, 1932.” This image was identified as “Chub” father
of John “Jack” Newell, M.D. by Allan Rashba, M.D. in April of 2010.
- Box 2, Folder 16, Staff group photographs, circa 1950s–1960s. (1 of 3). Seven prints,8" x 10".
- Box 2, Folder 17, Staff group photographs, circa 1950s–1960s. (2 of 3). Five prints, 8" x 10".
- Box 2, Folder 18, Staff group photographs, circa 1950s–1960s. (3 of 3). Five prints, 8" x 10" and 2 prints, 5" x 7".
- Box 3 , 3Middle room of Premature Nursery 1939, undated copy print.
Scope and Content: n
- Box 3, 4[Interior view of Swift library.] circa 1930s, undated copy print.
- Box 3, 12Staff group photograph, circa 1940s.
Scope and Content: Fredrick C. Irving, Obstetrician-in-Chief until 1946, is visible, center, in a white
- 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
services, breastfeeding, circumcision, menus, diet plans, special studies, and instructions
and resources for new mothers. Fundraising publications include miscellaneous flyers
Arrangement: Arranged as found in the collection.
- Box 1, Folder 34, Stock publications, 1960–1966.
Scope and Content: 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.
- Box 1, Folder 35, Publications for patients, 1944–1965.
- Box 1, Folder 36, Publications for fundraising campaigns, 1954–1965.
- Box 2, Folder 22, Boston Lying-in Hospital, 221 Longwood Avenue Public Opening December 27, 1922: A
Short History of the Boston Lying-in Hospital, 1922.
Scope and Content: Fundraising publication about the new hospital building with history, description,
photographs, and plans. (See also: Box 1, Folder 31 for more hospital history related
- 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, Folder 37, Stork Club Night I, 1961.
- Box 1, Folder 38, Stork Club Night I (continued), 1961.
- Box 1, Folder 39, Stork Club Night II, 1962.
- Box 1, Folder 40, Stork Club Night II (continued), 1962.
- Box 1, Folder 41, Stork Club Night II, 1962. 3 photographs.
- Box 1, Folder 42, Stork Club Night III, 1963.
- Series: VIII. Memorabilia, 1921–1986. (4 folders, 4 items.)
Scope and Content: Contains a scrapbook with hospital and nursing related photographs and clippings.
Also included: hospital related poems, commemorative plate, napkins and postcards,
- Box 1, Folder 44, Reunion–Base Hospital #6, 1921, The Skin Man, and Allen Street, undated. Three satirical poems related to the hospital and copies of two letters discussing
authorship of Allen Street.
- Box 1, Folder 46, Class Pin Book, Boston Lying-in Hospital Postgraduate School in Obstetrical Nursing,
Scope and Content: Contains the names of graduates, their years of graduation, order and delivery dates,
and amount paid for graduation pins.
- Box 2, 20 Boston Lying-in Hospital Identification Medallion, 1951.
Scope and Content: A BLIH innovation, small metal disks imprinted with a family name and record number
for a newborn were attached to both the baby and the mother to prevent mix-ups at
the hospital. This example, the medallion for baby Lee H. Favorite, born July 13,
1951, was donated by the Felix Favorite family in memory of Lee’s birth parents, Lee
and Betty Favorite. A copy of a photograph and a newspaper clipping related to them
are included, as is a transcript of an oral history made by Betty Favorite, a nurse
in the Boston area in the 1950s. One part of it describes her delivery experience
at the BLIH.
- Box 3, 13Pencil Illustration: Nursing child, by Philo, 1977, July.
- Box 4, 1Commemorative plate, circa 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 Annual
Report. Text: “The Sabina Line” is painted on the back. Fragile.
- Box 4, 2Small plate, undated. Porcelain, 6" diameter, yellow trim, with drawing of the Boston Lying-in Hospital
logo in center, green. “Morris Gordon & Sons, Inc.” is stamped on the back. Fragile.
- Series: IX. Reference Materials and Reprints, 1948.(1 item.)