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MC 252

New England Hospital for Women and Children. Records, 1914-1954 (inclusive), 1950-1954 (bulk): A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

The collection was processed with funds provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 252
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: New England Hospital for Women and Children
Title: Records of the New England Hospital for Women and Children, 1914-1954 (inclusive), 1950-1954 (bulk)
Date(s): 1914-1954
Date(s): 1950-1954
Quantity: .42 linear feet (1 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Minutes, correspondence, notes, etc., of the New England Hospital for Women and Children, founded by women in 1862 and until the 1950s staffed exclusively by women.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 73-177
The papers of the New England Hospital were deposited in the Schlesinger Library by Dr. Bertha Offenbach in December 1973.

Processing Information:

Processed: September 1977
By: Katherine Kraft

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the New England Hospital for Women and Children as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

New England Hospital for Women and Children Records, 1914-1954; item description, dates. MC 252, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to files in the Schlesinger Library:


The New England Hospital, formerly the New England Hospital for Women and Children, was founded in Boston in 1862 by Dr. Marie Zakrzewska. The Hospital's objectives were: "1) to provide for women medical aid of competent physicians of their own sex; 2) to assist educated women in the practical study of medicine; and 3) to train nurses for the care of the sick." New England Hospital was the first hospital staffed entirely by women physicians, and began the first nursing school in the United States, graduating the first American trained nurse (Linda Richards, in 1872) as well as the first black nurse (Mary Eliza Mahoney, in 1879). The name of the Hospital was officially changed in 1951 to reflect the fact that men were also being admitted as patients.
By early 1950 the Hospital was beset with financial difficulties, leading to a report by the Board of Directors urging the abandonment of a hospital operated by women and the inclusion of men on the active staff. This recommendation caused a split between the Board and the staff, who felt morally and legally bound by the chartered objectives of the Hospital, and by Article 10(a) of the By-laws: "The medical officers of the Hospital shall consist of one or more resident physicians...all of whom must be women." For a brief period the Board prevailed, and men were appointed to the staff, but this policy was reversed in 1952. Lack of funds also led to the closing of the School of Nursing in 1951. The discontinuance of funding from United Community Services was a further blow to the Hospital. Disagreements over staffing and funding continued throughout the early 1950s. Although financial difficulties continued on and off for several years, New England Hospital survived. By 1962 the By-laws had been rewritten and men were once more serving on the active staff. In November 1969 the name was changed again, this time to the Dimock Community Health Center.


This collection contains correspondence, notes, memoranda, drafts of statements, and reports about the Board/staff disagreements over staffing and funding, 1950-1954; lists of Corporation, Board, and staff members; a few financial reports and Executive Committee minutes; 5 annotated annual reports; notes on the Blanche Ames Ames Fund, 1952; booklets, leaflets, and newsclippings re New England Hospital for Women and Children; and newsclippings and articles re the School of Nursing, women in medicine, and medical education.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Medical education
Women in medicine
Women physicians
Ames, Blanche
Bartlett, Esther
Fineberg, Bertha Offenbach, 1908-
Taussig, Helen B. (Helen Brooke), 1898-1986
United Community Services of Metropolitan Boston