Connecticut and New Haven's First General Hospital

Knight Hospital and the Civil War

Late Nineteenth-Century Expansion and the Founding of Grace Hospital

The Connecticut Training School for Nurses and the Dispensary

The Founding of the Hospital of Saint Raphael

For-Profit Private Hospitals in New Haven

New Haven Hospital, 1900-1920

New Haven, Grace, and Saint Raphael, 1920s and 1930s

Grace-New Haven Community Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael, 1940s and 1950s

Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Hospital of Saint Raphael, 1960s to the Present

Cushing/Whitney Medical Library

Historical Library

Yale-New Haven Hospital

St. Raphael Healthcare System

New Haven, Grace, and Saint Raphael's, 1920s and 1930s

New Haven Hospital from the Northeast, 1926

The Hospital buildings as seen in 1926, the 100th year of the founding of the General Hospital Society of Connecticut, from the corner of Davenport Ave. and Cedar St., L-R: Anthony N. Brady Memorial Laboratory, Boardman Building, Private Pavilion, Gifford Chapel, and the Isolation Pavilion.

With University funding, the Brady Laboratory was built in 1917, to house the Department of Pathology. The Private Pavilion, built with funds derived in part from a bond issue and partly from a public subscription, opened in 1923 for the care of private patients. The Boardman Building was constructed in 1918 for administrative offices, from a gift of Mrs. Lucy Hall Boardman, received in 1909. The Gifford Chapel was constructed in 1892, as part of the bequest of Ellen M. Gifford. In 1914, the Isolation Pavilion was constructed, with assistance from the city, for the care of patients with communicable diseases.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


New Haven Hospital from Congress Ave., after 1921 and before 1928

Left Margin: Maternity Building, later known as the South Building (1899-1959). Left Background: West Ward, 1873, now site of Sarah Wey Tompkins Memorial Pavilion; Center Foreground: Farnam Operating Amphitheater (1888-1928) Note: ambulance is at the entrance to the Emergency Room. Right Background: East Ward, 1873 (largely obscured by grilled Porch), now Tompkins East; Brady Laboratory (1917).

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Nursing Education and Professionalism at New Haven Hospital

"There is little doubt in the minds of those who have studied the matter that in the past hospitals have exploited their pupil nurses. These nurses have had altogether too long hours. They have had altogether too much practical work. As a result they have been required to listen to lectures and carry on their studies under conditions of such mental and physical fatigue that the best results could not be expected."

Report of the Directors, 1917.

With the creation of the Yale School of Nursing in 1923, the Connecticut Training School for Nurses, established in 1873, was phased out, with the two schools holding a joint graduation ceremony in 1926. The Yale program was "based on the concept of education in a university atmosphere, rather than one of technical training incidental to long hours of staff duty for the pupil nurse serving on the hospital wards."

Quotation from Courtney C. Bishop, The Development of the Medical Center.
Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


New Haven Hospitalís Centennial Celebration, 1926

By 1926, the Yale-New Haven Medical Center of today was beginning to take shape with the creation in 1923 of the Yale School of Nursing and the construction of the Sterling Hall of Medicine completed in 1924. The celebrations of 1926 commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Hospitalís founding and provided a glimpse of its growth and closer relationship with the School of Medicine. The two institutions were linked by the Affiliation Agreement of 1913 and the subsequent modernization of the Hospitalís physical plant which occurred from approximately 1915 to 1930. Full-time medical staff became responsible for medical care of patients in the public wards. The Agreement of 1913 was amended in 1918 to permit the use of this patient group for teaching purposes, leading to the establishment of a residency program. Dr. William Carmalt described the Hospital in 1926:

"There are now four professors of the Yale School of Medicine serving full time with fixed salaries as chiefs of the departments of medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology. Each has a staff of from four to six assistants, all under salaries, engaged in instruction, investigation, or research with residents and internes...Besides these are the various specialties of ophthalmology, laryngology, dermatology, orthopedics, dentistry, neurology, and genito-urinary diseases with a new department of psychiatry in the offing. The department of pathology and bacteriology, housed in the Anthony N. Brady Clinico-Pathological Laboratory, includes on its staff besides the pathologist-in-chief, who is a full-time professor in the Yale School of Medicine, a personnel of approximately eight engaged under his supervision in instruction, investigating and researchÖ In 1877, 525 patients were cared for in the hospital with 47 deaths, a mortality of one in eleven, a death rate of 9 per cent. In 1925, 5,990 patients came under care with 368 deaths, a mortality of one in about sixteen, a death rate of approximately 6 per cent."

Quotation from General Hospital Society of Connecticut, 1826-1926, Centenary.
Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


The Clinic Building (1932)

In 1929, the North Building and the Gifford Ward and Chapel were demolished to allow for the construction of the Clinic Building, the Laboratory of Medicine and Pediatrics, and the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Pavilion for Children (left).


Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Camp Happy Land

Beginning in 1911, New Haven Hospital operated a summer day camp for children infected with tuberculosis or at risk for developing the disease.

"The most cheerful activity of the Hospital is the day camp for tubercular children operated on the grounds of the William Wirt Winchester Memorial Hospital, known as Camp Happy Land. During the period from July 1, 1935 to September 14, 1935, 105 children were at the camp, and the success of their stay is perhaps emphasized by an average gain of weight of 4 3/4 pounds."

Report of the Directors, 1934-35

The photograph shows children at Camp Happy Land in the 1930s.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Community Health: The New Haven Dispensary

The New Haven Dispensary, established in 1872, had occupied the Hope Building on Cedar Street since 1900. In 1932, the Clinic Building became the new home for the Dispensary. With the opening of the Clinic Building, the Hospital had for the first time in its history, "an outpatient service housed within its own physical structure." As of 1945, the Dispensary had 35 clinics located in the Hospital for the diagnosis and treatment of sick and needy patients not requiring bed care. Although physically connected, the Hospital and the Dispensary remained separate corporate entities until their merger in 1951. According to Dr. Courtney Bishop, the leadership of both institutions recommended their merger, emphasizing the point that the Dispensary was in fact an integral part of the Hospitalís work. In the New Haven Dispensary, the Hospital had the origins of its outpatient department, according to Dr. Bishopís manuscript:

"After 79 years as an independent corporation in the service of the community the New Haven Dispensary ceased to exist in name but its services were to continue uninterruptedly with professional staffing, administration and physical housing which the Hospital had progressively provided over the past 50 years. The activity was finally, in every sense, the Outpatient Department."

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Sterling Hall of Medicine

In 1924 the Yale School of Medicine moved from York Street to Cedar Street. A primary reason for the move was that the Medical School would now be close to New Haven Hospital. This post-card shows Sterling Hall of Medicine after the Institute of Human Relations wing was built in 1931 and the building acquired its present exterior facade.

Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library


Grace Hospital, 1920s

As late as 1919, two-thirds of the members of the board of physicians and surgeons of Grace Hospital, which had charge of the treatment of all patients, were required to be homeopaths. However, hospitals were coming to rely increasingly on middle-class and wealthy patients who would pay for private or semi-private rooms and for hospital treatment by their chosen physicians. Financed by bonds, the Grace Hospital Society built a private pavilion facing Orchard Street, opened in 1922, with 109 beds. (The building eventually became the St. Joseph Pavilion of the Hospital of Saint Raphael.) In the wards, there were still some "free" beds. In 1927, Grace Hospital admitted 5,266 patients, treated 1,253 emergency cases where the patient did not remain in the hospital, and handled 651 births, for a total of 7,315 patients treated. With the aid of state, municipal, and other donations, Grace Hospital was able to meet its yearly operating costs in the 1920s, but it was unable to discharge its bond debt.

Grace Hospital, 39th Annual Report, 1927. New Haven: Prudential Committee of the Grace Hospital Society, 1928. Historical Library, Cushing/Whitney Medical Library


Health Insurance Brochure, undated, prior to 1945

This brochure describes a hospital insurance program for New Haven in which all three of New Haven's hospitals, St. Raphael, New Haven, and Grace, participated. In this plan, employers would insure their workers and their families for $1.50 a month per family. This entitled the insured to up to 21 days a year of hospital services in the hospital of their choice.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Hospital of Saint Raphael

Hospital of Saint Raphael in 1920

This photograph shows the Saint Rita wing to the left and the original hospital building to the right.

Dr. William F. Verdi was no sooner returned from the war than plans for a four-story addition were announced. Physicians came home from the war with greatly expanded skills a knowledge of new techniques and drugs and were eager to benefit their patients. Before the new wing was added, government patients, a number from the city's naval base, and charity patients during the flu epidemic of 1918 created a congested atmosphere. Expanded and updated facilities were called for, including modern laboratories and X-ray equipment.

According to the hospital's 1922 annual report, the new Saint Rita's wing had "a southeastern exposure ideal for sun and rest. Spacious comfortable furnishings, a wealth of tropical plants, verdant ferneries and choice blossoms of local growth give the building an inviting atmosphere."

NHP. Annual Report, 1922., RG 201, Box 117.
Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


Foreign Born Increase New Haven Population

Contributing to the need for another hospital in a city that already had many, was the increase in Italian and Eastern European immigrants. Many did not speak English and when hospitalized, wanted to have their own physicians treat them.

" ... in a private hospital, the authorities have more consideration for you. At the New Haven Hospital, you are a number. It is this impersonal way of doing things that irks Italians. [Interview with Vincent Tranquilli , RG420-H -9, c.1920]

Many of the new arrivals lived side by side on Oak Street, a neighborhood in Saint Raphael's back yard.

This 1922 Annual Report lists patients by nationality. The report noted that 32 nationalities were under treatment during the year representing religious affiliations of Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, Greek Orthodox and others.

NHP. Annual Report, 1922., RG 201, Box 117.
Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


Saint Vincent Pavilion: "The Little Hospital House"

Saint Vincent's Pavilion, an isolation pavilion for children with infectious diseases, became the center of the hospital's pediatric department in 1927 and for ten years thereafter. The "little house" was located behind the nurses' dormitory on George Street. Before 1927, it housed student nurses.


Publications. Gazette, 1962, April. RG 700, Box 170.
Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


Nursing Class of 1926 before the Nursing School Dormitory Building

In 1923, Sister Immaculata, the Hospital director, prayed for a resolution to the overcrowding of student nurses. In 1924, her prayers were answered when Truman Lewis of Waterbury gave the funds to build a dormitory in honor of his wife, Selina Lewis. The Selena Marie Memorial Nurses Home, a historical New Haven property, is still a part of the hospital campus on George Street.

Minutes of the Hospital Board, RG 302, Box H2. Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


Prayer and Healing

The 1947 Medical Staff by-laws concluded with the following:

"May God bless, guide and direct all who serve in the glorious work of our hospitals. May the Divine Physician ever be your inspiration and your consolation!"

- and from the Bible -

"Honor the physician...For all healing is from god...The skill of the physician shall lift up his head...The Most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them." Ecclesiaticus xxxviii, 1-4.

Saint Raphael established a Training School for Nurses in 1908. One of the items a nurse might own was this "Sick-Call Set."

Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


Sister Maria Lucia Gerty in the Pharmacy, c.1940

Sister Lucia (at St. Raphael from 1936 to 1996) graduated from the Connecticut College of Pharmacy in New Haven in 1940. She is one of many sisters who devoted their lives to the Hospital.



Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


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