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

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

Volunteers, a Vital Part of New Haven Hospital

The tradition of volunteering at Yale-New Haven Hospital dates back to the opening of the Hospital in 1833 when the Board of Lady Visitors was formed as the Hospitalís first volunteers. One hundred years later in 1933, the Volunteer Department began as one of the first organized programs in the country. In 1942, the Hospital hired its first full-time paid director of volunteers, Bettina Jones who, in her twenty year tenure, was responsible for numerous innovative programs including the Menís Volunteers Corps and the Junior Volunteer Program for high school students. Today, Volunteer Services has approximately 1200 volunteers who can choose from nearly 100 positions, ranging from direct patient contact to behind the scene work.

The critical role played by volunteers at the Hospital throughout its history was no more evident than it was during World War II. The Menís Volunteer Corps, the first organization of its kind in the country, helped to supplement the Hospitalís manpower shortage. At the height of the war, there were as many as 2,000 men and women volunteers.

The photograph shows a member of the Men's Volunteer Corps, ca. 1942.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Yale School of Nursing and New Haven Hospital

By the 1940s, the Yale School of Nursing had become a masters' degree program for students who already held bachelors degrees. The school remained affiliated with the Hospital and students continued to serve at the Hospital as part of their education. This photograph, appearing in the Annual Report of the General Hospital Society of Connecticut, 1944-1945, has as its caption: "A class of student nurses, every girl a college graduate, listens intently to instructions which may, someday soon, help save a life."

Annual Report of General Hospital Society of Connecticut, 1944-1945, Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Grace-New Haven Community Hospital, 1945

Grace Community Hospital merged with New Haven Hospital on July 16, 1945 to form the Grace-New Haven Community Hospital. The two hospitals had actually approached the idea of merging almost twenty years earlier, but abandoned discussions due to opposition from Graceís medical staff. Grace Hospital struggled financially in the 1920s but a public fundraising campaign successfully kept it in existence until the early 1940s, when the Hospital was faced with antiquated facilities and mounting debt. Once more, the two hospitals entered into negotiations and the Grace Hospital medical staff looked upon the idea more favorably, as Dr. Courtney Bishop describes:

"Finally, an appreciable shift in the medical staff attitude, which no longer adamantly refused merger led in 1945 to the corporate amalgamation of the two institutions. Inherent in this agreement were 1) preservation of the membership and privileges of the medical staff of the old Grace Hospital, 2) absorption and continuation of the Grace School of Nursing and 3) a change of the public names of the institutions to Grace-New Haven Community Hospital."

With the merger, the new Hospital faced several significant changes, including two medical staffs with former loyalties, geographic separation, and duplication of patient care services. Progress toward integration came slowly, but on April 1, 1960, a single medical staff was created with two divisions, one with the responsibility for teaching and other responsible for community patient care. Each department was headed by a chief and a single medical board consisted of the chiefs of service, who made all hospital staff appointments.

Quotation from Courtney C. Bishop, "The Development of the Medical Center," Bishop Collection, Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives. Annual reports: Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Grace-New Haven School of Nursing, 1945-1975

As a result of the merger of Grace Community Hospital and New Haven Hospital, the Grace School of Nursing, established in 1895, became the Grace-New Haven School of Nursing and came under the administration of the Hospitalís Director of Nursing. From 1953 to 1976, the School occupied the Grace Education Building, which provided dormitory and classroom space. In 1972, the Board of Directors of Yale-New Haven Hospital announced that its Grace-New Haven School of Nursing would close in 1975, as a result of the growing preference among nursing students for a baccalaureate program rather than a diploma program.


Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Memorial Unit, Grace-New Haven Community Hospital, 1953

The year 1953 marked the opening of the new 8-story 442 bed Memorial Unit. It was a bold project, made possible by support from the New Haven community, and the building became the physical symbol of the new Grace-New Haven Community Hospital and the evolving medical center. Grace-New Haven Community Hospital and Yale University signed a Joint Declaration of Policy concerning mutual support of professional education and patient care programs and the required facilities. This agreement indelibly linked the two institutions and set the stage for the further development of an academic medical center.

The Memorial Unit was characterized by smaller rooms containing only 3-4 beds and represented a change from the large wards of the past. In 1958, the Hunter Radiation Therapy Center was completed, having been jointly constructed by the Hospital and University. In 1960, the worldís first labor and delivery suite, with electronic equipment to monitor unborn heartbeat was constructed in the Memorial Unit. Further expansion was completed in 1972 with the construction of the 9th and 10th floors. Today, the heart of Yale-New Haven Hospital is a cluster of three pavilions bounded by South Frontage Road, Park Street, Howard Avenue and York Streets. Of these three, the East Pavilion (Memorial Unit) opened in 1953, followed in 1982 by the South Pavilion. In 1993, the Yale-New Haven Childrenís Hospital (West Pavilion) and the atrium became the most recent additions.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Hospital of Saint Raphael

Main Building of St. Raphael's and Private Buildings, 1942

In 1940 Saint Raphael's planned to build a six story L-shaped addition on Chapel St. and Sherman Ave. War-time economy forced an abbreviation of the planned expansion although some federal money was made available under the War Public Works program in December 1942. According to American Medical Association surveys, Saint Raphael's had been operating at 93% of capacity whereas the AMA recommended a 75% capacity. The modified building was opened in October 1942. Following the war, an additional floor was built to house state-of-the-art operating rooms and beds specifically for Orthopedic patients.

NHP, July 1940. Medical Staff Minutes, 1942-1947. RG 401, Boxes 2 & 4.
Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


St. Raphael's School of Nursing

The class of 1939 illustrated here included Sister Louise Anthony Geronemo, who first trained as a nurse but later continued her education and became the hospital administrator from 1956 - 1979. The School of Nursing closed its doors in 1977; however, the building still stands and houses, among other offices, "the archives."



RG 800 School of Nursing . Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


The Cadet Corps Training Program at Hospital of Saint Raphael

World War II created an extraordinary demand for well-trained nurses. One way Saint Raphael's contributed to the war effort was by training 198 women for the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps during the war years. Cadet Nurses could get into the Yale football games free if they wore their uniforms. Here Christine (Aldieri) Keyes, Florence (Chomicz) Gordon, Mildred (Sepko) Anderson, and Marge (Poppendick) Thompson wait for the kick off.

Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


Saint Raphael's Gray Ladies

A shortage of trained medical personnel during the war led hospitals to find ways of meeting these shortages. The Ladies auxiliary of the hospital organized the "Gray Ladies." Afternoon and evening classes were held to train these women as nurses' aides.



Sister Anne Virginie Archives Center, Saint Raphael Healthcare system


[Previous | Next]