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 Hospital, 1900-1920

The General Hospital Society of Connecticut at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Nearly 75 years old, New Haven Hospital, as it was commonly known, embarked on a new century that would be full of incredible changes. The institution would change names and addresses as a result of a merger with Grace Hospital to become Grace-New Haven Community Hospital, and again in 1965, as result of a more formal affiliation agreement with Yale University, to become Yale-New Haven Hospital.

In 1900, the Hospital had a main entrance on Cedar Street and from 1906-1929, a stable on Howard Avenue, which provided housing for its horse-drawn and motor ambulances. Physicians still traveled by horse and buggy to visit patients at home, but New Haven Hospital was growing physically and expanding its services to meet the needs of a growing city. The Directors reported in 1903 that there were 1721 admissions, the average daily census was 146, and average length of stay was 30 days. There were 27 medical staff members and 342 operations were performed that year.

The postcards illustrate the front entrance to the hospital (North Building) and the Farnam Amphitheatre.

Statistics from Report of the Directors, 1903.
Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


New Haven Hospital Ambulance, c1900

First purchased in 1888, this type of ambulance was used until 1914, when the first motorized ambulances were purchased. New Haven Hospital Ambulance No. 2 is seen in front of the entrance to the original North Building.



Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Children’s Ward, New Haven Hospital, c1900

In center: Dr. C. A. Tuttle and Dr. R. A. Lockhart





Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Agreement between Yale and New Haven Hospital, 1913

The new century brought a strengthened relationship between the Hospital and the University and their first formal affiliation agreement in 1913. While the association between the two had existed from the very beginning, “town vs. gown” conflicts, at times, characterized their relationship. However, it became clear that a formal affiliation agreement between the Hospital and the University could not only be beneficial to both institutions, but also to the community. The agreement was based on

"the belief that a closer alliance between them will render the Hospital more useful to its patients and to the community, and will benefit said University by enabling it to give the best clinical instruction to its students, and afford the best opportunities for advanced study and scientific research."

Other important stipulations included the Hospital agreeing to permit the faculty of the School of Medicine to nominate, as vacancies occurred, suitable persons for the positions of attending physicians, surgeons, and other staff for the purpose of assuring "that the hospital shall secure for the treatment of its patients the greatest degree of medical and surgical skill that can be furnished by said Medical School." The 1913 agreement was the first of several significant 20th century agreements between the General Hospital Society of Connecticut and Yale University.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


'Yale and the New Haven Hospital'

With the continuing development of medical specialization and increasingly sophisticated services came the need for modern facilities. As a result of the closer relationship between the School of Medicine and New Haven Hospital, the University contributed large amounts of money to defray patient costs, and to expand services. Dr. Courtney Bishop described the rising costs of patient care and the increasingly complex relationship between the Hospital and the University:

"From about the turn of the century the governing body chose to meet its mounting annual deficits with but modest increases in rates and ‘in part by drawing upon unrestricted funds derived from legacies and special gifts’. Upon the onset of World War I sharply escalating costs, particularly food, labor and progressively sophisticated services accentuated the spiral even more and by 1920 the weekly cost per patient reached $41.42. With the ward rate for patient care at $14.00 there was a constantly decreasing proportionate recovery of costs from patient accounts. There was continued reluctance to increase rates to a realistic rate because of the traditional image of the hospital as a charitable institution. The dilemma was met by creation of an annual voluntary subscription program, the offering of a five percent bond issue and the generous response of the University in establishing an annual appropriation varying upwards from $50,000 in recognition of the ‘estimated increase in expense caused by the demands of a teaching hospital."

Quotation from The Hospital at New Haven, the First One Hundred Years, 1826-1926.
Pamphlets, 1931-32: Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


The William Wirt Winchester Hospital, 1918-1946

In memory of her husband who had died of tuberculosis, Sarah Winchester established the William Wirt Winchester Fund in 1909, which made possible the building of a hospital dedicated to the care of tuberculosis patients. Land was purchased on Campbell Avenue in West Haven, at what is now the campus of the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Construction began in 1916, but prior to its completion, the United States government leased the building for use as a military hospital.

Following the war, the William Wirt Winchester Hospital was dedicated in May 1918, but continued to be leased by the government until 1927. The Winchester Hospital operated as the Tuberculosis Division of New Haven Hospital from 1928 to 1940. The Hospital discontinued operation following a steady decline in the incidence of tuberculosis. After sale of the buildings and property to the government in 1948, the name was transferred to the Hospital's former Private Pavilion in order to perpetuate the memorial. Today, the fund continues to help patients with respiratory diseases at Yale-New Haven Hospital. The Veterans Administration bought the former Winchester Hospital property in 1948. Since its dedication in 1953, the Veterans Hospital has been affiliated with the Yale School of Medicine. Today, the Veterans Administration Medical Center participates in a residency program with Yale-New Haven Hospital and Bridgeport Hospital.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


United States Army General Hospital No. 16

During the construction of the William Wirt Winchester Hospital, the United States government leased the building for use as a military hospital in 1918. The story of the United States Army General Hospital No. 16 is detailed in a book by the same title published in 1919 by the Yale University Press. Under control of the War Department, the military hospital treated army soldiers with tuberculosis and other diseases.



Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


Visitors Book, Board of Lady Visitors of the New Haven Hospital, 1918

The year 1918 was one of great international importance as the Armistice marked the end of world fighting, but at home, hospitals were battling an influenza outbreak. The Board of Lady Visitors, formed in 1833 as the General Hospital Society’s first volunteers, were among New Haven Hospital’s most committed supporters, making periodic trips to the patient wards to observe and report on Hospital conditions. Often, their trips were recorded in great detail. Here, however, their recordings reveal the grim reality of the epidemic as the Hospital was quarantined. The Spanish Influenza epidemic ended in 1921, having caused 388 deaths among 1,451 patients admitted to New Haven Hospital.

Yale-New Haven Hospital Archives


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