The Syracuse Hospital for Women
and Children and Training School for Nurses, Afterwards Memorial
Text Source: Past and Present of
Syracuse and Onondaga County New York, by The Rev. William M.
Beauchamp, S.T.D., 1908, pg. 569
Postcard Source: Onondaga County USGenWeb
The Syracuse Hospital for Women and
Children and Training School for Nurses which has come forward as an
almost indispensable institution and covers a great field of charitable
endeavor as well as filling a want in especial cases in the western end
of the city, was incorporated on April 25, 1887, and opened for
patients on November 11, that same year. The new hospital, which
cost originally ninety-five thousand dollars and has since been
extensively changed, was opened at 1214 West Genesee street on December
1, 1896. In 1907 the president was Mrs. O. V. Tracy; secretary,
Mrs. Gansevoort M. Kenyon; treasurer, Mrs. W. S. Wales, and
superintendent, Miss Laura A. Slee.
Text Source: Syracuse and Its
Environs, by Franklin H. Chase, Lewis Historical Pub. Co.,
Chicago, IL, 1924, pp. 488-490.
While all the early hospitals
of Syracuse have absorbing stories of the tribulations of their
beginnings, it is doubtful if there is one quite so crowded with the
unexpected in happenings as the Memorial Hospital, first incorporated
on April 25, 1887, as the Syracuse Women's Hospital and Training School
for Nurses. It was the endeavor of an association of women to
furnish a place where maternity patients and children could be cared
for. At that time there was no hospital in the city that had the
facilities to treat this class of patients. The incorporators
upon that original charter, endorsed by Justice Irving G. Vann, who was
then upon the Supreme bench, were: Alice Heyward Wallace, Marie
H. Sweet, Ophelia King, Alice Isabella Brayton, Caroline Land Ewers,
Minerva H. Howlett, Cornelia Norton Skinner, Jessie Wallace, Caroline
L. Land, Cornelia K. Hiscock, Cornelia S. Bigelow, Caroline May Davis,
and Jessie Lansing Crouse. The trustees of the first year of
existence were: Josephine Baum, Cornelia S. Bigelow, Alice
Heyward Wallace, Annah Teall Halcomb, Oheplia [sic Ophelia] King,
Jessie Lansing Crouse, Catherine Sedgwick Burlingame, Alice Isabelle
Brayton, Cornelia Norton Skinner, Minerva H. Howlett, Martha F.
Mitchell, Mary Harwood Durston, Caroline Shaw Comstock, and Emily C.
Candee. To these the historical summary adds the names of Mrs.
Gansevort M. Kenyon, Mrs. Sarah M. Noxon, Mrs. Richard W. Jones, Mrs.
Erastus F. Holden, and Dr. Juliet Hanchett.
Out in the suburbs in the southwestern part of the city, at South
Geddes and Elliott streets, in a small house, that hospital was opened
for the reception of patients on November 23, 1887, with Mrs. Kate
Perry in charge. The directory of that period carried the simple
announcement: "Perry, Mrs. Kate, women's hospital." Mrs.
James Crouse brought the first three patients, little children, in her
own carriage. That was the actual beginning of the great work of
this hospital, and the first ambulance. Mrs. Perry did the
cooking, the nursing and the complete service. This house proved
undesirable for the work, and, in the summer of 1888, the hospital was
removed to a beautiful residence at James and Sedgwick streets.
That was the old Ralph Frisselle home, then owned by Erastus F. Holden,
always a devoted and generous friend of the hospital, and he offered
the use of the house, rent free, for the period of two years.
In 1890 came the purchase of the Bronson house in West Genesee Street,
upon the site since dedicated to the acts of mercy and healing of this
hospital. The purchase price was $8,700, with $1,500 paid down
and a mortgage given for the remainder. The house was altered for
hospital purposes with an expenditure of about $2,000, and the Silver
Cross Cottage, where the children were housed and cared for, was
built. This was the work of the Ten X Ten Circle of the King's
Daughters of which Mrs. Robert Dey was president. When, upon
December 13, 1893, the hospital was burned, this cottage was
saved. Then the hospital was removed to a spacious house at 714
East Washington Street, that had been previously used for a private
hospital. The patients were generously cared for in St. Joseph's
Hospital which the work of putting this house in order was going
forward. It was in November, 1888, that the Harmony Circle, which
has done so much in assisting the Women's Hospital, was founded by Mrs.
C. Herbert Halcomb, as an auxiliary.
The work of building the new hospital in West Genesee Street had many
noble supports and not a few set backs. The insurance satisfied
the mortgage, but there was only the site left. Mrs. E. F. Holden
offered $15,000 to build a children's pavilion, and there were other
liberal gifts. Then came a unique suggestion. It was to
publish a Women's Edition of a newspaper. James J. Belden, who
had started the Syracuse "Post," with William A. Jones, editor, offered
the whole plant for the day, all receipts to go to the hospital.
The offer was taken up. Mrs. C. Herbert Halcomb, the acting
president, became editor, and more than sixty women were connected with
the editorial and business management for the day. Mrs. James M.
Ellis managed the advertising and Mrs. D. J. Mitchell the
circulation. That paper came out on February 2, 1895. It
had thirty-two pages and sold for five cents a copy. The sum
realized was $9,098.61.
This work encouraged the benevolent women to attempt the building of a
new hospital. In 1891 E. F. Holden had presented the hospital
with eighty feet additional land to the west, and in 1895 he added
seventy-five feet more to the east. Designs for a building upon
the pavilion plan were contributed by Henry W. Wilkinson, the
architect, and the corner stone was laid November 23, 1895.
The new hospital, for which such fine prophecies were made at the
corner stone laying by Dr. Ely Van de Warker and Donald Dey, was opened
for the reception of patients on December 1, 1896. The building
and furniture cost about $95,000. New incorporation came March 7,
1902, with amendments in 1909 and 1918. It became the Syracuse
Hospital for Women and Children in 1902, and the name was restated and
work extended in 1909.
The trustees upon the reincorporation in 1902 were Annah S. T. Halcomb,
Dora G. S. Hazard, Ellen S. Tracy, Jessie L. Crouse, Cornelia S.
Bigelow, Katherine M. Kenyon, Katherine C. Trump, Gertrude W. Belden,
M. Ophelia King, Sarah M. Noxon, Marilla G. Guttman, Blanche L. Leiter,
Zillah S. Stone, Florence D. Vann, Lily J. Wicks, Anna B. White, Mary
S. Dey, Amelia Rule, Ada S. Denison, Jane G. Hurst, Kate S. White, Lucy
P. Nettleton, May E. Dunnels, Jessie C. Bull and Jane M. Bartels.
When the $50,000 and $51,174 legacies from the estates of James J.
Belden and John Lyman came in during 1905, a new pavilion was built and
the $30,000 mortgage to the E. F. Holden estate was paid off, the heirs
contributing $5,000. More land was acquired. Then the
Elizabeth Green Kelly legacy, which totaled $55,259, was received in
1905, and two endowment funds from Anna Gere Belden and Mrs. Mead
Belden, of $10,000 and $5,000, the latter in memory of Edward Mead
Belden, were received. To the memory of Robert Sedgwick Hazard,
their son, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick R. Hazard completely equipped a
laboratory at a cost of $10,000. Harmony Circle, ever working for
the hospital, erected an open air pavilion in 1908. In 1924 it
was maintaining two X-ray machines and three free beds. Mrs.
William Allan Dyer was president.
Six of the rooms in the new hospital were built and furnished at an
expense of $1,000 each by Mrs. Cornelia S. Bigelow, Dey Bros., Mrs. A.
A. Howlett, James Tolman, Mrs. Powers and Mrs. Snow, and Mrs. King,
Mrs. Hazard and Mrs. Sedgwick.
It would take more space than can be given in a brief sketch to even
mention the many free beds, rooms furnished and equipments with which
the hospital has been favored in recent years, one of the greatest
legacies being that of the late Mrs. Cornelia S. Bigelow, the honorary
president, whose death occurred in 1921, leaving a legacy of $25,000
and a generous share in her residuary estate.
In December, 1911, Miss Laura A. Slee resigned the position of
superintendent which she had held for seventeen and a half years.
In March, 1912, Miss Elizabeth MacDill, a graduate of the hospital
training school, established in 1907, assumed the position of
superintendent. In the spring of 1917, the two houses opposite
the hospital in West Genesee Street, were purchased for the Nurses'
Home at a cost of $13,000. Upon the initiative of Frederick R.
Hazard a Guarantors to General Deficiency Fund was established, with
one hundred and sixty-three shares, but it was not until 1920 that
there was any demand made upon the fund.
County Medical Society, 1906-1956, The
Onondaga County Medical Society?, Syracuse? 1956, pp. 57-58.
The Syracuse Memorial Hospital
was founded in 1887 as the Syracuse Women's Hospital and Training
School for Nurses by a group of women dedicated to service to the
community. Enlarged several times from its small beginning, the
present hospital built through the generous contributions of two and a
half million dollars from thousands of interested citizens was opened
in October 1929.
Governed by a Board of Trustees who serve without any remuneration, it
continues to operate without profit to serve all persons of Syracuse
and the surrounding area who need care in illness and means whereby
they may be restored to health.
The primary purpose of the Syracuse Memorial Hospital is to provide the
most modern and scientific medical and nursing care to the sick and
injured and provide all facilities for the restoration of health.
We are also dedicated to a program of education of doctors, nurses and
other personnel who serve the patients within the hospital or take
their place in the community as your physicians and health
workers. As such we are a unit of Syracuse Medical Center and
participate in the teaching of medical students and training of interns
and residents through our affiliation with the College of Medicine of
the State University of New York.
A progressive step in nursing education was made by the hospital in
1943 when the Syracuse Memorial Hospital School of Nursing was merged
with the School of Nursing of Good Shepherd Hospital to form the
collegiate program of Syracuse University School of Nursing.
Participation in nursing education is continued by the hospital in its
affiliation with the Syracuse University School of Nursing whose
students receive their clinical experience in the hospital.
We also maintain an affiliation with the Willard State Hospital and
Craig Colony State Hospital Schools for a year's program of teaching
and experience for their students, as well as with numerous nursing
schools throughout the State for instruction and experience in
Students in Practical Nursing from the course given by the Syracuse
Board of Education receive six months of instruction and clinical
experience in the Memorial Hospital.
In the program of research the hospital cooperates with the faculty of
the New York State College of Medicine to aid their investigation in
the fields of Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Gynecology and Cancer.
Preventive as well as curative medicine is practiced in our
clinics. The Tumor Clinic maintained with assistance from the
American Cancer Society, functions as a diagnostic unit, a treatment
center and teaches positive health. In cooperation with the New
York State Department of Health, all patients are screened for chest
disorders through routine chest x-rays of all admissions. Close
contact and cooperation with other health agencies in the community is
In 1955, Syracuse Memorial Hospital admitted 13,580 patients, 10,882
adults and children and 2,698 newborn babies. These patients
received 97,985 days of care, an average of 7.2 days per person.
There were 11,769 outpatient visits to the Clinics and Emergency Room,
the latter showing an increase of 22 1/2% over the previous year.
County Medical Society, 1906-1956, The
Onondaga County Medical Society?, Syracuse? 1956, pg. 70.
Memorial Hospital, School of Nursing
school of Nursing of Syracuse Memorial Hospital was organized in 1888
on the same apprenticeship basis as the other nursing schools of that
period. The students entered the school at any time during the
year when there was a vacancy and the only qualifications necessary
were that the applicants must be between 20 and 35 years of age, of
sound health, good moral character and must have had a fair
education. No definite education preparation was required.
The students were in the Hospital to care for the patient and carry on
the Hospital routine. There was no plan for formal classroom or
bedside instruction such as there is today. In the evening after
caring for the patients on the wards for ten hours, the nurses
were given a few lectures by the staff physicians. Each student
was placed under the supervision of a student who had been longer in
the school and upon her rested the responsibility for teaching the
In May 1904, the School was registered by the Board of Regents of New
York State. This necessitated additions to the curriculum as well
as better teaching. A requirement was made in 1906 that each
applicant should have at least one year of High School and again it was
necessary to broaden the curriculum.
The first well qualified theoretical instructor was engaged in
1921. With her coming, improvements were gradually made in the
School, such as an 8-hour day for all students, discontinuing evening
classes and better instruction was given.
In June 1938, by unanimous vote, the Board of Trustees of Syracuse
Memorial Hospital agreed upon the acceptance of the proposed merger
into a joint Syracuse University School of Nursing.
The plan for this merger was definitely accepted by the Board in
On March 12, 1945, the largest class and the last class of nurses was
graduated from the Syracuse Memorial Hospital, School of Nursing.
The School of Nursing was officially closed June 21, 1946.
Beginning with the first class which graduated one student in 1890,
this School of Nursing has graduated 789 young women into the
profession of nursing.
Text Source: A
Short History of Hospitals in Syracuse, SUNY Upstate Medical
University: Health Services Library: Historical
A group of public-spirited women founded Syracuse Women's Hospital and
Training School for Nurses in 1887 as the only hospital in the area
that would admit women and children. It was sometimes known in those
days as Syracuse Children's Hospital. In 1902, its name changed to
Syracuse Hospital for Women and Children and by 1908 it was also
admitting men. In 1918, it became Syracuse Memorial Hospital to reflect
a broader range of services. In 1925 its trustees approved the
construction of a new 340-bed facility, namely, the building with the
landmark clock tower visible far and wide, and in 1929, it moved to
this present location on Irving Avenue. In 1946, after establishing a
cooperative arrangement with the Syracuse University School of Nursing,
Syracuse Memorial Hospital dissolved its School of Nursing, but
reacquired a nursing school when it merged with Crouse Irving Hospital
Submitted 12 March 2006 by Pamela
Updated 17 March 2006 by Pamela Priest