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New York Hospital and the Civil War

At the dawn of the Civil War, New York Hospital was located at its first site on Broadway between Duane and Worth Streets. From April 1861-February 1862, New York Hospital had an agreement with the New York State Militia to accept sick or wounded officers and privates. From February 1862 until the end of the war, the hospital had an agreement with the U. S. Medical Department to accept non-commissioned officers and privates from the Union Army.

The hospital already had a long standing agreement with the U.S. government to treat merchant seamen. The soldiers were treated both before and after being sent to the front. Most soldiers were housed in the North Building to the right of the main building. When there were many wounded soldiers, some stayed in the main building. The heaviest year was in 1862 due to battles in Antietam, Shiloh, and Fredericksburg. In May 1862, some residents were fired after they wrote a letter of complaint to the U.S. Army that they were not being paid to treat the soldiers. By end of the war over 3,000 soldiers had been treated at the hospital.

During the war, the hospital was staffed by several prominent attending physicians and surgeons, assisted by the house staff. Many of these doctors rose to the call to serve in the Civil War. One attending surgeon and two house surgeons were active with the U.S. Sanitary Commission and one attending surgeon was a consultant for the war department. Twenty five attending and house surgeons served for the Union and one house surgeon served for the Confederates.

In conjunction with an exhibit in the Weill Cornell Medical College's York Avenue Lobby, we will be posting blogs on some of the Civil War veterans of New York Hospital. Stay tuned.

New York Hospital and the Civil War

At the dawn of the Civil War, New York Hospital was located at its first site on Broadway between Duane and Worth Streets. From April 1861-February 1862, New York Hospital had an agreement with the New York State Militia to accept sick or wounded officers and privates. From February 1862 until the end of the war, the hospital had an agreement with the U. S. Medical Department to accept non-commissioned officers and privates from the Union Army.

The hospital already had a long standing agreement with the U.S. government to treat merchant seamen. The soldiers were treated both before and after being sent to the front. Most soldiers were housed in the North Building to the right of the main building. When there were many wounded soldiers, some stayed in the main building. The heaviest year was in 1862 due to battles in Antietam, Shiloh, and Fredericksburg. In May 1862, some residents were fired after they wrote a letter of complaint to the U.S. Army that they were not being paid to treat the soldiers. By end of the war over 3,000 soldiers had been treated at the hospital.

During the war, the hospital was staffed by several prominent attending physicians and surgeons, assisted by the house staff. Many of these doctors rose to the call to serve in the Civil War. One attending surgeon and two house surgeons were active with the U.S. Sanitary Commission and one attending surgeon was a consultant for the war department. Twenty five attending and house surgeons served for the Union and one house surgeon served for the Confederates.

In conjunction with an exhibit in the Weill Cornell Medical College's York Avenue Lobby, we will be posting blogs on some of the Civil War veterans of New York Hospital. Stay tuned.

An 1300 York Avenue Lobby Exhibit: Ninth General Hospital

An new exhibit has been installed in the 1300 York Avenue Lobby honoring the 70th anniversary of the Ninth General Hospital, which was organized by New York Hospital during World War II.

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In October 1940, George Heuer, chairman/chief of the Department of Surgery received a request from the Secretary of War to reestablish the Ninth General Hospital. The New York Hospital also operated Base Hospital No. 9 in France during World War I. Two years later in July 1942, the Ninth General Hospital was called to active duty. Several doctors and nurses mostly from New York Hospital joined up to serve. The doctors went sent for military training at Fort Andrews, MA; while, the nurses went to Fort Devens, MA. The doctors trained the enlisted men as orderlies, nurses' aides, and technicians. The nurses worked at the Station Hospital at Fort Devens. Along with the nurses were dieticians, physical therapists, and red cross workers. It was a long tedious wait to be called oversees.

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Finally in July 1943, they were given the order to go oversees to serve in the South Pacific. The doctors and nurses met in Boston where they boarded a large troop train headed to Stoneman Camp near San Francisco. It was the longest troop train at that time. They arrived in California where they boarded the ship SS David Shanks to take them to Brisbane Australia.

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Once the Ninth General Hospital personnel arrived in Brisbane, Australia, they thought they would be taking over a brand new hospital in Australia. Instead that hospital was given to the University of Maryland unit, and Ninth General Hospital was assigned to Goodenough Island, off the coast of New Guinea.

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In October 1943, the doctors and enlisted men went ahead to establish the hospital on this island. They arrived in pouring rain and marched from the ship to the large field where the hospital was to be built. It took them about six weeks to construct the hospital buildings including the telephone, electricity wires, and sewers. While the hospital was being built, the nurses stayed in Australia and worked at various hospitals in the area, or they were sent to other military hospitals in India, Egypt, Russia, and Africa. In December 1943, a few nurses arrived with the balanced arriving January-March 1944. The hospital suffered a setback in January 1944, when a monsoon hit and knock down six wards. Soon after the monsoon, a scrub typhoid fever broke out and several people became ill and 8 people died. The hospital served military units that were training on the island and as well as wounded soldiers. The hospital had orthopedic, ophthalmology, and otolaryngology clinics for outpatients. They also had departments for anesthesia, neurosurgery, gynecology, urology, plastic surgery, general surgery, and dental services. This hospital never saw many patients since it was away from the main battle zones. When they left the island, the hospital buildings were burned.

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In August 1944, the Ninth General Hospital was ordered to go to Biak Island, which was closer to the South Pacific front. As before, the doctors and enlisted men went first to Biak Island, where they discovered that the Japanese was on the island and using the buildings they were planning to use as their hospital. Again the hospital had to be built by scratch. The nurses were dropped off at Hollandria, New Guinea until the new hospital was built. This hospital saw more action in war causalities. One exciting event was the capture of a Japanese soldier by Preston Wade, who found the starving Japanese soldier in the woods near the hospital compound.

In August 1945, some of the doctors were ordered to the Lingyen Gulf in Luzon, Philippines, however the war ended. After the war the Ninth General Hospital personnel were mustered out in Manila or transferred to another military hospital. The name Ninth General Hospital was given to a regular military hospital unit in Okinawa, Japan.

Many doctors who served in this hospital returned home to become prominent doctors at our medical center: including Frank Glenn, chairman/chief of Department of Surgery (he also served with the sixth army), Preston Wade, head of the trauma unit and one of John Kennedy's physicians, George Eagan, head of dentistry, and Bruce Webster, venereal disease specialist. The nurses included, Muriel Carbery, who became the dean of the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing.

Happy 50th Anniversary: Samuel J. Wood Library

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The Samuel J. Wood Library and Research Building was dedicated on October 17, 1962. The new building included research laboratory space, new lobby for the medical college, and the medical college library. Below enjoy some pictures of our library.

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People visiting the new library during the dedication ceremony on October 17, 1962.

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The Samuel J. Wood Library and Research Building, 1960s.

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Construction of the Samuel J. Wood Library, Spring of 1962.

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Construction of the Library Stacks, Spring of 1962

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The Samuel J. Wood Library in 1962.

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Exhibit Space on the first floor of the library in the 1960s.

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People studying in the library in the 1960s.

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Samuel J. Wood Library as it appeared in the 1970s.

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People studying in the library in the 1970s.

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Eric Meyerhoff was the library director from 1970-1986.

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The Library Faculty and Staff in 1986.

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In 1987-1988, the library underwent major renovations when the William and Mildred Lasdon Biomedical Research Building was built. The library sunken reading room was one of the features of the renovated library.

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The library staff in the 1990s. Robert Braude was the library director from 1987-2001.

Welcome Alumni!

Reunion Weekend for Weill Cornell Medical College is taking place October 19 and 20. Alumni from across the country will be visiting the Medical Center for Reunion 2012: Alumni Making a Difference.

A Reunion Weekend exhibit, featuring materials from the Medical Center Archives, is now on display in Weill Cornell Medical College main lobby at 1300 York Avenue. The exhibit highlights classes celebrating milestone reunions (50 and 25 years), as well as alumni who are receiving the WCMCAA Special Achievement Awards.

A sampling of photographs is below. Please stop by the lobby exhibit to see more photographs, commencement programs, and more!

50th Anniversary - Class of 1961

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50th Anniversary - Class of 1962

P03804.jpg Students from the class of 1962 in anatomy class

25th Anniversary - Class of 1986

P03627.jpg Class of 1986 at their 5-year reunion in 1992

25th Anniversary - Class of 1987

P11916.jpg Scenes from the class of 1987 student show

Stay tuned for a blog post on the 2011 and 2012 WCMCAA Special Achievement Award recipients.

Happy Memorial Day

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Above is a picture of the Sokol Hall Memorial Day Parade in the 1930s found in the Flora Jo Bergstrom Collection. The archives staff wishes you a happy Memorial Day weekend.

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Iris and Gerald B. Cantor Ambulatory Surgery Center was dedicated on May 11, 1987. The center, which resides on the 9th floor of the Baker Building, was renovated in 2004. Above are Iris and Gerald B. Cantor at the dedication ceremony in 1987. Photo by Trudeau Studio.

Anniversaries: George Papanicolaou

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The Medical Center Archives presents an encore exhibit on George Papanicolaou, the developer of the Pap Smear, in the York Avenue Lobby. This year marks the 50th anniversary of George Papanicolaou's death on Feburary 18, 1962. For more information, please see our earlier blog postings.

Harry Gold and Double Blind Clinical Trials

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The Harry Gold Papers have now been processed and the finding is available at our website on our personal papers page.

Dr. Harry Gold was an pioneer in the use of digitalis glycosides for the treatment of cardiac failure. Seventy five years ago, Drs. Gold, Kwit, and Otto developed the double blind controlled method using placebos for testing drugs. In a double blind study, the clinical trial is conducted with both the researchers and patients not knowing who is in the control group and who is in the drug group until after the clinical trial data has been collected.

Anniversaries: Weill Greenberg Building

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The Weill Greenberg Building at 1305 York Avenue turned 5 years old in January. It opened on January 26th and is the college's first clinical services building. The building was named for Maurice Greenberg and Sanford I. Weill who are major benefactors of the medical center. As well as clinical and research space, the building also houses the Clinical Skills Center, where students can practice clinical skills on "actor" patients and the Mrya Mahan Patient Resource Center,

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