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The Medical Center Archives digital collections now include historical annual reports from both the New York Hospital and the Lying-in Hospital of the City of New York, as well as announcements from the Weill Cornell Medical College and the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing. These publications are available at

At present, the digital collections include:

The WCMC Library and the Medical Center Archives received a digitization micro-grant from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) to fund the digitization of these historical annual reports and announcements.

The Medical Center Archives materials are part of the Medical Heritage Library, a body of curated digital materials focusing on the history of medicine, from libraries and archives around the world, hosted by the Internet Archive. More information is available on the Medical Heritage Library site.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


Construction of the Library Stacks, Spring of 1962


The Samuel J. Wood Library in 1962.


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


People studying in the library in the 1960s.


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


People studying in the library in the 1970s.


Eric Meyerhoff was the library director from 1970-1986.


The Library Faculty and Staff in 1986.


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.


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

The Weill Cornell Medical College Alumni Association is presenting the Special Achievement Award to 4 distinguished alumni on October 20. An exhibit of photographs and documents featuring the award recipients is now on display in Weill Cornell Medical College main lobby at 1300 York Avenue.

The 2011 Special Achievement Award is presented jointly to Ellen Shulman Baker, M.D. '78; Jay. C. Buckey, Jr., M.D. '81; and Mae C. Jemison, M.D. '81. All three have served on Space Shuttle missions for NASA.

Schulman.jpg Ellen Shulman Baker, M.D., joined NASA as a medical officer at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center after completing her residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She became an astronaut in 1985. Dr. Baker has logged more than 686 hours in space as a mission specialist on three flights. She retired from NASA in 2011.

Ellen Shulman in her medical student days

Jay C. Buckey, Jr., M.D., was a Payload Specialist aboard NASA Space Shuttle flight STS-90 in 1998 and conducted 26 individual life science experiments focusing on the effects of microgravity on the brain and nervous system. He is currently Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School and Adjunct Professor of Engineering at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth.

buckey1981.jpg Jay C. Buckey, Jr. presenting the student address at the 1981 Commencement

Jemison.jpg Mae C. Jemison, M.D., became a general practitioner in Los Angeles after medical school, and then spent more than 2 years as an Area Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. Dr. Jemison joined NASA in 1987. She became the first female African-American astronaut when she served on the space shuttle Endeavor in September 1992.

Mae C. Jemison's page in the 1981 Samaritan yearbook

In his address to the graduating class of 1981, Commencement Speaker Robert J. Glaser, M.D. began by remarking on the recent successful launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia, and went on to draw parallels between NASA and advances in medicine. Interestingly, 2 members of that graduating class, Dr. Buckey and Dr. Jemison, went on to serve in the space program.

The 2012 Special Achievement Award is presented to Richard T. Silver, M.D. '53.

Silver.jpg Richard T. Silver, M.D., received his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College in 1953. He was a Clinical Associate in the General Medicine Branch at the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute and then completed an internship in medicine and a residency in medicine (hematology) at The New York Cornell Medical Center. Afterwards, he served as a Visiting Fulbright Professor in Salavador, Bahia, Brazil. He then returned to NewYork Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center where he has remained. Dr. Silver is currently the longest serving member of the Weill Cornell Medical College faculty.

P03095.jpg Cancer team, 1973. Ralph Engle, Denis Miller, Morton Coleman, Robert Zager, Richard Silver, Mark Pasmantier

Dr. Silver is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Leukemia and Myleoproliferative Center at NewYork Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. He is also the Principal Investigator at Weill Cornell Medical Center of an NIH grant study to myleoproliferative diseases, and is Chairman of its Membership Committee. Dr. Silver serves as Medical Director, The Cancer Research and Treatment Funds, Inc. He is on the Board of the New York State Society of Medical Oncologists and Hematologists, and is a Life Member of the Cornell University Council.

Please see the lobby exhibit for more from Drs. Baker, Buckey, Jemison, and Silver.

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

P04241.jpg Commencement 1961

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.

Curtis Hart, M.Div., Lecturer in Public Health, Psychiatry, and Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Religion and Health, will present the first Heberden Society Lecture of the 2012-13 academic year on Thursday, September 27, 2012, at The New York Academy of Medicine.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt: A Famous Patient
Thursday, September 27. 6:00 p.m. (Light refreshments served at 5:30)
The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue

The lecture will be co-sponsored by NYAM'S Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health and is open to the public. Please register for this event at

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the longest serving (1933-45) President in United States history. Elected to the Presidency four times, he guided the country through the Great Depression and led it to victory in World War II. Roosevelt was afflicted with polio in 1921 when he was thirty-nine years old. Recent biographical studies have brought to light the extraordinary partnership between Roosevelt and his physician, George Draper, M.D., who was both a clinician and faculty member at Columbia. Draper's therapeutic partnership with Roosevelt sustained him during the most trying time of his illness. Though Roosevelt was never to walk again, with the help of Dr. Draper and others he did not lose hope and was able to re-emerge and return to his political career. The relationship between Roosevelt and Draper embodies the character of the healing partnership between doctor and patient. This presentation will describe something of that relationship. It will also show how Roosevelt's struggle with illness contributed to what has been called his "first rate temperament" and his personal designation as "Old Doc Roosevelt" both of which became significant personal components of his Presidency.

Curtis W. Hart is Lecturer in Public Health, Medicine, and Psychiatry, Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Religion and Health. At Weill Cornell he is active in teaching medical students, serves on the Institutional Review Board, and is a participant in the Department of Psychiatry's Section in the History of Psychiatry. An ordained Episcopal priest, he is a graduate of Harvard College, A.B. cum laude, and Union Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity. He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and book reviews in professional and academic publications including essays on J. Robert Oppenheimer, William James, and Paul Tillich. He is a Fellow in both the New York Academy of Medicine and the Society for Values in Higher Education. He lives in Tarrytown, New York.

The Heberden Society, which seeks to promote an interest in the history of medicine, was founded at the medical center in 1975. With funding from the WCMC Office of the Dean, the society sponsors a series of lectures during each academic year.

This event is free but registration is required.

Dr. Philip Reichert (Cornell University Medical College Class of 1923) and his wife Helen "Happy" Faith Keane Reichert (Cornell University Class of 1925) were long-time benefactors of Weill Cornell Medical College and the Medical Center Archives.

An exhibit featuring items from the Philip Reichert papers is now on display in Weill Cornell Medical College main lobby at 1300 York Avenue. Documents, ephemera, and photographs highlight Dr. Reichert's interest in medical devices, the Reicherts' ties to Cornell, and his role in the American College of Cardiology. The exhibit marks the occasion of the 110th anniversary of Mrs. Reichert's birth on November 11, 1901.


Dr. Reichert had a keen interest in the history of medicine, and was fascinated with historic medical devices. He began collecting diagnostic instruments soon after his graduation from medical school in 1923, and spent several decades building his collection and restoring the devices to their original working condition. His collection of diagnostic devices had been on display in the Wellcome Exhibition Galleries (1942-1945) and the Smithsonian Institution (1956-1964) prior to Dr. Reichert's donation of the collection to the Weill Cornell Medical College in 1972. The Philip Reichert Collection of Historic Diagnostic Instruments is on permanent display in the Uris Faculty Room.

In 1949, Dr. Reichert was a founding member of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), which had its roots in the New York Cardiological Society. Some of the early meetings of the ACC took place in the Reicherts' Manhattan apartment and Happy took notes. Philip Reichert served as executive director of the ACC from 1952-1962. Among the Reichert papers in the Medical Center Archives are comprehensive records of the ACC, including minutes and early documents from the organization's beginning.

Helen "Happy" Faith Keane Reichert had a long and fascinating career. She founded the Round Table of Fashion Executives in 1949, as a means to give women a greater voice within the fashion industry. In 1951, she hosted a television talk show, "FYI: The Helen Faith Keane Show," that won the McCall's Magazine Golden Microphone Award for outstanding broadcasting service to women. She was a professor of costume history at New York University from 1947 to 1977.

Philip and Happy Reichert both had strong ties to Cornell University and to the Medical College. Philip graduated from the Cornell University Medical College in 1923 and achieved the top score on the National Medical Board examination that year. Happy graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Cornell University in 1925 and, until her recent passing in September, was the oldest living Cornell alumna.

The Reicherts were generous donors to the Medical Center Archives and to the Weill Cornell Medical College.

Are you interested in the history of medicine? Then you'll want to attend the Heberden Society lectures!

The Heberden Society was established at the medical center in 1975 by a group of medical interns and residents who were interested in promoting the history of medicine. The society is named after Sir William Heberden the younger (1767-1845), who served as physician to King George III of England, the sovereign who granted a royal charter for The New York Hospital in 1771. (The original charter, signed by George III, resides in the Medical Center Archives.)

The Society sponsors a series of lectures throughout the academic year, funded by the Office of the Dean. Most of the lectures are held in the Uris Faculty Room (A-126), 1300 York Avenue. However, this year's first lecture, on October 4, will take place at the New York Academy of Medicine and will be cosponsored by NYAM's Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health.

Heberden Society lectures for this year cover a variety of fascinating topics. We hope one of them will pique your interest.

October 4, 2011
Neal Flomenbaum, M.D., Emergency Physician-in-Chief, NewYork Presbyterian Hospital / Weill Cornell Medical Center
Emergency Medicine in Lower Manhattan in the late 1800's: Everything Old is New Again (cosponsored with NYAM's Section on the History of Medicine and Public Health)
6 p.m., New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue

January 24, 2012
Charles Bryan, M.D., Heyward Gibbes Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine Emeritus, University of South Carolina School of Medicine
Medical Professionalism for Generations X, Y, and Z: Does William Osler's 'Master-Word in Medicine' (that is, 'Work') still Ring True? (cosponsored with the Division of Medical Ethics)
5 p.m., Uris Faculty Room (A-126), WCMC

March 20, 2012
Peter G. Wilson, M.D., Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, WCMC
Psychiatry at NYH-WCMC 1791-2012
5 p.m., Uris Faculty Room (A-126), WCMC.

May 9, 2012
Lawrence Finer, Ph.D.
Director of Domestic Research, the Guttmacher Institute
The Tumultuous History of Women's and Reproductive Health in the U.S.
5 p.m., Selma Ruben Conference Center, WCMC, 1305 York Ave.

We hope to see you at one of the lectures this year.

George Papanicolaou: Biography

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Last month an exhibit, George Papanicolaou, A Man of Science, was installed in the Weill Cornell Medical College main lobby at 1300 York Avenue.

Dr. George Papanicolaou (known as Dr. Pap) was born in 1883 in Kymi, a seaport city on the Greek island of Euboea.  His parents were Nicholas, who was a local doctor, mayor, and senator, and his wife, Maria.  In 1898, he enrolled at University of Athens where he studied humanities and music.  (He was a violinist).  After his undergraduate studies, he continued at the University's medical school, where he graduated in 1904.  After graduation, he joined the military serving as an auxiliary nurse and assistant surgeon for two years.  He returned briefly to Kymi to practice medicine but did not enjoy it.  Since his real interest was biological sciences, in 1907, he went to Germany where he studied for his PhD at the Universities of Jena, Freiburg, and Munich, where he graduated in 1910.  After his studies, he returned home to Greece.  There he found that there were few opportunities for an academic career in biological research since Athens was the only university.  Although his father wanted him to practice medicine, George had other dreams.  At home in Kymi, he became reacquainted with Andromachi (Mary) Mavroyeni and after a brief courtship they married.  Mary and George went to France with the hope of finding biological research opportunities.  In the fall 1910, he visited the famed Oceanographic Museum in Monaco where he was offered a job the following January.  Later in July 1911, he joined a marine research expedition in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean led by the Prince Albert of Monaco.  In 1912-1913, Dr. Pap served in the Balkan War as a lieutenant medical officer.  During the war, Dr. Pap met American volunteers who encouraged him to seek opportunities in America. 

In 1913, Mary and George immigrated to America.  They went to New York, where they both found work at Gimbels Department Store.  Dr. T. H. Morgan from Columbia University was interested in Dr. Papanicolaou's research and assisted him in finding work as an assistant in the Department of Pathology at New York Hospital.  In addition, he wrote zoological articles for the Greek, magazine, Atlantis.   Through his colleagues at New York Hospital, he found employment as a research biologist in the Department of Anatomy at Cornell University Medical College.  His wife Mary also got a job there and assisted him with his research.

Dr. Pap spent the next 47 years at Cornell University Medical College.  He established the Papanicolaou Cytology Laboratory, where he conducted his pioneer research on the Pap Smear.In 1957, he retired as the professor of clinical anatomy at Cornell University Medical College but continued his research.  That same year, he returned to Greece to pursue the possibility of establishing a cancer research institute in his home country.  Although this did not come to fruition, The Cancer Institute of Miami offered him a director position and agreed to change their name to the Papanciolaou Cancer Research Institute.  In 1961, George and Mary moved to Miami.  Sadly a few months later, Dr. Pap died of a heart attacked on February 18, 1962.

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