Chicago Hospital for Women and Children

Chicago Hospital for Women and Children

Chicago Hospital for Women and Children, renamed Mary Thompson Hospital after its founder’s death in 1895, was established in 1865 and provided medical care to indigent women and children as well as clinical training to women doctors. It was founded by Mary Harris Thompson, who received her degree in Boston in 1863 from the New England Female Medical College, the first medical school for women.[1][2][3]
Thompson’s established the hospital because of her inability to gain a position at Chicago’s two hospitals (one of which refused admittance to women patients).[3]
The hospital treated the wives, widows, and children of Union soldiers and it was funded by donations.[3]
The hospitals objectives were:

To afford a home for women and children among the respectable poor in need of medical and surgical aid
To treat the same classes at home by an assistant physician
To afford a free dispensary for the same
To train competent nurses[2]

An affiliated nursing school was established in 1871.[4]
The hospital building was totally destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871 and temporary accommodations were set up quickly to deal with the aftermath.[2] In 1872 with a $25,000 commitment from the Chicago Relief and Aid Society a permanent building was purchased. In 1885 a new building was erected on the site.
The hospital provided opportunities for women exclusively until 1972 when men joined the staff. Due to financial issues it closed in 1988.[3]


1 History
2 Nursing
3 Medical program
4 Organization

4.1 Hospital Staff (As of 1877)
4.2 Officers

4.2.1 Board of Trustees
4.2.2 Board of Councilors

4.3 Medical staff
4.4 Consulting staff
4.5 Dispensary physicians

5 References

On May 8, 1865, Mary Harris Thompson founded the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children because women were not yet permitted to be on any of Chicago’s hospital staffs. Thompson’s objective was to serve widows and orphans of Civil War soldiers who had died in battle. The hospital depended upon the aid of wealthy Chicago women and the support of several medical men. The laywomen raised funds and managed all administrative work. The medical men became consulting physicians who aided Thompson in her medical and surgical practice. These doctors provided Thompson and her institution with the stamp of medical approval required because of a widespread prejudice against women physicians.[5]
With the rapid inflow of patients and Thompson’s desire to expand women’s roles in the