In this, the season of giving, we should remember our own Frances Wisebart Jacobs, Mother of Charities. It was at her urging, along with Rabbi William Stern Friedman and a group of dedicated supporters incorporated as the Jewish Hospital Association, that a hospital was built to “alleviate suffering and render aid to the distressed” and to admit Jews and non-Jews alike. After the financial setbacks of the 1893 “Silver Crisis” the hospital found new support from B’nai B’rith, and on December 10, 1899 dedication ceremonies were held for the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives. While the Denver Post account names a young woman from Minnesota as the first patient, the hospital ledger* has a “string maker” from Boston, Eli Brown, as the first recorded admission. Though hospital policy was to admit patients for long-term care, Mr. Brown stayed for only seven days, having been released for “continuous violation of rules.”
Learn more about the history of National Jewish Health by visiting our Patient and Visitor Resource Guide and the Our History page on the National Jewish Health website. Then head to the Beck Archives at the University of Denver for more artifacts from the early days of National Jewish.