Healthcare and medicine is a major component of the economy of Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio region. Cleveland is a center for world-class medical care, medical innovation, research, and medical and nursing education. There is a long history of medicine, this term used in the broadest sense, in Cleveland. There are significant archival repositories and resources in the city that document the establishment, growth, and economic dominance of medicine and the historical growth of the region’s current healthcare industry.
While an “infirmary” or asylum was established in 1837 as a response to the cholera epidemic, it functioned intermittently to provide health care to the poor and mentally ill as well as other groups such as the aged. The U. S. government established a federal Marine Hospital at the corner of East Ninth and Lakeside Avenue, to care exclusively for seamen and the merchant marine on the Great Lakes. (When the hospital closed the building was taken over by Lakeside Hospital). The first hospital, as we understand the concept and organization of a hospital, was St. Vincent Charity Hospital (established in 1865 by the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine). In 1866 the Wilson Street Hospital (Lakeside Hospital/University Hospitals) was established by parishioners of the Old Stone Church to care for people displaced by the Civil War and the poor. These early charitable hospitals were established to provide health care to the poor and immigrant populations of an emerging industrial Cleveland. As medicine and the profession and capabilities of physicians developed these hospitals became teaching hospitals and provided health care to not only the poor but also people able to pay for their medical care. In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth numerous hospitals were established by charitable organizations, professional groups (allopathic, homeopathic, and osteopathic) and religious orders. By the end of the twentieth century individual hospitals began to merge for economic reasons into “health care systems” including more than one hospital. This era of independent hospitals ended merging into health care systems and saw the closure of economically distressed hospitals (e.g. St John Hospital on Detroit Avenue and St. Alexis Hospital/later renamed St. Michael Hospital in Slavic Village). Today healthcare in Cleveland and the region is dominated by the major healthcare systems: Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals Health System, the Metrohealth System, and the Sisters of Charity Health System. Some of these health systems have affiliates in Northern Ohio and some in other parts of the United States and at international sites.
Archival resources documenting the history of healthcare in Cleveland are extensive. Some are institution based such as the Cleveland Clinic Archives and the archives of the University Hospitals Health System. Other archival resources include the Dittrick Medical History Center, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and Case Western Reserve University Archives. Cuyahoga Community College has a Crile Archive Center for History Education that has a collection of archival materials related to the Crile General Hospital and World War I. In addition archives of religious orders, such as the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, which founded St. Vincent Charity Hospital as well as St. Ann’s Maternity Hospital, and St. John Hospital, contain resources documenting the history of medicine and nursing in Cleveland. The following blog will highlight some of these healthcare archival resources in Cleveland.
For an excellent general overview of the history of medicine in Cleveland see Medicine. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University.
Healthcare in Cleveland – Archival Resources
The Stanley A. Ferguson Archives, University Hospitals Case Medical Center (University Hospitals Health System)
Established in 1968, the Archives of the University Hospitals Case Medical Center is the oldest hospital archives in the city of Cleveland. Its primary function is to document the historical development of University Hospitals of Cleveland and the four hospitals that formed it: Lakeside, Babies and Children’s, MacDonald and Rainbow Hospital for Crippled and Convalescent Children. The archival collection is composed of over 5000+ linear feet of material related to the development and operations of the facilities from 1866 to the present. The photographic collection of over 6000+ images (from 1870s to the present) documents every facet of the hospitals’ history, personnel, and functions, but is especially strong in documenting hospital architecture and maternity and child health from the early twentieth century to the present.
The Archives also houses the personal and professional papers of Claude Beck (cardiovascular surgery), David Marine (endocrinology), Hymer Friedell (radiology/radiation studies), Benjamin Spock (child development), John Kennell (pediatrics and maternal-infant bonding), Leroy Matthews (pediatrics and cystic fibrosis), John Dingle (preventive medicine and medical education), Oscar Ratnoff (hematology) and Olga Benderoff (nursing and World War II). The Archives has extensive collections in medicine and nursing during Word War I (Lakeside Unit/France) and World War II (Fourth General Hospital/Australia and South Pacific).
The Archives maintains extensive collections in hospital administration, nursing and medical education, focusing on the development and implementation of the New Medical Curriculum of Western Reserve University School of Medicine (now Case Western Reserve University) and its affiliated hospitals. The Archives of Case Western Reserve University also has strong and complementary collections related to the New Medical Curriculum.
In 1993 the Archives was named the Stanley A. Ferguson Archives of University Hospitals of Cleveland (now University Hospitals Case Medical Center) in honor of Mr. Ferguson who served as CEO of University Hospitals from 1952 to 1975. It was at his suggestion, and during his administration that the Archives was established. (Description adapted from description by this author in A Guide to Archives in Northeastern Ohio published by the Cleveland Archival Roundtable in 1994.)
If SAA members tour University Circle and have a chance to go the Lakeside Hospital (located behind the Allen Memorial Medical Library) on Adelbert Road, they can find in the first corridor right off the lobby the large bronze plaque commemorating the Lakeside Unit’s service during World War I. Also along the first floor corridor mounted are the first American flag carried on European soil during World War I, the Red Cross flag that flew over the Lakeside Unit in Rouen, France, and the large Fourth General Hospital banner that was used by the unit during World War II in the Pacific. Contact: Diane O’Malia, Archivist, Diane.O’Malia@UHhospitals.org, 216-983-1125.
Archives, The MetroHealth System (Cuyahoga County Hospital)
The main hospital of the MetroHealth System, a publicly funded hospital, traces its origins back to a public infirmary in the 1830s and which functioned as an asylum and work house treating the poor, sick, mentally ill, and aged. The Cleveland City Hospital was formally established in 1888 and funded by public funds. The Archives was established in 1981 and houses records dating back to 1854. It also includes records relating the function and growth of the hospital, medical staff, research and the nursing school (now closed). The Archives has records relating to the treatment of polio in Cleveland. Historical exhibits related to the history of the hospital and its growth and development, nursing, and the role and work of noted medical researcher, Dr. Charles Rammelkamp, are located on the first floor of the hospital. Contact: Carol L. Smith, Archivist, 216-778-3439.
Nicknamed the “Mother of Presidents,” Ohio is home to eight U.S. presidents, several of whom hailed from Northeast Ohio. While you are visiting, be sure to fit in a trip to one of the presidential historic sites, birthplaces, or museums listed below!
Sports run through the veins of Cleveland. Not long after the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first professional baseball team, Cleveland responded with her own club. Football was born an hour south of Cleveland in Canton (site of Pro Football Hall of Fame) and the Browns are a beloved franchise. At one point the Browns played in 10 championship games in 10 years! Seriously! It happened! Look it up! LeBron James has reinvigorated interest in Cleveland’s youngest pro sports team, the Cavs and nearly brought home the first title in Cleveland since 1964. (Hey, there’s always next year!)
When you find yourself in Cleveland for SAA this year, there are several sites relating to Cleveland’s sports heritage that you must check out.
First Energy Stadium 100 Alfred Lerner Way
Home of the Cleveland Browns, First Energy Stadium is located on the Lakefront across from the Rock Hall and can be seen out the window of the Convention Center. If you feel like catching a pre-season game, the Browns will host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, August 20th and will be featured on ESPN. As dreary as the Browns have been since they returned in 1999, they do have a very proud history (see Cleveland Memory’s “The Glory Days of the Cleveland Browns“). Legendary Coach Paul Brown guided the club to 10 straight championship games in a ten year span (1946-1955). The team was relocated to Baltimore after the 1995 season and this stadium was built in an effort to have professional football return to Cleveland. Browns stadium is built on the same ground where Cleveland Municipal Stadium once stood.
Lexington Ave & East 66th Street
In 2014, Cleveland’s League Park, “the oldest existing ball park in the world,” reopened after a million dollar facelift. Located in the Hough neighborhood, League Park is perhaps one of the most historic ballparks still in existence. League Park was the setting for many historic moments: Babe Ruth’s 500th home run, Joe Dimaggio’s 56th hit in his hit streak, the Indians 1920 World Series Title. Players such as Ty Cobb, Bob Feller, Nap Lajoie, Hank Greenburg, Lou Gehrig, and the Negro League Cleveland Buckeyes all played at League Park. When the Indians moved to Municipal Stadium full-time in 1947, League Park gradually fell into disrepair. However, due to efforts of the City of Cleveland, the field is now open for visitors and baseball teams. Located inside the original ticket house is the Baseball Heritage Museum. Cleveland Memory has a great online exhibit.
2401 Ontario Street
Home of the Cleveland Indians, Progressive Field just turned 20 years old last year. The ballpark has hosted two World Series and an All-Star Game. Walking around the ballpark, make sure to check out the Bob Feller, Jim Thome, and Larry Doby statues. Feller, considered one of the best right handed pitchers in baseball history, was born in Van Meter, Iowa and joined the Indians when he was 17 years old. He served in the Navy during WWII and when the war was over, helped the Indians capture the 1948 World Series. The Larry Doby statue will be unveiled later in July and commemorates Doby’s Hall of Fame and barrier breaking career. He was the first African American to play in the American League. (The Indians are out of town during SAA.)
1 Center Court
Home of the LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Q also hosts rock concerts, arena football games, and other family friendly events.
Devoted to History
Cleveland Public Library’s Sports Research Center
Louis Stokes Wing, 525 Superior Avenue CPL is a must stop for any library enthusiast. It is also home of the Sports Research Center. As the website notes, it “showcases the best of Cleveland sports history all in one convenient location. The Center houses more than 25,000 books, magazines and primary research materials, including archival photos, scrapbooks, autographs, clippings, oral history recordings, correspondence and more. The Center is free and open to the public year-round.” If you love baseball, the library is also home to the Mears Collection. Can’t make it to CPL? No problem, the library also has wonderful digital collections, such as this one on the history of baseball.
Cleveland State University’s Michael Schwartz Library Special Collections
1860 E. 22nd Street
Another archival repository worth checking out for sports fans is CSU’s Michael Schwartz Library. Home to the Cleveland Press Collection, Special Collections contains a vast photographic history of Cleveland sports. Many of these photographs are online in Cleveland Memory.
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage
2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood
If you can make the trip to Cleveland’s east side, the Maltz is currently hosting the traveling exhibit “Chasing Dreams: Baseball & Becoming American.” Organized by the National Museum of American Jewish History, it “explores the central role our national pastime has played in the identity of Jews and other minority communities.” See the museum’s Current Exhibitions for more information on it and special events related to the exhibit.
Jessie Owens Statue Corner of West 3rd and Lakeside
Although Jessie Owens was not born in Cleveland, his family moved to the city when he was only a child. Jessie attended Ohio State and then competed in the 1936 Olympics. He is most remembered for winning four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics while Adolph Hitler was in attendance.
Icabod Flewellen was born July 6, 1916, in Williamson, West Virginia. His passion for Negro history began as a young man reading J. A. Roger’s Negro newspaper articles. After discharge from the army in 1945, Mr. Flewellen believed that everyone should have the opportunity to see the accomplishments of Africans and those of African descent. His dream was to build an Afro-American museum in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1953, while working as a Veterans Administration messenger and a maintenance person at Case Western Reserve University, Flewellen started collecting material to build his collection for the Afro-American Cultural and Historical Society. He traded, purchased, and bartered for items pertaining to known and unknown African American events and people. In 1964, the Cleveland “Parade of Progress” exhibition proclaimed Flewellen’s Negro history collection of one of the largest in the country.
The closed Cleveland Public Library’s Hough Branch became the home of the African American Museum. Unfortunately, managerial and financial debacles forced Flewellen out, and he had to return the documents and historical items to his home. In 1999, Flewellen donated his 400 cubic feet collection to the East Cleveland Public Library.
In 2005, the Cleveland Foundation awarded funding for the processing of the collection. Presently, 90% of the collection has been inventoried, cataloged, and is available online through a finding aid.
In 1993, Flewellen obtained a degree in history and became the oldest graduate from Case Western Reserve University. He continued to research and lecture on everything regarding African Americans until his death in 2001.
The above photographs are courtesy of the Flewellen Collection, East Cleveland Public Library.
Other Cleveland African Americans featured in the collection include:
Rev. Glen T. Settle, pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church, whose Wings Over Jordan Choir was the first professional black choir in the United States that preserved Negro spirituals, receiving the Peabody Award.
John Malvin, a free man born in 1795 in Dumfries, Prince-William County, Virginia of a slave father and a free mother, who worked with an organization to obtain land in Canada so that Negros could move away from Black Laws. While in Cleveland, he became a successful canal boat captain, a civil liberties fighter, and established a colored children’s school. In 1880, he was buried in an unmarked grave in Erie Cemetery. Icabod Flewellen worked with the John Malvin Foundation of Cleveland to obtain funding for a headstone for Malvin’s grave.
George C. Jones, who owned a brass foundry on Central Ave. in Cleveland, where he made street car trolley wheels. His wheels were considered the best of their time and marketed by the Holland Trolley Supply Company of Cleveland throughout the world.
Travel and Leisure called Cleveland one of the best places to travel in 2015. Fodor’s 2015 Go List features Cleveland as well; its rust belt chic comparable to the natural wonders of Patagonia, Chile, the otherworldliness of Iceland, and the beaches of Uruguay. With culinary kings like Michael Symon, one of the top orchestras in the world, and stunning museums like the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland is the place to be in 2015. And with a mandate from Council and the membership-at-large to experiment with new ideas, SAA is shaking things up for its 79th Annual Meeting in Cleveland! The most obvious change is the venue itself: SAA will meet in a convention center rather than a conference hotel. The Cleveland Convention Center was just completed in 2014 and is a sleek, beautiful space, located just steps away from the three conference hotels and a vibrant downtown district.
And getting here is easy! Cleveland sits within a 500-mile radius of nearly half of the U.S. population! Upon arrival, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) links busy travelers through four RTA rail lines that snake all over the city and to the airport, connecting with 69 different bus routes. For just $5, visitors can snag a one-day Cleveland Pass that allows for unlimited rides. The slick, modern HealthLine Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) secured an Excellence in Engineering award, connecting downtown hotspots to hospitals and restaurants. Once downtown, take advantage of the city’s free RTA trolley network, bring your bike, or use your feet. The website Walk Score names Cleveland the 16th most walkable largest city in the U.S. Everything you need during your stay in Cleveland will be only moments away!
No trip to Cleveland is complete without a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum—lucky for all of you this year’s All-Attendee Reception will be held there! The Rock Hall experience includes four theaters, multiple interactive stations, and seven floors of exhibits that tell the story of the world’s most powerful art form through handwritten lyrics, colorful costumes, history-making photographs and videos, and iconic albums that make rock and roll a religion for some, and a force for social change throughout the world. And don’t forget to plan a visit to the Museum’s Library and Archives, located in the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts on the Cuyahoga Community College Metro campus.
In the Cleveland Metroparks, more than 21,000 acres and 18 reservations surround Cleveland like an “Emerald Necklace.” The reservations follow the rivers and creeks that flow throughout the region, while the Metroparks include hundreds of miles of walking, biking, and horse riding trails as well as numerous picnic areas, nature education centers, golf courses, and countless fishing spots, as well as the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park includes 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron that are administered by the National Park Service. The park has many hiking and biking trails, such as the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which follows a former stretch of the 308-mile Ohio and Erie Canal, and offers a number of examples of nineteenth and early twentieth-century sustainable farming and pastoral or rural living, as well as art exhibits, outdoor concerts, and scenic excursions and special event tours on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
Cultural Heritage Institutions
Cleveland and the surrounding areas are home to a number of museums, universities, and other cultural institutions just awaiting your discovery!
Keep an eye out for information on repository tours, coming soon!
Want to know more about Cleveland history? One of the top 10 largest U.S. cities between 1890-1960, Cleveland has a storied past and much is still on display for visitors with an eye for history. Two comprehensive websites full of interesting essays and images are the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History and Cleveland Memory. Cleveland Memory features collections such as the Cleveland Press morgue, and many exhibits including “Notable Blacks of Cleveland,” “Ethnic Women of Cleveland,” and “Elliot Ness.” Want to see a timeline of everything Cleveland? How about historic sites by neighborhood on a Google map? The Encyclopedia offers these and more. And if presidential history is your thing, Ohio isn’t called “The Mother of Presidents” for nothing. With eight presidents, you’ll find presidential sites around the state, including in northern Ohio.