New-York Women’s Hospital
1901 — Annual Meeting, New-York Women’s Hospital, New York City
MR. PRESIDENT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
“Why is it that women are unrepresented on the Boards of so many hospitals?” asks a writer in a recent issue of The Hospital. They have made good their claim to a place on school boards, boards of guardians, and parish councils, by the admittedly valuable work which they have done on them. Only one reason has been given for this, the writer goes on to state, and that is a bad one. At the last election of managers of a large hospital in an important town, two women were candidates for election. One man opposed their appointment on the ground that ‘in a hospital the matron was bound to be something of an autocrat, and she might dislike the interference of women.”
There is much cause for gratitude in that the women supervisors of this first Woman’s Hospital were not elected, but came to their title of supervisors by inheritance; and for the first ten years only women managed and governed, and the Ladies’ Assistant Board to-day has in it those whose mothers were “charter members”; and within the past year a granddaughter has come into the work, leading her daughter, who will be a great-granddaughter of this institution.
The work of the year has been faithfully carried on by this ladies’ Assistant Board, and, not being under a matron, it has bene able to assist and coöperate with its efficient superintendent, Miss Fowler. Its Committee on Nurses have had most signal results from the wise and efficient supervision of Miss Wilderson, the superintendent of nurses. Wards have had their constant and faithful visitations from the ladies of the Ward Committee, and each Sunday the religious services have been guided by the committee for religious work. The Committee on Supplies meets every Wednesday morning, and Mrs. Abernathy, after forty-five years, flags not in her devotion to this her “first love.” All — all, with doctors and nurses, have accomplished great and beneficial results under most unfavorable conditions.
Twenty years ago Mrs. John Jacob Astor, Mrs. Morgan, Mrs. Cullum, Mrs. John Taylor Johnston, and other women of sainted memory, planned for a chapel in a new building, bringing their thousands for it, yet “died without the sight.” Later, others brought their five thousands, — yes, more, one lady giving fifty thousand for a new hospital, where every appliance could be placed to benefit our suffering inmates.
Where are we now? We are having this, our annual meeting, away from our hospital home; and in this beautiful place we are sad in the thought that to us has not been given the building for which we have longed and prayed. Shall our suffering inmates wait longer? Have we been filled with self-seeking that God has withheld the blessing? for, “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”
Source: Woman’s Hospital of the State of New York, Annual Report, Issue 46, 1901, pp. 22-23.
Also: Russell Sage Foundation Records, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, NY