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Rush University Medical Center Archives

Welcome to the Rush University Medical Center Archives. The Rush Archives, a department of the Library of Rush University Medical Center, is the official archival agency of Rush University Medical Center and Rush University.

Keith Haring Murals

Artist Keith Haring paints mural at RUSH in 1989.

Artist Keith Haring paints mural at RUSH in 1989.

By Nathalie Wheaton

RUSH University Medical Center is the proud owner of two Keith Haring murals, one of which can be found on the fourth floor of the Atrium and features a heart motif. The other mural is nearby.

If you are on the fourth floor of the Atrium, head north in the direction of Kellogg instead of south in the direction of the Armour Academic Center and Jelke. When you get to the end of the hallway, you can see the mural just around the corner. It features some of Haring’s popular cartoon animals. Both of the murals were painted for and donated to the Children’s Service.

Haring painted these murals May 21, 1989. The week before, he painted other murals in the Chicago area, including murals at Wells High School and in Grant Park. We have not found any information about whether the murals at RUSH were named. We believe they were untitled like many of his other works.

In the June 1989 issue of RUSH’s newsletter, NewsRounds, he is quoted as saying, “I could earn a lot more money by only painting and selling canvases, but I really enjoy creating murals for children.”

Sadly, the March 1990 issue of NewsRounds included a notice on the death of Keith Haring, who died of AIDS-related complications February 16, 1990. He was only 31.

Nathalie Wheaton is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. Do you have a question about the history of RUSH? Please contact the RUSH Archives.

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Anderson

January Photo of the Month — RUSH Archives

by Nathalie Wheaton

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Anderson, 1945

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Anderson, 1945

Each month, the RUSH Archives selects a photo from its collection offering a glimpse of RUSH University Medical Center‘s history, which dates back to 1837.

This 1945 photo features accounting firm founder Arthur Andersen and his wife, who donated to the medical library of St. Luke’s Hospital in honor of Dr. Arthur Elliott, chairman of the library committee.

Arthur Andersen bought out The Audit Company of Illinois to form Andersen, DeLany & Co. in 1918. We now know the company as Accenture. St. Luke’s Hospital merged with Presbyterian Hospital in 1958 to form Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital, which would later become RUSH University Medical Center.

Janet Wolter's Lifetime of Healing

Lifetime of Healing: Janet Wolter, MD, Retires

By Kevin McKeough

When Janet Wolter, MD, first began practicing medicine, the polio vaccine hadn’t yet been discovered, and cancer was so feared that it wasn’t discussed openly.

By the time she retired as Brian Piccolo Chair of Cancer Research and professor of internal medicine at RUSH at the end of November 2009, Wolter had provided thousands of cancer patients with hope and made important contributions to the advances that have transformed cancer care and outcomes.

To honor Wolter, RUSH is hosting a seminar of former residents and fellows on Feb. 27 and will name a new teaching area after her. The Janet Wolter, MD, Clinical and Educational Conference Room will provide a comfortable, high-tech home for the education of residents and fellows and for collaboration among clinicians of various specialties. The room will be built as part of the renovation of the 10th floor of the Professional Building later this year to house RUSH’s new outpatient cancer center. The educational focus of these tributes reflects Wolter’s enduring influence on generations of physicians.

“She served as a role model, for me and many other oncologists who trained at RUSH; for our internal medicine residents and students; and especially for many female physicians,” says Philip Bonomi, MD, Alice Pirie Wirtz professor of medical oncology and director of hematology-oncology at RUSH, who trained with Wolter as an oncology fellow. “She’s a very fastidious physician who has taken excellent care of patients. There’s no one better,” Bonomi continues. “On Monday mornings, the oncology team goes through new cases, and to this day her remarks are incredibly insightful and pertinent, not only in breast cancer but other cases.”

Seventh Grade Plans

A native of River Forest, Wolter declared her intention to be a doctor in a seventh grade essay. In the late 1940s, she first came to what would become RUSH during a clerkship at Presbyterian Hospital while attending the University of Illinois College of Medicine. (Presbyterian eventually merged with both St. Luke’s Hospital and RUSH Medical College to form what now is RUSH University Medical Center.) World War II had just ended when she was accepted into medical school.

Janet Wolter, MD, in 1954, when she was chief resident at the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital.

Janet Wolter, MD, in 1954, when she was chief resident at the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital.

“A lot of the guys weren’t out of the service yet,” Wolter recalls. “In my class of 165, 21 were women, but the next year when everybody came back from the war, it went down to four women and 161 men.”

After receiving her medical degree in 1950, Wolter completed training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Duke University Hospital, the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital before joining the U of I faculty. There, she treated polio patients, who were confined in iron lungs that enabled them to breathe.

“All the equipment back then was big and rigid and heavy,” Wolter remembers. “We had no computers. Electrocardiograms (EKGs) were done on photographic paper, and every floor in a hospital had a darkroom where you’d develop the EKG .”

The advent of the polio vaccine in the mid-’50s eventually led to the end of her program, and Wolter joined the Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital faculty in 1963 to collaborate with pioneering physician Samuel G. Taylor III, MD , in his work treating cancer patients with hormones and chemotherapy. “It wasn’t even called oncology. There wasn’t even a name for it then,” she remembers. “There really wasn’t anything that could be called cancer care. If the surgeon couldn’t remove the tumor, that was it.”

Over the coming decades, the field advanced with the development of chemotherapy and radiation, hormone and targeted therapies. While her early experience included all kinds of cancer, Wolter’s primary focus has been breast cancer, an interest that ultimately led to her role in RUSH opening the first comprehensive breast center in the Midwest. After remaining largely unchanged from 1930 to 1990, breast cancer death rates decreased by 27 percent from 1990 to 2005, according to the American Cancer Society.

Making a Difference: Comprehensive Care

One of Wolter’s greatest satisfactions is the role she’s played in this progress. She served on the executive committee and board of directors of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Program, a National Cancer Institute-supported cooperative group of researchers conducting clinical trials of cancer treatments, and she was the principal investigator for the RUSH arm of the program from 1989 until January 2010.

“I’ve put hundreds of patients on their clinical trials, which helped us define not only what hormones are going to work and how long we should administer them, but all kinds of combinations of chemotherapy,” Wolter reflects. “These are things that nobody can claim as personal triumphs, but you get a lot of satisfaction from being part of the answer.” Bonomi credits Wolter with another important innovation in cancer care. “She had the idea of having nurse specialists in oncology working in tandem with oncologists and began training them 35 years ago or more, long before medicine had nurse practitioners,” he says. In addition, Wolter took the initiative in establishing the RUSH Pigmented Lesion Clinic in the mid-1970s, and she served until her retirement as the clinic’s medical director. The multidisciplinary clinic provides preventive screening for skin cancer and sees about 500 patients a year. In treating her patients, Wolter combined the pursuit of medical advances with compassionate, personal attention. She routinely gave patients her home phone numbers — “they never abused it, and it meant so much to them” — and maintained an optimistic outlook.

“As soon as patients have a little bit of hope, they feel better,” Wolter notes. “She’s the ultimate doctor: She’s caring, she’s knowledgeable, she has a great sense of humor, and she’s always available,” says Juliana, a Chicagoan in her 40s who has been a patient of Wolter since being diagnosed with cancer in 1989. Juliana credits Wolter with keeping her alive and for tailoring her ongoing chemotherapy regimen to reduce its side effects and to give her more time with her husband and three children.

“There are no words to describe what she’s done for me and my family,” Juliana says. “She’s even met with each of my children individually to address their concerns. That’s how she treats all her patients. She makes each person feel special. Having her as a doctor fills you with hope and strength.” Wolter’s deep dedication to her patients kept her working 50-hour weeks into her 80s.

“I love it,” she says “All these people are so interesting, and they’re so grateful for whatever you do for them. It’s the most satisfying thing you can do.” Even in retirement, Wolter isn’t leaving RUSH or medicine behind entirely. She plans to help the oncology research program with regulatory issues, working from her Chicago home.

“We’ve told her she can do as muchor as little as she wants, and we hope she will continue to serve as an advisor,” Bonomi says. “She can’t be replaced, no question about it,” he adds. “But even though she may not be here, the things we’ve learned from her will continue to help us in taking care of patients, doing clinical research and maintaining the highest standard of integrity.”

Remembering the Work of Leonidas Berry, M.D.

Remembering the Work of Dr. Leonidas Berry

Berry receives the RUSH Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1987.

By Nathalie Wheaton and Rene Ruzicka

Gastroenterologist Leonidas H. Berry was born in 1902 in Woodsdale, North Carolina. He earned his M.D. from RUSH Medical College in 1929, when RUSH was affiliated with  the University of Chicago. In 1933, he received his M.S. degree in pathology from the University of Illinois Medical School. He was the first black physician appointed to the medical attending staffs at Cook County Hospital and Michael Reese Hospital.

Berry offered contributions in the field of gastroenterology, including the creation of the Eder-Berry biopsy gastroscope in 1955. He set up one of the first gastroscopy clinics in the United States while serving as chairperson of the Gastroenterology Division of Provident Hospital. And he was the first American physician to use the fiber-optic gastro-camera.

He authored almost a hundred articles and contributed to 12 books and monographs, including the comprehensive textbook Gastrointestinal Pan-Endoscopy. Additionally, he authored a genealogical history of his family entitled, I Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ For My Journey: Two Centuries of an Afro-American Minister’s Family, which was published in 1982.

Berry received many honors and awards, including the Rudolph Schindler Award from the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in 1977 and RUSH’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1987. In 1989, the NAACP awarded him the Freedom Award for Public Service, and in 1991 he received the Trustee Medal of Honor from RUSH Medical College. Berry was president of the National Medical Association in 1965. That same year, President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to the National Advisory Council for the Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke Program. A society in Berry’s name, the Leonidas H. Berry Society for Digestive Diseases, was established in 1980.

In addition to his achievements in the field of gastroenterology, Berry was dedicated to civil rights, anti-drug initiatives, and cultural exchange programs.

The RUSH Archives is proud to hold some of the papers of Leonidas H. Berry, including correspondence, writings, programs, awards, and photographs.  For more information, you can find a finding aid for his collection through the RUSH Archives website.

If you would like to see the Leonidas H. Berry Papers or have any questions about the history of RUSH, email

Rush Teas

From the Archives: Tea Times at RUSH

An afternoon tea at St. Luke’s Hospital Training School for Nurses in February of 1954.

By Heather Stecklein

This spring, RUSH University President Larry Goodman and Mrs. Goodman instituted a new series of University Student Faculty Teas at the Robert W. Sessions House of RUSH University.

The teas take place on the second Wednesday of each month and serve as an opportunity for faculty and students to socialize and enjoy a presentation from one of their peers.

These teas follow in a long tradition of teas on this campus. The Presbyterian Hospital founded at the corner of Congress and Harrison and acted as RUSH’s medical center for nearly 70 years. During the 1940s, it honored volunteers with special teas. (This reproduction of an article from the May/June/July 1944 Presbyterian Hospital Bulletin discusses one such tea.)

RUSH also has a strong tradition of training nurses, and two of the College of Nursing’s predecessor schools provided students with a daily afternoon tea.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist/librarian with the RUSH Archives. Contact the RUSH University Medical Center Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

Featured Photo-Near Loop Hoop Classic 1985

March Photo of the Month — RUSH Archives
by Heather Stecklein

RUSH's 1985 basketball team

In 1985, the RUSH-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical College basketball team defeated rival University of Illinois-Chicago in the first annual Near Loop Hoop Classic. The RUSH team won the Traveling Challenge Cup by a 44-40 score.

Featured Photo--Rush's Neighborhood, 1948

April Photo of the Month – RUSH Archives

RUSH’s Neighborhood, 1948

A streetcar travels up Harrison Street just to the west of the RUSH University Medical Center campus in 1948.

A streetcar travels up Harrison Street just to the west of the RUSH campus in 1948.

This photo is facing northeast (with the RUSH campus in the background at right) at the corner of Harrison Street and Ogden Avenue. The elevated track in the left background stood on the current site of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Do you have a question about the history of RUSH? Please contact the RUSH Archives.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist/librarian with the RUSH Archives. Contact the RUSH University Medical Center Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

Featured Photo--Louis Gdalman Day, 1980

May Photo of the Month – RUSH Archives

By Heather Stecklein

Louis Gdalman served RUSH for over 40 years as an educator and a practitioner in medicine and pharmacology.

He contributed significantly to the Poison Control Center at RUSH and served as a stimulus for the creation of the poison control programs throughout the United States. The state of Illinois celebrated Louis Gdalman Day on March 19, 1980.

In this photo, RUSH-Presbyterian-St. Lukes Medical Center President James Campbell, M.D. presents Louis Gdalman, R.Ph. with a plaque in Room 500.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist/librarian with the RUSH Archives. Contact the RUSH University Medical Center Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

Featured Photo--Graduates, 1975

June Photo of the Month — RUSH Archives

by Heather Stecklein

The first graduates of the RUSH College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences gather for a group photo in June of 1975. This year, the RUSH University Commencement takes place on Saturday, June 12, at the UIC Pavilion.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist/librarian with the RUSH Archives. Contact the RUSH University Medical Center Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

Centennial of Sickle Cell Anemia Discovery at Rush

Centennial of Sickle Cell Discovery by RUSH Alum

James B. Herrick, MD, in 1910

By Nathalie Wheaton
Librarian, assistant archivist

A hundred years ago, a momentous discovery occurred on the RUSH campus:  James B. Herrick, MD, identified sickle cell anemia. Herrick was a 1888 graduate of RUSH Medical College and became a faculty member at his alma mater. Herrick also served on the Presbyterian Hospital staff as a specialist in cardiovascular diseases for most of his career.

In 1908, a patient from Grenada entered Presbyterian Hospital with several medical complaints including weakness, fatigue and ulcers on his legs. “Routine” blood work was a relatively new concept, and this patient’s sample was like nothing Herrick’s intern, Ernest E. Irons, MD, had ever seen. The blood cells had a crescent-like shape.

Herrick and Irons treated this patient for over two years, and Herrick published “Peculiar Elongated and Sickle-Shaped Red Blood Corpuscles in a Case of Severe Anemia” in 1910. Although sickle cell anemia is common among Africans and prevalent among Americans of African descent, this was the first time this disorder was described in Western medical literature.

Herrick was a presence at RUSH for over 50 years and embodied the RUSH ideals of patient care, medical education and scientific research.  He attended RUSH Medical College as a student when the curriculum consisted of two short years of study. Students learned through lectures and observation of clinics in amphitheaters.

As a faculty member, Herrick advocated educating RUSH’s students in the wards themselves, where they could get first-hand experience diagnosing and treating patients alongside their mentors. He also was a witness of and participant in the shift of medicine from observation to scientific research, using new theories and technologies as they became available.

The RUSH University Medical Center Archives is proud to house the James Bryan Herrick Papers. His collection contains almost 100 of his articles, mostly on cardiology but also medical education. Herrick also wrote articles on non-medical topics such as literature and history.

Interested in learning more about Herrick and his collection? Contact the RUSH Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

Ask the Archivist--Johnston R. Bowman Center

Ask the Archivist: RUSH’s J.R. Bowman Center

By Heather Stecklein

During a recent walking tour of campus conducted by the archives, three RUSH University Medical Center employees asked the following question: “The Johnston R. Bowman Health Center is distinct in mission and location from the rest of the clinical services on campus? What brought the JRB to our campus, and when was it built?” Here’s the answer:

The Johnston R. Bowman Health Center at RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago

The Johnston R. Bowman Health Center's two towers can be seen in the lower left corner of this 1977 photo.

During the first half of the 20th century, the Bowman Dairy Co. was one of the largest suppliers of dairy products in the Chicago area. In 1966, the Dean Foods Co. purchased the Bowman Dairy Co. Soon after, Lula Bowman, the widow of Bowman Dairy founder Johnston R. Bowman, died.

She bequeathed funds for the creation of a nonprofit organization (the Johnston R. Bowman Home Corp.) that would orchestrate the establishment of a world-class elder care center in Chicago. The corporation asked for proposals from a variety of area health care institutions, and the plan submitted by RUSH impressed the selection committee more than the other nine contenders.

“The Medical Center’s proposal was an innovative one with a great understanding of the needs of the community,” the committee’s president remarked. “The keystone of this proposal has been to keep older people members of the community and to enable them to continue to fulfill an active role.”

The proposal included residential space, but the center was never intended to be a long-term care facility. Instead, the enduring mission of the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center is to transfer its patients from treatment into the most independent lives possible. Construction on the JRB in began 1975, and it was officially opened on Nov. 1, 1976.

Since its founding, the center has developed some of the premier treatment programs in the United States. Most recently, Johnston R. Bowman Center Stroke Rehabilitation Program became the only stroke program in Chicago to be certified as a “Stroke Specialty Program” by the Committee on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.

At the JRB’s dedication service in 1977, RUSH President James A. Campbell, MD, declared that the center would demonstrate that “the future of the elderly lies not in their isolation, but their incorporation into all the possibilities of a full and good life.” That commitment to bringing geriatric patients to the fullest lives possible endures today, and the continuing excellence of JRB’s programs promises that its mission will continue for many decades to come.

Since we chose their question for this column, Janet Wilson, Karen Lukaszewski and Gayle Shier will each receive a free 8 x 10 print of their choice from the RUSH Archives’ collection of over 6,000 historical photographs. If you would like a chance for a free photograph, e-mail your question about RUSH’s history to the RUSH Archives at

Heather Stecklein is an archivist/librarian with the RUSH Archives. Contact the RUSH University Medical Center Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

Employee Fitness Day, 1983

August Photo of the Month – RUSH Archives

by Heather Stecklein

Employee Fitness Day, October 26, 1983

This 1983 photo shows an aerobics class in RUSH’s Schweppe-Sprague Auditorium. Today, RUSH’s Employee Health Services offers a variety of fitness classes, including line dancing, yoga and pilates.

Medical Kit donation, 1971

September Photo of the Month — RUSH Archives

by Heather Stecklein

Chauncey B. Borland (left) and RUSH Medical College Dean Mark H. Lepper, MD (right), present a 75-year-old medical kit to the college in this 1971 photo.

Medical kit donation, 1971

Chauncey B. Borland (left) and RUSH Medical College Dean Mark H. Lepper, MD (right), present a 75-year-old medical kit to the college in this 1971 photo.

The kit was made for Borland — a longtime trustee of St. Luke’s Hospital — by a New York pharmacy to take to Canada. It contains 69 different elements used for medicine during that era and is now housed in the RUSH University Medical Center Archives.

Alumnae banquet, 1923

October Photo of the Month – RUSH Archives

In this 1923 photo, alumni gathered for the first annual dinner of the Alumnae Association of St. Luke’s Training School for Nurses.

Graduates from the classes of 1890 to 1922 attended, and the graduating class of 1923 received special honors.

Tickets to the event were $3 each. The festivities included dinner, speakers and music. The dinner had a turnout of 150 guests and its organizers considered it a great success.

Each October, the RUSH-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Nurses Alumni Association continues the tradition of an annual gathering of nursing alumni. Its homecoming events will take place on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Contact the RUSH Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Private Ambulance, circa 1920

November Photo of the Month — RUSH Archives

by Nathalie Wheaton

This photo, from about 1920, shows Presbyterian Hospital’s “private ambulance” parked at the entrance. Also in the picture, taken by Gehrig Studios on Madison Street, are an unidentified driver and two attendants. Presbyterian Hospital later became part of RUSH University Medical Center.

Kwanzaa at Rush, 1973

December Photo of the Month – Kwanzaa at RUSH

by Heather Stecklein

In this 1973 photo, employees spread the mkeka with mazao and light the seven candles of the kinara for a Kwanzaa celebration at the annual RUSH-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s employee holiday party. Kwanzaa is observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

Do you have a question about the history of RUSH? Contact the RUSH Archives at or (312) 942-7214.

Maps and Directions