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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.

The "Lady Doctors" at Rush Medical College

‘Lady Doctors’ at RUSH Medical College

RUSH archivist Nathalie Wheaton will present “Lady Doctors: Women Physicians at RUSH Medical College, 1900-1920,” on Thursday, Jan. 13, noon to 1 p.m. in Armour Academic Center, Room 539.

RUSH Medical College students, including several women, attend a teaching clinic by James B. Herrick, MD, in 1899.

By Nathalie Wheaton

As American women mobilized to obtain the right to vote at the beginning of the 20th century, many rebelled against the separate spheres ideal of femininity and sought equality with men in both the academic and professional arenas.

The Progressive Era, from the 1890s to 1920s, introduced vast social reforms, including standardization of medical education. The Flexner Report of 1910 exposed the disparities in quality among medical schools throughout the country, and called for higher standards for admission and graduation requirements, and more practical student experience.

Women navigated the changing waters as a small but consistent minority and paved the way for future generations of female physicians. Chicago, already world-renowned for its medical community, offered opportunities for women, but few prospered without facing struggles and outright discrimination.

My presentation, “Lady Doctors: Women Physicians at RUSH Medical College, 1900-1920,” includes stories of female medical students and practitioners within the larger contexts of the Progressive Era, the Flexner Report, the growing metropolis of Chicago, and the city’s oldest medical school, RUSH Medical College. Alongside this history, I’ll talk about four women physicians from RUSH’s past, including:

  • Effa V. Davis, MD, assistant clinical professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, RUSH Medical College, 1898-1904, likely RUSH’s first female faculty member.
  • Ruth Tunnicliff, MD, RUSH Medical College, class of 1903, research scientist specializing in bacteriology and immunology.
  • Caroline Hedger, MD, RUSH Medical College, class of 1904, health advocate for women and children.
  • Isabella Coler Herb, MD, chief anesthetist of RUSH Medical College and Presbyterian Hospital, 1909-1941, and the first anesthetist to use ethylene gas during an operation.

“Lady Doctors” is one of several events coinciding with “Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians,” a traveling exhibit from the National Library of Medicine currently being hosted by RUSH. The exhibit, located on the fourth floor of the Atrium, continues through January.

Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS, is assistant archivist for the RUSH University Medical Center Archives. Interested in learning more about the history of RUSH? Contact the RUSH Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

Moses Gunn's Clinic 1887

From the Archives: Professor Gunn’s Clinic, 1887

Moses Gunn, MD, chair of surgery, RUSH Medical College, 1867-1887, conducts a teaching clinic.

By Nathalie Wheaton

This image of a teaching clinic is one of several in RUSH Medical College’s 1895 yearbook, The Pulse. Here Gunn poses with his assistants in 1887, months before his death. His son Malcolm Gunn, RUSH Medical College class of 1890, stands next to the nurse, Miss Headline. Famed physician James B. Herrick is taking notes, second from right.

Joseph Lister’s antiseptic surgical methods and Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch’s germ theory of disease were popularized in the 1870s and were still relatively new phenomena at the time of this photograph.

Accompanying this photograph in the yearbook is a brief remembrance by Herrick, describing Gunn’s clinics. “I knew Dr. Gunn’s clinic when it was in the transition period from the septic to the aseptic condition,” Herrick’s recollection begins. He goes on to quote Professor Gunn: “I don’t know much about the truth or falsity of the statements concerning bacteria … but I do know that if I wash my hands and wash my patient and my instruments, and use carbolic acid and iodoform, I can accomplish results that I never dreamed of fifteen years ago.”

Herrick also remembers Gunn’s personality and wit. “Said he to one of his assistants, ‘Don’t ever hand me as dull a knife again; I could ride from here to Boston and back again on that knife without a saddle.’ The assistant never gave him a dull knife again.”

The Pulse yearbook was reinstated in 1991. Until then, there were only two RUSH Medical College yearbooks produced, 1894 and 1895. They are full of wonderful drawings, photographs, essays, poems and jokes. These two editions will be digitized this year and made available online. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements.

Speaking of digitized documents, if you’re interested in the life and times of Moses Gunn, please read “Memorial Sketches of Doctor Moses Gunn,” which was compiled by his wife, Jane Augusta Terry Gunn and published in 1889.

More information

Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS, is assistant archivist for the RUSH University Medical Center Archives. Do you have a question about RUSH’s history?  Contact the RUSH Archives at 312-942-7214 or or visit us at

The Blizzards of 1967 and 2011

From the Archives: Recalling the Blizzard of ’67

Harrison Street entrance in 1967

By Heather Stecklein

On February 1 and 2, 2011, Chicago experienced the third-heaviest recorded snowfall in its history. RUSH staff members mobilized to maintain excellent patient care in the medical center. RUSH University Medical Center created a sleeping and rest station in the Searle Conference Center for staff, students, and volunteers who opted to stay on campus, and many of the hospital’s services continued without interruption.

This is not the first time that our campus has faced such an imposing storm. Fourty-four years ago, the worst blizzard in Chicago history paralyzed the campus of RUSH (then known as Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital). Unlike the recent blizzard, this storm arrived almost entirely as a surprise. From Jan. 26 to 27, 23 inches of snow fell. Since the city was unprepared for the onslaught, transportation was mostly paralyzed for days. The Chicago Tribune reported over 50,000 cars and 800 CTA buses were abandoned in city streets.

The consequence for our campus was that most of the workforce was unable to travel into or out of campus. Employees rested in lounges and in the nursing school housing on campus. Because the streets were mostly impassible, the hospital landed a helicopter on the Paulina overpass to deliver a pacemaker.

The February 1967 issue of NewsRounds included photos and viewpoints from a variety of staff members.

RUSH would like to collect your stories about RUSH and the blizzard of 2011. We invite all members of the RUSH community to post printed photos and stories on a banner that will be hung in the cafeteria between Tuesday, Feb. 15 and Friday, Feb. 18. The RUSH Archives will collect these documents for its permanent record of RUSH’s response during the storm. If you are unable to participate in this display, but you would like to share your story with the RUSH Archives, please email us at We will collect all of the employees offered by staff, volunteers, students, and patients, and we will maintain them as a collection documenting our institution’s extraordinary work during this storm.

RUSH CEO Larry Goodman, MD, and RUSH President and COO Peter Butler issued the following statement regarding the RUSH community’s response to the blizzard of 2011:

“We would also like to thank everyone who has gone out of their way to ensure that our patients continue to receive excellent care during this weather crisis. Many nurses, doctors, other caregivers have come to RUSH in advance of their shift or stayed overnight at RUSH to ensure adequate staffing. Non-clinical people too — from medical center engineering to food services to transport to name a few services — have made extraordinary efforts to get into RUSH and to provide the support services required for our patient care activities.

We are writing to share our immense gratitude to the RUSH community for your outstanding response during this week’s blizzard. Thanks to the many people who went above and beyond the call of duty, ensuring that our patients continued to receive excellent care during and after the storm.

Despite the severe weather that made travel hazardous and extremely difficult, employees, volunteers and faculty came by foot, car, train and bus from as far away as the outlying suburbs, often arriving at work early, to make sure we had adequate staffing to care for our patients. About 80 employees even arrived by ambulance, thanks to our ambulance service, which picked them up and brought them to the Medical Center.

Co-workers who live near RUSH put up colleagues overnight, and other employees stayed in nearby hotels or bunked down in the makeshift dormitory in the Searle Conference Center. RUSH University students helped cover areas that were short-handed. Many of you temporarily took on new roles, transporting patients, serving meals and cleaning rooms. The leadership of the Hospital Incident Command Structure made sure we were prepared for the storm and guided us through it.

As a result of your extraordinary efforts, patient care continued as usual: Surgeries took place, babies were delivered and patients were cared for in countless ways throughout the Medical Center. In addition to maintaining our clinical services, the sidewalks and entrances were cleared, repairs were made, patient rooms were cleaned, supplies reached caregivers and patients and staff were fed.

It is inspiring to see such dedicated, devoted and selfless employees, students, faculty and volunteers in action. You truly embody what RUSH is about — putting our patients first and foremost and making sure they receive the best possible care.

The number of people who pitched in to provide extra help is so great that unfortunately we cannot name each person and department individually, but please know that your efforts are greatly appreciated.”

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

By Heather Stecklein

In this photo from the RUSH Archives, faculty and students stand on the staircase of the original RUSH Medical College building on what is now the RUSH University Medical Center campus.

The RUSH Medical College building was constructed on the northeast corner of Wood and Harrison streets in 1876. It served as a multipurpose facility.

In addition to classrooms and a lecture amphitheater, the structure included a free dispensary with a large waiting room, a drugstore, 10 consultation rooms for private clinics, professors’ offices, a dissecting room, a museum, and a bedroom and parlor for its live-in janitor.

The building stood at this location for nearly 50 years. It was replaced by the Rawson building in 1924.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Rush Medical College, 1923

From the Archives: RUSH Medical College, 1923

By Heather Stecklein

In this photo from the RUSH Archives, faculty and students stand on the staircase of the original RUSH Medical College building on what is now the RUSH University Medical Center campus.

The RUSH Medical College building was constructed on the northeast corner of Wood and Harrison streets in 1876. It served as a multipurpose facility.

In addition to classrooms and a lecture amphitheater, the structure included a free dispensary with a large waiting room, a drugstore, 10 consultation rooms for private clinics, professors’ offices, a dissecting room, a museum, and a bedroom and parlor for its live-in janitor.

The building stood at this location for nearly 50 years. It was replaced by the Rawson building in 1924.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Edward Lorenzo Holmes, M.D.

Edward Holmes: A Story of Humanitarianism

Edward L. Holmes, portrait by Frederick W. Freer, 1894. Photograph by Steve Gadomski.

By Katelyn Meehan

Being a student in library and information science at Dominican University and coming to the RUSH Archives for an internship, it was difficult for me to understand the complex history of RUSH University Medical Center and how it has evolved into the institution it is today. In the archives, I was exposed firsthand to the people who were involved in the development of RUSH, and the material they created during the process. Having all this exciting knowledge at my fingertips was an amazing experience. But when faced with a mountain of information, how could I uncover just one piece of RUSH’s history?

By processing a collection of someone from RUSH, I found my answer. I was assigned the task of processing the small collection of RUSH Medical College president, instructor and ophthalmologist Edward L. Holmes, 1828-1900. I was presented with a box that contained seemingly random papers, instructions on what to do with the papers, and a note pad to write down my observations about the collection as I examined it.

RUSH’s assistant archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, recently told me, “Everyone has a story; you just have to find it.” The story behind Edward Holmes was his humanitarianism.

While Holmes was a medical pioneer and an educator, I think his greatest impact was his humanitarian efforts. One example of his great work was his founding of the Central Free Dispensary, which was located at RUSH. In his own notes from 1899, Holmes described the Central Free Dispensary as an institution that “was organized in 1867 for the gratuitous treatment of the sick poor and for no other purpose.” Holmes was concerned with providing medical care to those people who needed it regardless if they could pay for it or not. The Central Free Dispensary raised awareness about public health and evolved to become the outpatient service for Presbyterian Hospital in the 1940s and the Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Health Center in 1961.

Another of Holmes’s great humanitarian efforts was the founding of the Chicago Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary in 1858. Again, Holmes gathered the help of other physicians, including the founder of RUSH Medical College, Daniel Brainard, to help establish the infirmary and attempt to meet the needs of the citizens of Chicago. The infirmary provided treatment for patients, mainly poor children, with ear and eye problems. Without the service of the infirmary, many of the children would have been left blind for life. Over the years, the infirmary was taken over by the state of Illinois, becoming the Illinois Charitable Eye and Ear Clinic, and treated an increasing number of patients, including members of the military. After an affiliation with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, in 1943 the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary joined with the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Holmes showed a drive and determination in providing care to patients who needed it. He overcame a lack of staff, a lack of funds, obsolete facilities and equipment, administrative indifference and political obstruction to make a difference in the world. One of the most exciting things that I learned through this discovery of a piece of RUSH’s history was that the humanitarian efforts Holmes made in the 1850s are still making a difference today in 2011.

Katelyn Meehan is pursuing a Master of Information and Library Science degree through Dominican University’s Graduate School of Information and Library Science. She recently ended her semester-long practicum at RUSH University Medical Center Archives.

Do you have a question about RUSH’s History? Contact the RUSH Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

C. Allen Alexander, M.D.

Remembering RUSH Alumnus C. Allen Alexander

By Heather Stecklein

The April Photo of the Month features C. Allen Alexander, who graduated from RUSH Medical College in 1929.

In a 1995 interview with RUSHMD, he recalled that during his clinical rounds in the days before antibiotics, he encountered smallpox, diphtheria and scarlet fever.

He also noted that RUSH required each medical student to deliver 24 babies before graduation.

In 1931, Alexander started his own practice in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He served as a family physician for 46 years and performed surgeries at Bronson Methodist Hospital.

“You became close with patients, and they considered you an advisor and a helper in all kinds of ways,” he said, summarizing his career. “You were invited to their birthday parties and graduations. I hunted and fished with the men. … Those are the days I remember with joy.”

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Oprah Winfrey Visits Rush, 1989

From the Archives: When Oprah Came to RUSH

By Nathalie Wheaton

The final episode of the “Oprah Winfrey Show” will air May 25, which reminded us of an image we had seen in our photograph collection of Oprah visiting RUSH. In May 1989, Winfrey dropped by RUSH-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center to film a cesarean section for her show. Here she is posing with Alberta Wells of RUSH’s Pediatrics Intensive Care Unit.

Do you know more about this photo and Oprah’s visit? The RUSH Archives would love to hear about it!

Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS, is assistant archivist for the RUSH University Medical Center Archives. Do you have a question about RUSH’s history?  Contact the RUSH Archives at (312) 942-7214 or

Dietetics Class, circa 1945

From the Archives: School of Nursing, Circa 1945

During the 1940s, the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing required student nurses to take 48 hours of “nutrition cookery” in their first year of school. Classes took place in the dietetic kitchens of Presbyterian Hospital — now RUSH University Medical Center.

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

Isabella Herb, M.D.

Isabella Herb, First Woman on the Medical Staff

By Sarah Scheinman and Nathalie Wheaton

People often ask the RUSH University Medical Center Archives staff who was the “first” — the first female student of RUSH Medical College, for example, or maybe the first African-American on the hospital staff. The answers are often more complicated than people would like. And sometimes they are impossible to answer definitively. However, one first we’re sure of is the identity of the first woman on staff at Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago. Presbyterian Hospital, founded in 1883 on this campus, was an early predecessor of RUSH University Medical Center.

From 1909 to 1941, Herb was head of the department of anesthesia at Presbyterian Hospital, the first woman to join its medical staff. She also served as the first woman president of the American Association of Anesthetists. In her early career, she practiced as an anesthetist and pathologist in Augustana Hospital in Chicago, working with Lawrence Prince, MD, the major developer of open drop ether and chloroform anesthesia. In 1897, she first published her study surveying 1,000 cases of anesthetics at the hospital, “Observations on One Thousand Consecutive Cases of Anesthesia in the Service of Dr. A. J. Ochsner.

Herb helped develop methods of safe and effective anesthesia including a new type of anesthetic screen to administer ethylene gas. The first use of ethylene gas in obstetrics, 1923, was used during a Cesarean section, as it was found to relieve the pain of childbirth. Herb commented, “It has been found that the judicious administration of ethylene oxygen during labor relieves the pain without retarding the natural processes of childbirth or affecting the mother or baby in any deleterious manner.” (From Presbyterian Hospital’s Bulletin, May 1938.)

She was also a leader in the field of medical education as professor of surgery (anesthesia) at RUSH Medical College, advocating stronger anesthesia programs. In her 1921 publication, “Anesthesia in Relation to Medical Schools and Hospitals,” she writes, “instruction in the art and practice of anesthesia is altogether absent from the curriculum of the majority of medical schools, or totally or inadequately dealt with.”

Herb’s research contributions to the fields of pathology and anesthesia are demonstrated in her publications. Her role as an advocate for the profession is also clearly apparent. “Anesthesia is the one field in the practice of medicine in which there is a seemingly indifference and lack of compensation,” she wrote in “The Anesthetic Problem in its Relation to the Hospital.” Herb, pictured here in a 1936 issue of the Presbyterian Hospital Bulletin, retired in 1941 and died of heart disease in 1943.

Sarah Scheinman  is a Dominican University Library Science student who recently completed a semester-long practicum at the RUSH University Medical Center Archives. Nathalie Wheaton is assistant archivist at the RUSH University Medical Center Archives.

Do you have a question about RUSH’s history? Contact the RUSH Archives at (312) 942-7214 or or visit us at

Remembering Luther Christman

Luther Christman, First RUSH College of Nursing Dean

Christman in 1980

By Nathalie Wheaton

The RUSH Archives has just been notified of the passing of Luther P. Christman, first dean of RUSH University’s College of Nursing. Christman died Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1972, Christman became the first dean of the RUSH University College of Nursing and vice president for nursing affairs at RUSH-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center. With strong administrative support, he moved to implement all the components for his plan for nursing, which would come to be known as the RUSH Model for Nursing.

Christman helped establish the National Male Nurse Association in 1974, which became the American Assembly for Men in Nursing in 1981. He was a strong supporter for the recruitment of male nurses, believing that diversity could make the nursing profession stronger. A gift from the John L. and Helen Kellogg Foundation in 1979 funded at RUSH the first National Center for Excellence in Nursing in the United States. Christman retired from RUSH in 1987.

In 2004, Christman was inducted into the American Nurses Association’s Hall of Fame. In 2007, the American Nurses Association established the Luther Christman Award. The American Assembly for Men in Nursing began awarding its own Luther Christman Award in 1975 to people who have helped further the cause of men in nursing.

Christman graduated from the Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing for Men in 1939, and married nurse Dorothy Black (Dorothy Christman) the same year. He went on to earn a baccalaureate degree from Temple University, 1948, an Ed.M. in clinical psychology from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Institute, and his Ph.D. in Sociology and Anthropology from Michigan State University.

He served as director of nursing at Yankton State Hospital in South Dakota and advisor for the Michigan Department of Mental Health in the 1950s. In the 1960s, he was an associate professor in psychiatric nursing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, then dean of the nursing school and director of nursing at Vanderbilt University. There, he worked to rebuild the school, acquiring substantial funding, developing nursing as an applied science and introducing the practitioner-teacher model.

Although I never had the chance to meet Luther Christman, I had the pleasure of processing his collection in the RUSH Archives a few years ago. A strange thing happens when you go through a person’s papers, their photographs, memos, letters, and other documents. You’re touching what they touched, reading what they read and wrote, and you end up feeling a connection to your subject that you probably don’t get from a simple biography.

Only yesterday, I was telling someone about Christman’s work at RUSH, the barriers he’d faced as a male nurse, and the advancements he’d made in nursing education and the nursing profession. I had such admiration for him and loved to share his story with others. So, it’s with great sadness I learned of his passing today.

We would love to hear your own stories on Luther Christman. Please feel free to contact the RUSH Archives.

Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS, is assistant archivist for the RUSH University Medical Center Archives. Do you have a question about RUSH’s history? Contact the RUSH Archives at (312) 942-7214 or Visit us at

The Luther P. Christman Papers in the RUSH Archives include correspondence; articles, papers, and speeches by Christman; records related to Christman’s time as dean of the nursing schools at Vanderbilt University and RUSH University; and material related to nursing and health care conferences and awards; and photographs. The RUSH Archives also houses related collections, including video and audio of interviews with Christman, the American Assembly for Men in Nursing Records, and the records of the RUSH University College of Nursing.

Rush Medical College Commencement, 1974

RUSH Medical College Commencement, 1974

By Heather Stecklein

In this RUSH Archives image from 1974, John S. Graettinger, MD, dean of Student and Faculty Affairs, carries the ceremonial mace of the university during the commencement processional for RUSH Medical College.

In 1974, RUSH Medical College celebrated its 100th commencement ceremony. It was the first commencement to include RUSH University’s ceremonial mace.

The RUSH University mace was designed by longtime RUSH physician Steven Economou, MD. Each face features the seal of a RUSH University constituent college. Elements of the mace also honor the legacies of RUSH Medical College, St. Luke’s Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital.

The top of the mace includes phoenix wings, which symbolize the rebirth of RUSH Medical College after its dormancy between 1942 and 1969. The RUSH corporate logo rises from within the phoenix wings.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Rush History Goes Digital

RUSH History Book Goes Digital

By Heather Stecklein

Many of the researchers who contact the RUSH Archives ask us for a general history of the institution. Good Medicine: The First 150 Years of RUSH-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, is a solid history of RUSH that includes historical photos and information from a variety of resources in the RUSH Archives. Unfortunately, the book is now out of print, and it is difficult to obtain enough copies to meet demand.

The RUSH Archives is pleased to announce that Good Medicine is now available on the Internet Archive website for downloading or online viewing. Researchers can perform keyword searches of the text on the website or download the entire book in a variety of e-reader formats.

Last September, the RUSH Archives received a Book Digitization Initiative Grant from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. We created a collection of digital books from commonly requested works in our collections. In addition to Good Medicine, the RUSH Archives page on the Internet Archive includes The Pulse RUSH Medical College yearbooks from 1894 and 1895, two early alumni directories, and a variety of publications written by early RUSH Medical College faculty.

The RUSH Archives will be submitting additional proposals for digitization of its book collections. If you have suggestions for RUSH-related items that you would like to see digitized, please contact the RUSH Archives at

RUSH resources:

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Max Samuel Sadove, MD

From the Archives: Max Samuel Sadove, MD

Max Sadove, MD (1914-1997), administers anesthesia during surgery in 1982.

By Heather Stecklein

Max Samuel Sadove, MD, began his career at RUSH as chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology in 1970. After he retired as chair in 1979, he continued as an instructor and researcher at the RUSH Pain Center until 1988. He authored 18 books and performed extensive research on the efficacy of Chinese treatments for pain management.

In 1984, RUSH established the Max S. Sadove Professorship in Anesthesiology to honor Sadove’s “leadership, dedication, service and pioneering research for patients.”

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Historic Newsletters

This weekend, alumni from the RUSH College of Nursing and its predecessors-- St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing, Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing, and Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing--will be visiting our campus.

To celebrate, we have posted issues from newsletters that members of our anniversary classes may have read while they were nursing students.

Please enjoy our gallery of newsletters from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 years ago. (Click on the cover of each item to flip through its pages.)

RUSH Archivists Heather J. Stecklein and M. Nathalie Wheaton will be in Room 1060 of the Armour Academic Center on October 1, 2011 from 1 to 3PM with a display of historic uniforms, artifacts, and publications. We look forward to seeing you then!

Rush Archives Leads Historical Heart Walk Tour

Learn about campus history on this year's Metro Chicago Heart Walk, Sept. 23

This year, The RUSH University Medical Center Archives is making a special contribution to campus efforts for the American Heart Association's Heart Walk. While many RUSH community members are able to attend the main event in Grant Park, some need to remain on campus. As in previous years, RUSH is offering an on-campus route for participants. This year, the RUSH Archives are offering a new option. If you join us at the intersection of Congress and Paulina at 9:30AM on Friday, September 23rd, we will turn your walking route into a walking tour of the historical architecture on campus. We teamed with Heart Walk captain Erin Wysong to create a route that allows us the ideal opportunity to tell you about the history of campus since 1876. We will briefly stop in several locations to show you historical photographs of existing buildings.  The RUSH campus walk is approximately one mile long and our tour will last between 45 and 60 minutes. 

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association's (AHA) signature fundraising event. The money that is raised each year is used to fund research, education and advocacy efforts of the AHA. A team from RUSH University Medical Center will also be participating in the Metro Chicago Heart Walk on Sept. 23 in Grant Park.
Last year, the RUSH team raised more than $40,000 for the AHA. Help the RUSH team meet the 2011 fundraising goal of $50,000 by participating in the Heart Walk. Every participant who raises $50 or more will earn a 2011 RUSH team T-shirt. The Grant Park event offers a one-mile or a three-mile course option. Complementary shuttle bus transportation from the RUSH campus to and from Grant Park is available. At the conclusion of our tour, we will be on hand to speak with team members boarding the buses for Grant Park. 

There is still time to make a tax-deductible donation or to learn more, visit the RUSH team's website at

For more information on the tour, please contact the RUSH Archives at

Rush Football Teams

When RUSH Fielded a Football Team

John E. Schwendener, left, poses with his RUSH football teammates in 1900

By Nathalie Wheaton

In the 1880s, Yale University athletic director Walter Camp transformed a common game rooted in rugby and soccer into modern football. Camp created a new system of rules for the game, and within a few years football became a staple at eastern schools such as Harvard and Yale Universities. Formal football teams spread westward to schools across the country.

Beginning in 1892, RUSH Medical College played against a wide variety of football teams. RUSH faced other colleges, such as the University of Chicago (the Maroons) and Northwestern (the Purple). They also played high school teams and local sports clubs, such as the Chicago Athletic Association.

Small schools like RUSH suffered a distinct disadvantage when they played larger schools. Large universities had significantly more players to choose from, and they drew older, and often larger, students from their professional schools.

The reasons for the demise of RUSH’s sports teams are unclear and may not have been documented. One possible reason the athletics program ended could be related to RUSH Medical College’s affiliation with the University of Chicago, which began in 1898. The last mention of RUSH’s sports teams can be found in a November 16, 1904, Chicago Tribune article which described a RUSH football game against the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

From “Maroons Win Easy Game,” Chicago Tribune, October 10, 1900:

“The Maroon Football Eleven gave the doctors from the RUSH Medical College the worst dose of medicine they have tasted or prescribed in a long time when they ran up a score of 40 to 0 in thirty-five minutes of play yesterday. They were forty bitter pills, but the varsity men had the embryonic physicians by the nose guards and they had to take the dose.”

This information and more was spotlighted in my 2007 exhibit, “Battling for the Honor of ‘Old RUSH’: Sports at RUSH Medical College, 1892-1904.” For more information about RUSH sports teams, please contact the RUSH Archives at (312) 942-7214 or

Nathalie Wheaton is assistant archivist with RUSH University Medical Center.

First Female Residents, St. Luke's Hospital

From the Archives: First Female Residents, 1941

By Heather Stecklein

St. Luke’s Hospital, a predecessor to RUSH University Medical Center, recruited its first female residents in 1941.

Anne Holovachka, MD, was a resident in neuropsychiatry who graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine. Mary Martin, MD, was a Borland Fellow in pathology who graduated from Northwestern Medical School.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

School of Nursing Gym Class, 1920

By Heather Stecklein

In this 1920 photo from the RUSH Archives, nursing students participate in a gymnasium class at the St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing.

The course work at St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1920 included scientific lectures by hospital doctors in anatomy, physiology, pathology and dietetics.

In addition, the curriculum required practical courses including gymnasium exercises, social dance and massage.

The St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing is a predecessor to the RUSH College of Nursing. It operated on South Michigan Avenue from 1886 to 1956.

Armour Patient Ward, 1898

By Heather Stecklein

In this 1898 photo, Arthur Dean Bevan, MD, visits patients in the Armour Ward of Presbyterian Hospital.

Starting in the earliest days of Presbyterian Hospital, members of the Armour family endowed beds for patients who could not afford medical care. In 1889, the family endowment grew to the 10-bed ward pictured. Whenever a bed became available in this ward, the patient who occupied it received free treatment.

Presbyterian Hospital is a predecessor to RUSH University Medical Center. It opened in 1883 on what is now the RUSH campus.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with RUSH University Medical Center. You can contact the RUSH Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Christmas at ST. Luke's Hospital, 1946

From the Archives: Christmas at St. Luke’s, 1946

Members of the St. Luke’s Hospital staff donned costumes to perform “Twas the Night Before Christmas” for other employees in December of 1946. St. Luke’s Hospital was a predecessor of RUSH University Medical Center.

You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Maps and Directions