Roosevelt Hospital records

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Identity elements

Reference code

US AA105

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Roosevelt Hospital records


  • 1871-2013 (Creation)


35 boxes; 58 volumes (278.5 inches)

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Roosevelt Hospital was established in 1864 by the terms of the will of James H. Roosevelt (1800-1863), who wished to "establish ... a hospital for the reception and relief of sick and diseased persons and for its permanent endowments." It was incorporated in the State of New York that same year. The Hospital opened in 1871 on West 59th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. It grew over time, adding departments, additional buildings, and a nursing school. At its opening, Roosevelt Hospital was numbered among the most modern hospitals in the country.

Under the terms of James Henry Roosevelt’s will, the hospital was to be a voluntary hospital that cared for individuals regardless of their ability to pay. When he died in 1863, his estate was valued at between $900,000 and one million dollars in cash, securities, and real estate. Through the sale of land owned by Roosevelt in Westchester County, and keen financial planning, the estate trustees increased it to over $1.25 million dollars for the purchase of land and to finance construction of the buildings. In 1866, they purchased a square block of land in what was then the northern outskirts of the city, from West 58th to 59th Streets between Ninth and Tenth Avenues. The cornerstone of the Hospital was laid on October 29, 1869, and the building was opened on November 2, 1871.

The Hospital complex included: a four-story main building, with a service-annex behind it, a five-story medical ward, and single-story men’s surgical ward, all facing West 59th Street from the center to the east end of the plot. A power plant, a mortuary building, pathology lab, and museum stood on the southwest side, facing West 58th Street.

Buildings were added over time to meet the demands for growth and improved facilities. Additions included the Private-Patient Pavilion (1885), the William J. Syms Operating Theatre (1892), the Accident Building and Ward for Sick Children (1899), a Nurses’ Residence (1911), a taller Ward building (1923), the James I. Russell Memorial Surgical Building (1949), the Tower Memorial Building (1953), the School of Nursing (1953), the Garrard Winston Memorial Building (1964), The Arthur J. Antenucci Institute of Medical Research (1986) and a new main hospital facility facing Tenth Avenue (1992).

In 1894, the Board of Trustees decided to establish a proper nurse training program, which opened in 1896. The program was very successful, graduating 2,384 professional nurses, but closed in 1974, bowing to changes in professional education demands and financial strains.

Notable physicians on staff included: Drs. William Halsted, Alonzo Clark, John T. Metcalf, T. Gaillard Thomas, William H. Draper, Francis Delafield, Robert Abbe, Charles McBurney, Evan M. Evans, James I. Russel, and Arthur J. Antenucci.

In 1979, Roosevelt Hospital and the St. Luke's Hospital Center merged forming St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center (SLR). Departments and responsibilities were shifted between the two units so that one or the other hospital was in charge of a particular service over both units. In 1997, St. Luke's-Roosevelt joined with Beth Israel Hospital under the Continuum Health Partners banner, and in 2013 the Continuum group joined with The Mount Sinai Hospital and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to form the Mount Sinai Health System (MSHS). St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals were re-named Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai West.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

Please review the notes under the individual series below. For additional information on that series, go to and enter the OCLC # provided to read the catalog record for that series.

System of arrangement

Materials were not collected in a systematic fashion, but were brought to the medical librarian when they were found on the Hospital premises, or donated by former students or staff or their families. The order of the series and the arrangement within each series was imposed by the archivist.

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

These materials are partially restricted due to the presence of HIPAA-protected information, and other personally identifying information. Contact the Archives ( for more information.

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Finding aids

Generated finding aid

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

The documents comprising this collection of records from Roosevelt Hospital date from the Hospital’s opening in 1871 until its merger with St. Luke’s Hospital Center in 1979. It is unknown when these materials came into the possession of Bolling Memorial Library at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, but it is believed that over the course of time, historical items found in Hospital offices were deposited in the Library for safe-keeping. Roosevelt Hospital records following the 1979 merger are under the record series “St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.” All of the materials were transferred to the Arthur H. Aufses, Jr., MD Archives in 2016, after the 2013 merger of the Continuum Health Partners, Inc. (St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Beth Israel Medical Center and New York Eye and Ear Infirmary) and The Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Immediate source of acquisition

48 patient casebooks were in the possession of the New York Academy of Medicine until the summer of 2019, when they were transferred to the Aufses Archives.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Copies of the annual reports are available on the Internet Archive .

Related archival materials

The J. William Littler Collection, circa 1945-2004 (bulk 1952-1984), held at the New York Academy of Medicine Library.

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Archivist's note

Processed and described by Michala Biondi in February 2018. Finding aid revised by Michala Biondi in August 2018, June 2019, February 2020, and April 2021.

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