Jewish Maternity Hospital (New York, N.Y.)

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Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Jewish Maternity Hospital (New York, N.Y.)

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Description area

Dates of existence

History

The Jewish Maternity Hospital, located at 270 East Broadway on the Lower East Side, was established in 1906. The Hospital played an important role in introducing modern maternity care to first-generation immigrants unfamiliar with a hospital setting.

Both the Jewish Maternity Hospital and the Beth Israel Hospital were charter members of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies at its founding in 1917. In 1927, Federation officers looking to consolidate the Federation’s medical activities in lower Manhattan proposed a merger of the two institutions. Under the proposed terms of the merger, the Jewish Maternity Hospital would share space in the new Beth Israel Hospital building that was then under construction on Stuyvesant Square. In exchange, Beth Israel, in difficult financial circumstances owing to cost overruns on the construction project, would receive access to a $700,000 fund that had previously been earmarked for a new Maternity Hospital building. After a series of sometimes contentious negotiations, the merger was agreed upon in late 1929, and the two institutions formally affiliated in 1930.

The final text of the affiliation agreement has not been found, and few records of the period 1930-1945 survive from either institution. This makes it difficult to reconstruct the exact history of the Jewish Maternity Hospital in the years following the affiliation. An Obstetric Service was established at Beth Israel Hospital in 1933, and it appears that the staff and resources of the Maternity Hospital were gradually transferred to Beth Israel and absorbed by this service. By 1936, obstetrical services for patients at the Maternity Hospital had been moved to Beth Israel, but patient registration and prenatal clinics were still taking place at the location on East Broadway.

The Jewish Maternity Hospital continued to exist as a separate corporate body throughout the decade, and as late as 1940 the East Broadway location was still listed in New York City medical directories as the Hospital’s primary street address. The affiliation agreement appears to have stipulated the construction of a new Maternity Hospital adjacent to Beth Israel, but despite the purchase of a lot on East 17th Street, this building was never completed. The East Broadway building was sold in 1943 and became a home for retired rabbis.

In 1946 the Beth Israel Hospital and the Jewish Maternity Hospital were legally merged into a single corporate body, the Beth Israel Hospital Association. By the following year, all remaining facilities of the Maternity Hospital had been absorbed into the Obstetric Service of the Beth Israel Hospital.

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Authority record identifier

NA0322

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Local

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Final

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Partial

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Sources

“2 Hospitals Merge on Lower East Side,” New York Times 12/20/1929
Annual Report, Beth Israel Hospital, 1947
“Hospital to House Rabbis,” New York Times 7/5/1943
Joselit, Jenna Weisman. The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture, 1880-1950 (Macmillan, 2002), p. 65
Minutes of the Board of Trustees, Beth Israel Hospital, 1927-1929, 1934-1936

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