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National Jewish Hospital (U.S.)

 Organization

In the late nineteenth century, Denver, Colorado, faced a severe social problem when hundreds of people severely ill with tuberculosis converged on the city, attracted by the reputation Denver had already acquired as the "world's sanatorium." Because of the onslaught of consumptives, beds for patients in city and state general hospitals were so scarce that the poor were frequently left to their own devices, often dying in the streets. One of the first people to conceive of a free hospital for the indigent tuberculosis victims in Denver was Frances Wisebart Jacobs. She launched a relentless campaign to arouse public awareness on behalf of the indigent consumptives, seeking the support of business people and political leaders to raise funds for a new hospital. Jacobs found an ally in a young rabbi, William Sterne Friedman. Rabbi Friedman enlisted the financial support of some of the trustees of his congregation, Temple Emanuel, insisting that concern for the sick and indigent had always been a vital tenet of Jewish tradition. The original hospital, the Frances Jacobs Hospital, was not completed because of the silver panic of 1893. The hospital received financial assistance from the International Order of B'nai B'rith. This vital support came mainly through the efforts of Louis Anfenger, a local Jewish citizen who was also a founder of both Temple Emanuel and the Denver chapter of B'nai B'rith. National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives (NJH) opened its doors to Jews and gentiles alike in 1899 as the first sanatorium in Denver for tuberculosis victims. Samuel Grabfelder of Louisville, Kentucky served as president from 1899-1920; Seraphine Pisko was executive secretary (Director) from 1911-1938. Some of the physicians associated with the hospital included Dr. Saling Simon, Dr. Robert Levy, and Dr. John Elsner. The NJH adopted a program that emphasized the benefits of fresh air, proper nutrition, and rest.

As a result of national support, NJH introduced a revolutionary concept to tuberculosis treatment by offering free services to indigent consumptives. The motto was, "None can pay who enter, and None who enter can pay." Only patients with incipient tuberculosis, where treatment could be most effective, were to be admitted to NJH, and the length of stay was limited to six months. These conditions reflect the medical opinion of the time and the scarcity of hospital beds for consumptives. It was commonly thought that attempting to treat advanced cases only wasted time and money that could be more profitably directed toward patients who had a good chance of recovery. National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives changed its name several times, subsequently being known as National Jewish Hospital (1925-1964) and later becoming National Jewish Hospital and Research Center (1965-1977), National Jewish Hospital/National Asthma Center (after merging with National Asthma Center in 1978), and National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine (1986-1996). In 1997, the organization changed its name to the National Jewish Medical and Research Center and focused on lung, allergic and immune diseases. It was renamed National Jewish Health in July 2008. The facility continues to treat patients from throughout the country, using cutting-edge medicine and research.

Found in 19 Collections and/or Records:

Biographical Newspaper Clippings and Speech, between 1900-1942

 File
Identifier: B242.01.0001.0001
Abstract The folder include photocopies of the 1899-1900 and 1900-1901 Jewish Year Book entries for Seraphine Pisko as president of the Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Society and president of the Jewish Relief Society, a photocopy of a Denver Times newspaper clipping about Seraphine Pisko's fundraising efforts for National Jewish Hospital (1901), a photocopy of her obituary in the Rocky Mountain News (1942), and a facsimile transcription of a speech (circa 1931) written to honor her at an anniversary party...
Dates: between 1900-1942

Biographical Newspaper Clippings and Speech, 1900-1942

 Series
Identifier: B242.01
Scope and Contents Materials include photocopies of the 1899-1900 and 1900-1901 Jewish Year Book entries for Seraphine Pisko as president of the Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Society and president of the Jewish Relief Society, a photocopy of a Denver Times newspaper clipping about Seraphine Pisko's fundraising efforts for National Jewish Hospital (1901), a photocopy of her obituary in the Rocky Mountain News (1942), and a facsimile transcription of a speech written to honor her at her 75th birthday party in 1936.
Dates: 1900-1942

Blazing the Trail: An Early History of Denver’s Jewish Community, 2009

 Item
Identifier: B230.03.0023.00007
Abstract Brief description of several early Jewish leaders of commerce, philanthropy, religion, and community as well as several Jewish lawyers, doctors, merchants, and politicians in Colorado.
Dates: 2009

Bronze Statue of Frances Wisebart Jacobs, circa 1987

 Item
Identifier: B063.03.0011.00102
Abstract Bronze statue is an artist's rendering of Frances Wisebart Jacobs holding her bag of soaps and medicines. The plaque affixed to the base of statue explains Jacob's ties with National Jewish Hospital, which was founded in her memory. The statue is located in the National Jewish Center, Denver, Colo.
Dates: circa 1987

Bronze Statue of Frances Wisebart Jacobs, circa 1987

 Item
Identifier: B063.08.0039.00051
Abstract Bronze statue is an artist's rendering of Frances Wisebart Jacobs holding her bag of soaps and medicines. The plaque affixed to the base of statue explains Jacob's ties with National Jewish Hospital, which was founded in her memory. The statue is located in the National Jewish Center, Denver, Colo.
Dates: circa 1987

Dedication of the Frances Wisebart Jacobs Sculpture, 1987

 Item
Identifier: B063.05.0038.00044
Abstract Jean and Milton Morris pose with the sculptress around the Frances Wisebart Jacobs sculpture during its dedication at National Jewish Hospital.
Dates: 1987

Dedication of the Frances Wisebart Jacobs Sculpture, 1987

 Item
Identifier: B063.05.0038.00045
Abstract Relatives of Frances Wisebart Jacobs stand around the Frances Wisebart Jacobs statue in National Jewish Hospital during the dedication of the sculpture.
Dates: 1987

Frances Wisebart Jacobs, between 1880-1890

 Item
Identifier: B148.03.0006.00001
Abstract Frances Wisebart Jacobs in an oval portrait of her head and shoulders. Frances Wisebart Jacobs came to Colorado as a young bride in 1863, and she and her husband, Abraham Jacobs, made their first home in Central City, Colorado. After the family relocated to Denver, Colorado, she became known in the local Jewish and general community and nationally as Denver's ''Mother of Charities'' for her central role in philanthropy. She was an officer in several charitable organizations and helped to found...
Dates: between 1880-1890

Golda Meir and the Korngolds, 1914

 Item
Identifier: B063.05.0021.00003
Abstract Future Israeli prime minister Golda Meir (center) stands with her sister and brother-in-law, Shana and Sam Korngold, and their daughter, Judith. The formal portrait was taken in Denver, Colorado.
Dates: 1914

Growing up in Early Colorado: The Lives of Jewish Children, 1860-1940, 2012

 Item
Identifier: B230.03.0023.00010
Abstract Brief biographies of Jewish men and women who grew up in Jewish communities in Colorado. Contains historical photographs and interviews with people describing their childhoods.
Dates: 2012