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National Jewish Health (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 1257 Collections and/or Records:

Texas - El Paso - Federation, 1960-1969

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0007.0034
Abstract Correspondence regarding the El Paso, Texas federation
Dates: 1960-1969

Texas, San Angelo - Federation, 1950-1960

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0028.0020
Abstract Correspondence related to fundraising efforts for the San Angelo, Texas federation
Dates: 1950-1960

Texas, San Antonio - Federation, 1950-1960

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0028.0022
Abstract Correspondence related to fundraising efforts regarding the San Antonio, Texas federation
Dates: 1950-1960

Texas - Tyler - Federation, 1960-1969

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0007.0035
Abstract Correspondence regarding the Tyler, Texas federation
Dates: 1960-1969

Th, 1971-1972

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0026.0080
Abstract Correspondence related to companies and persons starting with the letters ''Th''
Dates: 1971-1972

Trustee Elections, 1960

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0017.0067
Scope and Contents From the Collection: The collection includes annual reports, correspondence, limited patient records, meeting minutes, financial statements, reports, scrapbooks, photographs, sound discs, and objects from 1899 to 2009. The items reveal patient demographics and characteristics as well as detailed information regarding the early treatment of tuberculosis.
Dates: 1960

Trustees, 1960

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0017.0068
Scope and Contents From the Collection: The collection includes annual reports, correspondence, limited patient records, meeting minutes, financial statements, reports, scrapbooks, photographs, sound discs, and objects from 1899 to 2009. The items reveal patient demographics and characteristics as well as detailed information regarding the early treatment of tuberculosis.
Dates: 1960

Trustees Fund, 1952-1972

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0024.0024
Abstract Correspondence related to the trustees' fund
Dates: 1952-1972

Trustees - National and Resident, 1967

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0009.0021
Abstract committee rosters, biographies, memorandums regarding the Board of Trustees
Dates: 1967

Trustees - National and Resident, 1968

 File
Identifier: B005.01.0010.0035
Abstract materials regarding the Board of Trustees, national and resident
Dates: 1968