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Jewish Consumptives' Relief Society Records

 Collection
Identifier: B002

The Jewish Consumptives' Relief Society was known as the JCRS and was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1904 as a non-sectarian sanatorium to treat tuberculosis (TB) patients, free of charge, in all stages of the disease. The society was one of the leading tuberculosis sanatoria in the country at the turn of the century founded by a group of immigrant Eastern European Jewish men, many of whom were themselves victims of TB. Headed by Dr. Charles Spivak as Secretary (1904-1927) and by Dr. Philip Hillkowitz as President (1904-1948), the sanatorium treated primarily Jewish patients (notably, Solomon Bloomgarden who served as publicity chairman). In 1954 institution changed its mission to cancer research and became American Medical Center; in 1970s renamed AMC Cancer Research Center and Hospital. Today known as AMC Cancer Research Center.

Records highlight immigration history, medical history (particularly tuberculosis treatment), social and women's history, as well as the growth and development of Colorado's Jewish community. The collection includes correspondence, patient records, legal & financial records, scrapbooks, visitor registers, periodicals, minutes, committee reports, newspaper clippings, sound discs, and photographs.

Dates

  • 1897-1989
  • Majority of material found within 1904-1973

Creator

Language of Materials

The records are primarily in English, but some materials are in other languages, including Hebrew, Yiddish, German, and Russian.

Extent

447 Linear Feet (378 containers)

Scope and Contents

The records highlight immigration history, medical history (particularly tuberculosis treatment), social and women's history, as well as the growth and development of Colorado's Jewish community. The collection includes correspondence, patient records, legal & financial records, scrapbooks, visitor registers, periodicals, meeting minutes, committee reports, newspaper clippings, sound discs, and photographs.

Biographical / Historical

The Jewish Consumptives' Relief Society (JCRS) was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1904 as a non-sectarian sanatorium to treat tuberculosis patients. At the turn of the century, tuberculosis, or the ''white plague'' as it was commonly known, was the leading cause of death in the United States. Colorado had already acquired its reputation as the ''world's sanatorium,'' and as a result Denver faced a serious social problem when hundreds of severely ill people converged on the young city. The Jewish community erected the first hospital in Denver for tuberculosis victims, the National Jewish Hospital.

Generally only patients with incipient tuberculosis were admitted to National Jewish. It was also difficult for Orthodox patients in the early years to observe the laws of kashruth as well as Jewish rituals and holidays at National Jewish, which had been largely organized and funded by German Reform Jews. Soon the need for another institution was felt by the Jewish community on Denver's west side. In 1904 the Jewish Consumptives' Relief Society was organized by a group of twenty immigrant tradesmen, primarily to aid Jewish tubercular patients in all stages of the disease. They were assisted by Dr. Charles Spivak, Dr. Philip Hillkowitz, Dr. Adolph Zederbaum, Louis Robinson, Abraham Judlovitz, and noted Yiddish poet Solomon Bloomgarden (Yehoash), as well as many others from Denver's Eastern European Jewish community. Housed originally in wooden ''tent'' cottages, the patients were given the benefits of fresh air and wholesome kosher food. Spivak, an ardent socialist, emphasized that the hospital was to be a ''people's institution'' and was proud of the fact that the institution often collected its funds in dollars and quarters. Both the National Jewish Hospital and the JCRS would receive financial support as well as patients from Jewish communities throughout the United States. In 1954 the JCRS changed its mission to cancer research and became the American Medical Center and is now known as the AMC Cancer Research Center.

Arrangement

The records are organized into 17 series:
  1. Patient Records, 1904-1989
  2. Golden Book of Life, 1903-1964
  3. Bequests, 1908-1958
  4. Photographs, 1900-1979
  5. Publications, 1904-1976
  6. General Papers, 1905-1973
  7. Auxiliary Papers, 1909-1968
  8. Scrapbooks and Newspaper Clippings, 1904-1970
  9. Dr. Spivak, 1897-1928
  10. Administrative Records, 1904-1967
  11. Minutes, 1906-1960
  12. Bound Material, 1944-1963
  13. Ephemera, 1904-1976
  14. Ex-Patients Tubercular Home Records, 1917-1965
  15. Financial Records, 1905-1967
  16. Religious and Material Culture Objects, 1904-1960
  17. Eleanor Roosevelt Institute for Cancer Research, 1955-1960
Patient records are arranged alphabetically, other series chronologically.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428