Michael Reese Hospital – beginnings

Excerpts from the book All our Lives: A centennial history of Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, 1881-1981, Sarah Gordon, ed.


The first Michael Reese Hospital opened in 1881 at 29th Street and Groveland Park Avenue (renamed Ellis Avenue) in Chicago, at a cost of $60,000 donated from a charitable fund derived from the will of Michael Reese, a Bavarian immigrant who had come to the United States in 1836. The building, constructed of brick and stone, was three stories tall, with beds for 60 patients. For a century after its founding, Michael Reese Hospital became one of the most famous healthcare institutions in America, with recognized excellence in patient care, education, and research.


Michael Reese
“I, Michael Reese, being of sound Mind, and Memory, do make, ordain, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament, written with my own hand. . .”



Michael Reese Hospital Michael Reese Hospital
“To Jakob Rosenberg, and my Dear Sister Henrietta Rosenfeld, of the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, Two Hundred Thousand Dollars in trust to be disbursed by them in such Charities as they may think fit. . . . To my Nephews H. L. Frank and Joseph Frank in trust for an Orphan Asylum in Cleveland, Ohio and other charities in Chicago which I omitted, Fifty Thousand Dollars, which they can use and disburse as they may think fit.” The hospital was designed by architect John Cochrane and constructed at a cost of $60,000. The cornerstone was laid November 4, 1880, and the building opened October 23, 1881.



Michael Reese Lab
The laboratory of Reese, 1900 (Reform Advocate)



Operating Room Operating Room
Operating Room
Three views of the operating room on the top floor of the building (Reform Advocate)



West Side Sispensary: EET clinic
The West Side Dispensary: eye, ear, and throat clinic


Related articles

Michael Reese Hospital – beginnings
Michael Reese Hospital – neighborhood and patients
Michael Reese Hospital – nurses, interns, and residents
Michael Reese Hospital – physicians
Michael Reese Hospital – pediatrics
Michael Reese Archive: comments from our readers



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