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Rush University Medical Center Archives: Institutional Records

Welcome to the Rush University Medical Center Archives. The Rush Archives, a department of the Library of Rush University Medical Center, is the official archival agency of Rush University Medical Center and Rush University.

Institutional Records in the Rush Archives

The Rush University Medical Center Archives holds the records of not only our current Medical Center and University, but also several predecessor schools and hospitals. To learn more about either Rush or a predecessor institution, click one of the following green tabsThis will give you a brief history of your selected institution and links to its collection guides and online collections.

Explore Our Collections

Rush records (1969-present) include the non-medical and non-student records of Rush University Medical Center (Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center), Rush University, their departments and committees. The following lists of collections are a limited sample of the materials in the Rush Archives. Please contact the archivist for more information.

(For the records of predecessor schools and hospitals (pre-1969), please explore the green tabs above.)

-Good Medicine: The First 150 Years of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center (a history of our institution, written for the Sesquicentennial of Rush in 1987).

-The History of Rush University (an overview of the history of Rush University, written for the Higher Learning Commission in 2007).

-Rush Annual Reports since 1970.

-NewsRounds (Rush's long-running newsletter since 1963).

-Yearbooks and Student Picture Books from Rush University and its colleges.

Contact the archivist for more information about the following Rush Institutional Records:

  • Office of the President
  • Board of Trustees 
  • Rush University and its four colleges, Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, and Graduate College
  • Dean of Rush Medical College, 1924-present (Older records of this office can be found within the Rush Medical College Records)
  • Medical Staff Office
  • Professional Nursing Staff
  • Office of Philanthropy
  • Marketing and Communications
  • Woman's Board of Rush University Medical Center
  • Alumni Association of Rush Medical College
  • Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Nurses Alumni Association
  • Golden Lamp Society
  • Benjamin Rush Society
  • Formerly Affiliated Hospitals (Mile Square Health Center, Sheridan Road Hospital, etc.)
  • Various Rush University Medical Center and Rush University departments, centers, institutions, committees, and divisions.

The Rush Archives preserves full runs of recent and current Rush-related newsletters, including the following titles:

  • News Releases Collection, 1956-2005 ***[see note below]***
  • NewsRounds Collection (Rush's longest-running newsletter), 1963-continuing ***[see note below]***
  • Discover Rush Collection (community health newsletter), 2004-continuing
  • The Magazine (continuation of the Bulletin of the Alumni Association of RMC until 1980; and continuation of The Newsletter, 1956-1974), 1975-1993 [The Magazine includes articles on research at Rush, news from various departments, and pictures and speeches from Rush University's commencements.  As its name suggests, the Magazine has a glossy magazine format.]
  • The Newsletter Collection (newsletter for Development Program and the Public Relations Department), 1956-1974
  • A Record and RushRecord, (newsletter of the Alumni Association of Rush Medical College)1980-1994
  • Rush MD Collection (newsletter of the Alumni Association of Rush Medical College), 1995-2012
  • Rush Record Collection (newsletter about research at Rush, medical news, and included issues of Rush MD and News and Views) 1995-2004 
  • Rush Physician Collection (newsletter for the Medical Staff of RPSLMC/Rush University Medical Center), 1995-2014
  • Nursing Notes Collection (newsletter of the Division of Nursing, RPSLMC), 1971-1985
  • Alumni News and Views Collection (newsletter of the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Nurses Alumni Association), 1961-2008, 2011
  • Rush Reporter Collection (Rush University Student Affairs newsletter), 1975-1999
  • InfoLine Collection (newsletter of the Library of Rush University), 1990-2008
  • Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center Newsletter Collection, 1988-2000
  • Campaign for Rush Vision & Values Newsletter Collection, 1991-1997
  • Rush Partnerships Collection (newsletter for friends of RPSLMC), 1998-2004
  • Network Collection (newsletter about Rush Network Hospitals and their Medical, Scientific, and Nursing Staffs), 1972-1985
  • Suicide Research Digest Collection (newsletter of the Center for Suicide Research and Prevention in the Department of Psychology at RPSLMC), 1987-1992
  • Health Law Report Collection (newsletter related to health and hospital law and medical ethics from the Office of Legal Affairs), 1993-2003
  • Bulletin Collection (internal newsletter for RPSLMC), 1972-1974
  • Insights into Clinical and Scientific Progress in Medicine Collection, RPSLMC, 1977-1994
  • Medical Center Memo Collection (RPSLMC event and news broadside), 1976-1988
  • Rush Ethics Reporter Collection (healthcare ethics news), 1991-1996
  • Rush Express Collection (bi-weekly employee bulletin), 1995-2002
  • News Tips Collection (research bulletin), 1990-1997
  • Healthy Perspective Collection (health news and advice, health research), 1993-1996
  • and many, many more...

*** To search issue summaries of the NewsRounds newsletter, Rush's newsletter since 1963, please explore the following PDF and contact the Archivist for more information:  [NewsRounds has been digitized and is available online. It is keyword searchable within each document and downloadable in a variety of formats.] ***

*** To search a list of News Releases, 1956-2005, please explore the following PDF and contact the Archivist for more information: [We hope to digitize our news releases very soon!] ***

Brief History of Rush Medical College

Rush Medical College, 1837-1942, was founded by physician Daniel Brainard (1812-1866) and chartered 2 March 1837, two days before the city of Chicago received its own charter. The school's downtown location was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. After the fire, the school was relocated to the west side of the city, where it remains to this day. In 1883, the Presbyterian Hospital of the City of Chicago was established in affiliation with Rush Medical College. In 1887, the College became the medical department of Lake Forest University. This relation was dissolved by mutual consent in April 1898, and in the same month an affiliation with the University of Chicago was established. In May 1924, a new contract was executed between the Rush Medical College and the University of Chicago, and Rush became more of an organic part of the University. In 1941, Rush Medical College and the University of Chicago terminated their relationship, and Rush closed its doors soon after. In July 1969, the Board of Trustees of Rush Medical College approved a merger of Rush Medical College with Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital, and the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center was established. Rush University was founded in 1972 and came to include Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences, and the Graduate College.

Several items from the Rush Medical College Records, #4707, have been digitized and are available online.

-For a history of Rush Medical College, please visit The Story of Rush Medical College, 1953, by Ernest E. Irons.

-For a history of our institution, written for the Sesquicentennial of Rush in 1987, visit Good Medicine: The First 150 Years of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center on the Internet Archive.

-Explore Rush Medical College Records, #4707, on the Internet Archive:

  • Annual Announcements
  • The Pulse Yearbooks (1894 and 1895)
  • The Corpuscle student newsletter
  • Newsletter of the Alumni Association, The Bulletin.

-A variety of books by Rush Medical College faculty members can be found on the Internet Archive.

-Rush Medical College Class Photographs, 1879-1920, on CARLI Digital Collections (for later years, please contact the Rush Archives.) Names of individuals can be found in the Finding Aid for Rush Medical College Class Photographs Collection, above.

-Address Book of the Alumni of Rush Medical College in Affiliation with the University of Chicago, 1913-1914 (List of Rush Medical College alumni through 1913.)

-Photo Album of the German-Austrian Tour of the American-Surgical Society, 1912. A scrapbook of photographs featuring Arthur Dean Bevan, MD, John B. Murphy, MD, and many other historic surgeons from the era. [From the Rush University Medical Center Archives, Acc. 2011-011.]

-Explore the Personal Papers of many individuals related to Rush Medical College. Click on the "Personal Papers" tab above for more information.

-A selection of photographs related to Rush Medical College can be found in our Flickr collection.

Rush Medical College I, 1837-1942

Brief History of St. Luke's Hospital:

St. Luke's Hospital, Chicago, Ill., was founded in 1864 when Clinton Locke, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, used a sermon to call for 'a place where the sick poor might be cared for'. Members of the Camp Douglas Ladies Aid Society, who cared for Confederate prisoners of war in Chicago, sat among the congregation that day. They approached Rev. Locke to propose that he head a church hospital, and he accepted. St. Luke's Hospital started with a seven bed hospital and within a few months moved to an 18-bed facility. St. Luke's Hospital was officially incorporated in 1865. In May of 1871 the hospital moved to a 25-bed building on South Indiana Avenue near 14th Street. Five months later, the building survived t he Great Chicago Fire. In 1885, St. Luke's constructed a new 65-bed building on South Indiana Avenue near 14th Street. That same year, the hospital founded the St. Luke's Hospital Training School for Nurses, also known as the St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing. St. Luke's Hospital faced a variety of problems in the years following World War II. The Hospital lacked the prestige and stability of a university affiliation. Furthermore, the institution fell into financial difficulty as the surrounding community experienced socio-economic decline. By the early 1950s the hospital faced the decision of whether to remain at its present location or move to a different site. The St. Luke's Board of Trustees considered a variety of options before they decided to move to Chicago's west side and merge with Presbyterian Hospital to become Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital. The two boards approved this action on February 10th, 1956, and St. Luke's Hospital closed its doors on June 26, 1959.

Brief History of the St. Luke's Hospital Training School for Nurses (School of Nursing):

St. Luke's Hospital was founded in 1864. In 1885, the hospital founded the Training School for Nurses, also known as the School of Nursing. In 1956, St. Luke's Hospital merged with Presbyterian Hospital to create Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital, located on Chicago's west side. The nursing schools merged at that time, also. 

Several items from the St. Luke's Hospital Records, #4704, and St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing Records, #4765, have been digitized and are available online.

-For a history of St. Luke's Hospital, please visit Personal Reminiscences of the Diocese of Illinois, 1856-1892 by the founder of St. Luke's, Rev. James DeWitt Clinton Locke.

-Explore St. Luke's Hospital Records, #4704, on the Internet Archive:

  • Annual Reports
  • St. Luke's News, hospital newsletter

-The History of the St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing, 1946, by Marie Georgetta Merrill, via HathiTrust Digital Library.

-Yearbooks from the St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing Records, #4765, have been digitized and are available online. Aside from individual yearbook portraits for students and faculty, the yearbooks include many photographs of nurses and nursing students at work, in the classroom, and in the dormitories. 

-Woman's Board Fashion Show scrapbooks and posters on ISSUU. A selection of material related to the annual Fashion Show fundraiser hosted by the Woman's Board of Rush University Medical Center. This Fashion Show has been a notable Chicago event since 1927, when it was first organized by the Ladies' Aid Society of St. Luke's Hospital, a Rush predecessor.

-Explore the Personal Papers of many individuals related to St. Luke's Hospital. Click on the "Personal Papers" tab above for more information.

-A selection of photographs related to St. Luke's Hospital and its nursing school can be found in our Flickr collection.

-Another useful resource: History of Medicine and Surgery and Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago, 1922, includes photographs, biographies and histories.

St. Luke's Hospital, 1864-1956

Brief History of the Presbyterian Hospital of the City of Chicago:

Presbyterian Hospital of the City of Chicago, 1883-1956, was chartered July 21, 1883, by faculty at Rush Medical College as a facility to provide clinical instruction for medical students. The faculty cooperated with local Presbyterian leaders to procure the financial support necessary to proceed with construction. The hospital was built adjacent to Rush Medical College at the corner of South Wood Street and Congress Parkway. The Woman's Board was developed during the beginning stages of the hospital and played a key role in fundraising for and service to the hospital throughout its history. The hospital's relationship with Rush Medical College led to an increasing interest in medical research at the hospital. In 1903, the hospital introduced the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing. Rush Medical College was affiliated with the University of Chicago beginning in 1898. Because of its symbiotic relationship with Rush, Presbyterian Hospital had a strong influence on Rush's relationship with the University of Chicago. Eventually, Presbyterian, Rush, and the University of Chicago disagreed on the future of Rush, and the affiliation dissolved. In 1942, Rush Medical College closed. Soon afterward, Presbyterian Hospital became affiliated with the University of Illinois. The medical staff of Presbyterian Hospital served as faculty for the University of Illinois. In an effort to combine their resources, Presbyterian Hospital merged with St. Luke's Hospital, on April 25, 1956 and became Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital.

Brief History of the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing:

Presbyterian Hospital of the City of Chicago was founded in 1883. Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing was founded in 1903. The nursing school was affiliated with Rush Medical College (RMC), the faculty of which served as instructors, supplementing teaching by the nursing staff. Nursing students worked in RMC clinics and the Central Free Dispensary. On April 25, 1956, with the merger of St. Luke's and Presbyterian Hospitals, the schools of nursing merged as the Presbyterian-St. Luke's School of Nursing. 

Several items from the Presbyterian Hospital Records, #4705, and Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Records, #4776, have been digitized and are available online.

-Explore Presbyterian Hospital Records, #4705, on the Internet Archive:

  • Annual Reports
  • The Presbyterian Hospital Bulletin, hospital newsletter

-History of the 13th General Hospital in World War II on the Internet Archive. During World War I, a hospital unit was recruited from Presbyterian Hospital of the City of Chicago. Base Hospital 13 saw service in World War I, Limoges, France. During World War II, a hospital unit was recruited from Presbyterian again, designated the 13th General Hospital in honor of Base Hospital 13. This unit spent most of its time during the war in Finschhafen, New Guinea.

-Yearbooks from the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Records, #4776 have been digitized and are available online. These yearbooks contain portraits of staff, faculty, and students; history of the school; poems and stories; jokes and cartoons. 

-Explore the Personal Papers of many individuals related to Presbyterian Hospital. Click on the "Personal Papers" tab above for more information.

-A selection of photographs related to Presbyterian Hospital and its nursing school can be found in our Flickr collection.

-Another useful resource: History of Medicine and Surgery and Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago, 1922, includes photographs, biographies and histories.

Presbyterian Hospital, 1883-1956

Brief History of Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital:

Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital of Chicago, Ill., 1956-1969, was the product of the April 1956 merger of St. Luke’s Hospital, founded in 1864, and Presbyterian Hospital, founded in 1883. The physical merger of the two hospitals occurred in 1959 when the staff of St. Luke’s Hospital moved to the Presbyterian Hospital campus at the intersection of West Congress Parkway and South Wood Street in Chicago.  The new institution constructed the New East Pavilion building (renamed the John L. and Helen Kellogg Pavilion in 1979) to accommodate the merger and the growth of the hospital. The John F. Jelke and Louanna Frazier Jelke Memorial Building opened in 1960, followed soon after by the Jelke South building which expanded Jelke further west.  Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital maintained Presbyterian Hospital’s teaching hospital relationship with the University of Illinois at Chicago.  In 1969, Rush Medical College was revived from its closure in 1942, and Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital voted to merge with the school to form Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center.

You can explore issue summaries of the hospital's NewsRounds newsletter [digitized and available online] or search a list of News Releases, 1956-2005, by visiting the PDFs below. Please contact the Rush Archives for more information. [We hope to digitize our collection of News Releases very soon!]

Brief History of Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing:

Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing (PSLHSN) was created upon the merger of Presbyterian Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital in 1956. The school closed in 1968 after graduating its ninth class. In 1969, the hospital affiliated with Rush Medical College, which was re-activated after closing in 1942. This corporation became Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in 1969. Rush University was subsequently established in 1972, and its College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences admitted its first students in 1973, continuing our institution's long legacy of nursing education.

Several items from the Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital Records, #4706, and Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing Records, #4778, have been digitized and are available online.

-Explore material from the Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital Records online on the Internet Archive:

-Yearbooks from the Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing Records, #4778 have been digitized and are available online. Alpha Yearbooks include photographs of faculty, staff, and students; and Medical-Surgical Nursing, Obstetric Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing, the Visiting Nurses Association (V.N.A.), the students' rotation at Hines Veterans' Hospital, rooms in the student dormitory, candid photographs, and social activities. 

-Explore the Personal Papers of many individuals related to Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital. Click on the "Personal Papers" tab above for more information.

-A selection of photographs related to Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital and its nursing school can be found in our Flickr collection.

Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital, 1956-1969

Brief History of the Central Free Dispensary:

The Central Free Dispensary was founded in 1873, and served as a free clinic for patients on the west side of Chicago. The Central Free Dispensary began after the Great Fire of 1871 by combining the efforts of the Herrick Free Dispensary and the Brainard Dispensary. The new united dispensary was incorporated in 1873 with a fund of $11,000. This fund was loaned to the Rush Medical College to help with the cost of a new college building at the corner of Wood and Harrison streets. In exchange for rooms, the dispensary contracted to make its medical facilities available to the College for medical education. The union of the two institutions gave the sick poor of Chicago access to medical care and provided the college with patients for the teaching program. The Central Free Dispensary became the outpatient service for Presbyterian Hospital in the 1940s and became the Presbyterian-St. Luke's Health Center in 1961.

Several items from the Central Free Dispensary Records, #4761, have been digitized and are available online.

-Annual Reports for the Central Free Dispensary are online on the Internet Archive.

-Because of the Central Free Dispensary's close relationship with Rush Medical College, please explore the Rush Medical College collections tab above for further information regarding the history of the clinic.

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Using the Rush Archives

Rush Archives Service Hours: 

Monday-Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Contact the Archivist: 

Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS / (312) 942-6358

Outside of Service Hours:

For very urgent requests outside of service hours, please contact the Library of RUMC at lib_ref@rush.edu

Note for researchers: Internal reference requests are given precedence. External requests will be addressed as time allows. However, this webpage will lead you to a number of digital resources from the Rush Archives that may meet your information needs.

Visiting the Rush Archives: In-person visits from researchers from outside of Rush must be approved by the archivist ahead of time.

The Rush Archives is located at 1700 W. Van Buren Street, Suite 086, Chicago, IL 60612.

Using our Material in your Publication/Exhibit/Presentation: Contact the Archivist for a Permission to Publish form and fee table.

Citing our Collections: Footnotes or captions should indicate the collection or other identifying information from our finding aids. Please contact the Archivist for more information. Basic format for citation:

[Identification of item], in the [Name of Collection] [Collection Number], Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill.

Looking for Medical Records/Patient Records? Visit Rush University Medical Center's Health Information Management Office.

Looking for Student Records/Transcripts? Visit Rush University's Office of the Registrar.

About Our Collections

The Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill., is the official archival agency of Rush University Medical Center and Rush University. The Rush Archives holds almost 3000 linear feet of material from these two institutions and their predecessor schools and hospitals going back to the founding of Rush Medical College in 1837, two days before the city of Chicago was incorporated. The Rush Archives also includes the personal papers of many individuals related to those institutions. Photographs, audiovisual material, paintings, artifacts, nursing school uniforms and caps, and digital assets document the history of Rush, also. 

The Rush Archives preserves, identifies, organizes, and provides access to records of long-term historical, evidential, and administrative value to the institution. We strive to tell the story of Rush and its esteemed history of education, research, and patient care in a meaningful way through our collections.

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