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Rush University Medical Center Archives: Exhibits

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.

A College, a City, and a Civil War The Life and Times of Dr. John Ll. Williams and Dr. William E. Williams

LOCATION: Library of Rush University Medical Center (600 S. Paulina St., #571, Chicago, IL 60612)

This exhibit provides a glimpse into Rush’s early history and includes historic photos, letters, patient ledgers, and diary entries illustrating the lives and careers of two early Rush Medical College graduates. In 1863, John L. Williams, MD, graduated from Rush Medical College. The following year, he volunteered to serve as a surgeon for the Union Army in Vicksburg, Mississippi, during the Civil War. Upon the completion of his service, he returned to his thriving practice in Cambria, Wisconsin. In 1889, his son, William, graduated from Rush and continued his father’s practice and served as a small town physician for nearly fifty years.

The bulk of this collection was donated to the Rush Archives in 2012, by Robert L. Behling and Jacquelyn Sweeney, the great-great-grandchildren of John L. Williams, MD. This exhibit was curated by Laura R. Johns, public historian/consultant.

Rush University Medical Center: 175 Years of Education, Research, and Patient Care

LOCATION: The Tower, 1st Floor, Emergency Department (1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, Illinois, 60612)

This exhibit presents a brief overview of some of the milestones in Rush's long legacy of education, research, and patient care. It begins with the founding of Rush Medical College in 1837, and takes us through the opening of our institution's newest facility, our state-of-the-art Tower.

A Legacy of Excellence: Nursing Education, Research, and Practice at Rush and its Predecessors since 1864

LOCATION: The Tower, 4th Floor, Smith Family Lounge (1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, Illinois, 60612)

A Legacy of Excellence celebrates the tradition of nursing excellence at Rush. Through photographs, historic objects, and profiles of nursing alumni and leadership, it tells the story of the innovative educational programs, research, and patient care developed by nurses and its predecessors.

This exhibit from the Rush University Medical Center Archives was designed by Bluestone Design Build through the support of the Edith Payne Fund of the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Nurses Alumni Association.

The Woman's Board of Rush Fashion Show Posters

LOCATION: The Tower, 4th Floor, Woman's Board Family Lounge (1653 West Congress Parkway, Chicago, Illinois, 60612)

This display of Fashion Show posters represents the many years the Woman's Board of Rush University Medical Center has supported Rush's mission of education and quality care. The Annual Rush Woman's Board Fashion Show dates back to 1927, when it was first held by the Woman's Board of St. Luke's Hospital, one of our predecessor institutions. To explore these posters and other Woman's Board and Fashion Show material, including scrapbooks and programs, contact the Rush Archives or visit the following the link: Woman's Board Fashion Show scrapbooks and posters 

For more information on the group and its mission, view the organization's official page at

Centuries of Excellence: Portraits of Nursing Alumni

LOCATION: Armour Academic Center, 10th Floor, East Corridor (600 S. Paulina St., Chicago, Illinois, 60612)

Centuries of Excellence is a collection of class photos from Rush University College of Nursing and its predecessor nursing schools, St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing (est. 1885), Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing (est. 1903), and Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing (merged 1956.) This exhibit, located outside the College of Nursing administrative offices, is a popular stop for members of the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Nurses Alumni Association. The photos date back to 1887, and are a wonderful tribute to Rush's long, proud legacy of nursing education. 

This exhibit of reproductions of nursing class composites was assembled and created by former Rush Archivist, Heidi Butler, and former Dean of the Rush University College of Nursing, Kathleen G. Andreoli, DSN, FAAN, in 2004. 

Rotating Displays

LOCATION: Triangle Office Building, Basement Hallway and 2nd Floor (1700 West Van Buren St., Chicago, Illinois, 60612)

The displays in the basement hallway outside of the Rush Archives and the 2nd floor outside of Au Bon Pain are always changing! Stop by and take a look at fun, historic photographs, interesting articles about the history of Rush, and our latest announcements. 

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 strives to tell the story of Rush and its esteemed history of education, research, patient care, and community leadership in a meaningful way through our collections.

The Rush Archives holds almost 3000 linear feet of material from Rush and its 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. 

Follow the Rush Archives on Twitter: @RushArchives

We're counting down to the 50th Anniversary of Rush University, 2022! Follow our #RU50 hashtag on Twitter for a new year each week!

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The Rush Archives COVID-19 Collection needs you!

Using the Rush Archives

Rush Archives Service Hours: 




Thank you for your patience during this unpredictable time. 

Contact the Archivist: 

Submit Request to Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS, Archivist: Ask the Rush Archives [link]

Ask the Archives buttonOutside of Service Hours:  For very urgent requests outside of service hours, please contact the Library of Rush at

Note for researchers: Internal reference requests are given precedence. External requests will be addressed as time allows. However, our website 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.

Location: 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. [link]

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

Looking for Birth, Death or other Vital Records? Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health. [link]

Maps and Directions