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Rush University Medical Center Archives: Rush Medical College, 1837-1942

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.

RUSH MEDICAL COLLEGE, 1837-1942

Brief Timeline of RUSH MEDICAL COLLEGE

  • RMC seal1837: Rush Medical College was founded by Daniel Brainard, MD, (1812-1866) and chartered March 2, 1837, two days before the city of Chicago received its own charter.
  • 1871: The school's building at Grand and Dearborn was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire.
  • 1870s: After the Fire, the school was relocated to Chicago's West Side, where it remains to this day.
  • 1883: The Presbyterian Hospital of the City of Chicago was established in affiliation with Rush Medical College.
  • 1887: The College became the medical department of Lake Forest University.
  • 1898: This relation was dissolved by mutual consent in April 1898, and in the same month an affiliation with the University of Chicago was established.
  • 1924: 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.
  • 1941: Rush Medical College and the University of Chicago terminated their relationship, and Rush closed its doors soon after.
  • 1969: 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.
  • 1972: 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. 

Research Tip: Want to do a quick keyword search to answer your Rush Medical College question? Click on the links below and select "text contents" for the search box!

Other Rush Medical College resources:

  • Explore the Personal Papers of many individuals related to Rush Medical College. Click on the "Personal Papers" tab above for more information.
  • Rush Medical College Class Photographs, 1879-1920 (for later years, please contact the Rush Archives.) Names of students and faculty can be found in the Finding Aid for Rush Medical College Class Photographs Collection, above.
  • 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.]
  • A selection of photographs related to Rush Medical College can be found in our Flickr collection.
  • The faculty of early Rush Medical College edited the Illinois and Indiana Medical and Surgical Journal, which includes details about medicine and surgery in early Chicago, particularly in relation to Rush and its faculty. [Via the Internet Archive: April 1846-February 1847 and April 1847-February 1848.]

***RESEARCH TIP: Rush Medical College served as the medical school of the University of Chicago from 1898 to 1941. The Alumni Association of Rush Medical College merged with the University of Chicago's in 1924. Because of this merger, Rush's alumni newsletter, The Bulletin, ended in 1924. Alumni updates for the original Rush Medical College after 1924 can be found in the University of Chicago Magazine. To explore these campus publications (both University Publications and Student Publications), please visit the University of Chicago Library's Campus Publications site below:

For more information about the affiliation between Rush Medical College and the University of Chicago, explore a story map of the history of University of Chicago Medicine:

Rush Medical College I, 1837-1942

Using the Rush Archives

Rush Archives Service Hours: 

The Rush Archives offers on-site services one day a week. Often, we can assist researchers using digital resources.

Please explore this webpage and our online resources before contacting the Rush Archives for assistance.

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 lib_ref@rush.edu

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 Verification/Credentials for Residency or Fellowship Programs? Visit Graduate Medical Education. [link]

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

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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-Rush is a proud member of the Chicago Collections Consortium.

Maps and Directions

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