The New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children was established by the doctors Elizabeth Blackwell and her sister Emily Blackwell in New York in 1853. The hospital’s name and location went through several changes after it was founded. The first medical college for women was opened as an offshoot of Blackwell’s infirmary. Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi who plays a role in the Waverly Place novels, taught at the medical school.
From Untapped New York:
On May 12, 1857, the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children opened its doors to the sick and needy of Lower Manhattan. The Infirmary, housed inside a red brick building at the corner of Crosby and Bleecker Streets, was the very first hospital to employ an all-female staff. […]
In 1885 Elizabeth Blackwell laid out the mission of the infirmary: “allow women to consult doctors of their own sex, free of charge; to provide the growing number of female medical students with the practical experience denied them by established hospitals; and to train nurses.”
The fictional New Amsterdam Charity Hospital was based, in part, on reports about the The New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children.[…]
On the ground floor of the building, the women set up a dispensary in the dining room. There were two inpatient wards on the second floor and the third floor was used as a maternity ward. At the attic level, students, nurses, servants and the resident physician, Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, slept in tiny rooms.
It was during this period that Dr. Joseph Lister’s ground breaking work in bacteriology and antisepsis began to take root in medicine. While the concepts would bring about a revolution in surgery and medical treatments more generally, it was not at first universally accepted. Dr. Blackwell championed the importance of hygiene, antisepsis and the “sanitary visitor” who would go to the poorest neighborhoods to teach families about cleanliness, fresh air, and healthy food.In time the hospital was subsumed into the New York Presbyterian Hospital system.
The New York Times
Ladies’ Fair in Aid of the New-York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children.
This institution, under the immediate charge of Drs. E. & E. BLACKWELL, is looked upon with interest, not only in our own City, but by a large circle of friends in Philadelphia and Boston. The Fair, which was opened on Wednesday night at Dodworth’s Lower Saloon, on Broadway, to aid in its support, is marked by unusual featness, –, as, for instance, the circulation of a beautifully illustrated paper filled with contributions from eminent American authors, together with their photographs. The name of this paper is Only Once. Other fine specimens of photographic art are to be found in beautiful fancy studies upon cards, the reverse of each describing the sentiment of the pieces
A collection of copies from master-pieces of DURAND’ MIGNOT and others adorn several of the tables, and exquisite specimens of fine art in all its branches are innumerable. The objects of utility were in nowise overlooked, as was manifest to the eye of every true housewife and mother. Baby wrappings of exquisite finish were collected upon one table, and among them was shown conspicuously a box of little shirts complete with yoke, &c., and richly finished with soft lace of a minute pattern. They were sold before the first visitors had fairly made the tour of the room.
The young people seemed to incline naturally toward a certain table presided over by a spirit of cheerfulness in the form of a lady, who, it was observed, used the “plain language,” — for upon its surface were arrayed in tempting disorder, toys and trifles which are far from being “little things to little minds.” Some tea roses and leaves in wax are the most finished specimens of the kind that have been exposed upon the many stands that have been enriched with these cold yet delicate imitations of nature, in the successive fairs of this Winter. The sprigs that elicited the admiration of which we speak were the handiwork of Miss ADELAIDE BAYLISS.
Very valuable impressions of antique medals and bas relief, give some interesting results of the advancement made in electrotyping. At 8 1/2 o’clock the gas-lights were lowered, and people began to secure places from whence to gain a good view of the tableaux. The first of these was a scene in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” — Die second, “The Home Guard,” — the third, a scene from Lallah-Rookh, and the fourth, three scenes in the historical romance of Queen Eleanor and Rosamond, portraying, love, jealousy and revenge.