The collection of materials from Red Cross Hospital, founded by a group of Louisville's Black physicians contains correspondence, minutes of the board of directors and its committees, and minutes of medical staff meetings. Also included are financial records and patient records. Additional material includes matters relating to administration, fund drives, professional achievement, and integration of Louisville hospitals.
In 1899, a group of Louisville's Black physicians established Red Cross Hospital in order that they might have a place to treat their own patients. The facility remained financially hard-pressed throughout most of its history, but segregation of the city's hospitals provided the impetus necessary to keep Red Cross afloat.
The first thirty years were particularly difficult ones for the hospital. Local Blacks supported the hospital as best they could, but the philanthropic backing of whites such as Hattie Bishop Speed was crucial. The converted residences which served as the hospital were painfully inadequate, but the predominantly Black staff managed to provide successful care. The 1940s brought great changes to the institution. Under the direction of Dr. Jesse Bell and later, Houston Baker, the hospital was modernized and a successful community-wide fund-raising campaign conducted. A modern wing was built in the early 1950s and the older structure renovated. Following these improvements the hospital enjoyed a short period of relative economic security and professional achievement.
The racial integration of Louisville's hospitals, the impact of federal and state health programs, and the tremendous increase in the cost of operating a hospital which occurred during the 1960s presented small, private hospitals with insolvable problems. Administrators adopted a modernization program that included changing the name to "Community" hospital in 1972, but this effort failed to save the facility. The last patient was admitted in September, 1975, and in January, 1976, officials filed for bankruptcy.
Henry R. Heyburn.
LaVal T. Duncan.
Houston Baker Scrapbooks, 1945-1948, 1951; microfilm project 32 Minutes of General and Committee Meetings of Board of Directors, 1949-1976; Minutes of Medical Staff Meetings; Patient Records, administrator subject files, memoranda, and correspondence, financial records--audits, ledgers, insurance policies; blueprints.
[Identification of item], Community (Red Cross) Hospital Records, Archives and Special Collections, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY.
[Identification of item], Community (Red Cross) Hospital Records, Archives and Special Collections, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY. https://archivescatalog.library.louisville.edu/repositories/2/resources/274 Accessed October 16, 2021.