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Community (Red Cross) Hospital records

Identifier: RG110-UA
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.


  • 1902-1976


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to the University of Louisville. Some portions of the records are restricted. Please consult the University archivist.

Restrictions: Patient Records 120.5 linear feet., 276 reels of 16mm microfilm


45.5 linear feet

Organizational history

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.

Related Material

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.


Community (Red Cross) Hospital Records
Archives Staff
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections Repository

Ekstrom Library, Lower Level Room 17
Louisville KY 40292
502 852-6752
502 852-6673 (Fax)