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Pratt Clinic/New England Center Hospital Records
Scope and Contents
This collection contains meeting minutes, administrative and annual reports, financial ledgers, statistical data, and photographic scrapbooks created by and pertaining to the Pratt Clinic/New England Center Hospital (PC/NECH), from its founding until its official integration with the New England Medical Center (NEMC) in 1965. Also included in this collection are a staff list and salary schedules, as well as documentation regarding the planning of PC/NECH's integration with NEMC. Administrative data compiled about staff and organizational relationships, leading up to this official merge, is well documented in this collection. The physical collection documentation folder includes copies of Dave Nathan’s original finding aid entries as well as copies of the original acquisition records.
The Personnel records series of this collection does not contain individual staff files. Those files may be found in either the Personnel records series of the New England Medical Center records (MS099.005), or the Employment records series of the Boston Dispensary records (MS214.007). Additionally, while there are papers authored by NECH administrator Richard Vigeurs in this collection, his general administrative files are found in the Administration records series of the New England Medical Center records (MS099.003).
As there was a periodic shifting of departments to and from NEMC/T-NEMC and their constituent institutions, any comprehensive search of a particular topic over time must involve also consulting the other NEMC archives collections at DCA. Contact DCA for information about associated materials.
This collection suffered extensive water damage due to a flood before it was in the custody of DCA. It underwent conservation efforts before processing, but several materials, particularly folders, scrapbooks, and bound volumes, are still warped or retain a musty odor. Some material is in fragile condition, and must be handled carefully.
- Majority of material found within 1929 -- 1965
- 1929 -- 1990
Language of Materials
10 Linear Feet (5 record cartons, 1 letter size half box, 1 oversize box, 1 document case )
Biographical / Historical
The Pratt Clinic/New England Center Hospital (PC/NECH) was established in 1931. Joseph Pratt, the Boston Dispensary's (BD) Physician-in-Chief, worked with his Board of Managers to create a twenty-bed diagnostic ward within the BD, financed by William Bingham II, a patient of Pratt’s. Along with his assistant, Dr. Samuel Proger, Dr. Pratt developed a three-pronged approach – teaching, research, and patient care – to medical practice. This model, developed over time at the PC/NECH, would fuel the unified medical unit that come to be known as the Tufts-New England Medical Center (T-NEMC) in 1965. Until then, the New England Medical Center (NEMC) was an overseer of the independent medical institutions the BD, Boston Floating Hospital (BFH), and the PC/NECH, with each institution maintaining its own management structure. NEMC, which already had an affiliation with Tufts University, thus became the primary teaching hospitals for the Tufts University School of Medicine. Samuel Proger, who not only served as the PC/NECH’s medical director and president of its board, was also a professor and Chair of Tufts’ Department of Medicine.
Though the diagnostic ward within the BD was opened in 1931, the PC/NECH’s fusion with NEMC began a year later. Bingham, along with Doctors Farnsworth, Pratt, and Proger, organized the Bingham Associates Fund in Maine. With a mission for promoting medicine and medical education in the state of Maine, the BAF used the resources of the newly formed New England Medical Center consortium. Doctors Pratt and Proger believed research was an essential component to the clinical care of patients.
During the 1930s Pratt and Proger recruited German immigrants such as Alice Ettinger, Siefried Thannhauser, and Alfred Hauptmann to work with them. The ward was a great success, and with the need for more beds, the Joseph Pratt Diagnostic Hospital, commonly known as the Pratt Clinic (PC), was built on Bennett Street and opened on December 15, 1938. It was the largest diagnostic facility in the United States at the time. The Pratt Clinic was at the heart of BAF’s mission to improve medical care, first in Maine, and then in New England. The Pratt Clinic served as the BAF's base of operations; it was a hospital affiliated with a medical school, that school being the Tufts College School of Medicine.
Proger, not only a doctor but also an expert administrator, cultivated a group of wealthy donors to finance the Pratt Clinic, in particular for a series of physical expansions starting in the 1940s. The Pratt Clinic was lacking a facility for surgery, so patients had to be transferred to other hospitals in Boston. With an aim to provide total medical care at one location, a department of surgery was established in 1946. At the same time, the Pratt Clinic separated from the BD and incorporated as part of the Bingham Associates of Massachusetts, and organization that supplanted the BAF. Richard Viguers served as its first and only administrator.
The first of several institutional name changes for the PC/NECH occurred in 1948, when the Bingham Associates of Massachusetts renamed itself the New England Center Hospital. The George B. Farnsworth Surgical Building was opened in 1949, and the Ziskind Building for research (honoring Jacob Ziskind, a patient of Proger’s and donor to the PC) opened in 1952. With the death of Dr. Pratt in 1958, the institution was renamed the Pratt Clinic/New England Center Hospital. Another financial gift from one of Dr. Proger’s patients made possible for the purchase of the Biewend Building for ambulatory care.
The biggest change in the history of the New England Medical Center occurred on March 1, 1965, when the Board of Trustees for each institution (BD, BFH, and PC/NECH) voted yes to an official merger to integrate. The consolidation of these three institutions formed one corporation under the name the New England Medical Center Hospitals, Inc. In addition, during the merger, the Tufts-New England Medical Center (T-NEMC) had also been established as a separate corporation. T-NEMC had its own board, composed of members of the Board of Trustees of Tufts, as well as members of the Board of Governors of NEMC. This relationship would continue to grow, with professors at the School of Medicine making a concerted push to have the T-NEMC serve as the primary teaching hospitals for the School of Medicine.
The PC/NECH morphed the clinical unit of T-NEMC. T-NEMC underwent its final name change in 2008. It is now know as the Tufts Medical Center, and is located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.
This collection was originally part of the archives of the New England Medical Center (NEMC), which closed in 1990. The collection was processed by Dave Nathan, archivist at the NEMC archives, in July 1989, and had the following NEMC acquisition numbers: 83-6, 84-22, 85-1, 85-12, 85-16, 85-17, 85-19, 86-17.
In spring 2013, NEMC material was transferred from NEMC to a restoration company for conservation treatment, and was then transferred to off-site storage in custody of Digital Collections and Archives (DCA). In December 2014 and January 2015, the material was transferred to DCA for processing. Some material originally in the NEMC archives was not transferred to DCA, due to either poor condition or loss.
This collection was processed in October 2014 by Elizabeth Mc Gorty, Project Archivist, under the supervision of Liz Francis, Records Archivist.
This collection was previously processed by Dave Nathan. On transfer to DCA, received order was maintained at the series level. Folders were re-arranged in alphabetical or chronological order, and some material was rehoused in archival folders. Collection and series description written by Dave Nathan was updated.
- Boston Dispensary
- Boston Floating Hospital
- Hospitals--Medical staff
- Joseph H. Pratt Diagnostic Hospital
- Medical care
- Medical history
- Medicine -- History
- New England Medical Center
- New England Medical Center Hospital
- Pratt Diagnostic Clinic
- Pratt, Joseph H. (Joseph Hersey), 1872-1956
- Primary medical care
- Proger, Samuel, 1906-1984
- Tufts College. Medical School
- Tufts Medical Center
- Tufts University. School of Medicine
- Tufts-New England Medical Center
- University history
- Viguers, Richard