Once Upon a Time…05.08.2015

Posted on January 26th, 2016 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org


2010020043Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  May 8, 2015


PastPerfect Accession #:  2010.020.043


Status:  Partially Identified! Sinai Hospital School of Nursing class of 1947. Rita Solow Morris is in the front row. Elaine Roman is in the front row, 5th from left


Special Thanks To: Barbara Israhdy



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National Nurses Day 2015

Posted on May 6th, 2015 by

Today is National Nurses Day and in appreciation we are sharing a “sneak peek” from our exhibit-in-progress Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America from our section on nursing. Enjoy these snippets from the unfinished exhibit script – and thank a nurse today!

Gift of Bobbi Horwitz for the Sinai Hospital Nurses Alumni Association, JMM 2010.20.8

Gift of Bobbi Horwitz for the Sinai Hospital Nurses Alumni Association, JMM 2010.20.8

The Nursing Station

The first formal training program for nurses in the United States was initiated in 1872 at the Women’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Spurred by committees of laywomen, several other hospitals soon followed suit. Physicians, however, were slow to support the training of women to assist in medical procedures.

As medical technology advanced, however, hospital administrators realized how the in-house nurse training program benefited the hospital. Educated nurses were urgently needed to aid in the care and treatment of patients with increasingly more complex conditions and needs. Nursing students, who often worked and lived under harsh conditions, were willing to trade their labor for professional training. By 1900, 432 nurse-training programs had been established in hospitals around the country.

1909 photo of graduating class. Gift of Bobbie Horwitz for the Sinai Hospital Nurses Alumni Association, JMM 2010.20.47.

1909 photo of graduating class. Gift of Bobbie Horwitz for the Sinai Hospital Nurses Alumni Association, JMM 2010.20.47.

By 1919, the Hebrew Hospital had built the Hecht Memorial Nurses Home, where nurses lived and studied. Trainees were required to furnish their own uniforms and expected to work regular shifts in the hospital, described in the school prospectus as the students’ “laboratory.” In return, they were given room and board, and were paid $10.00 per month (equivalent to approximately $135.00 today). A rigorous schedule of coursework in medical sciences and clinical practice are also set forth in the brochure.



Nursing and the Jewish Woman

Jewish women did not flock to nursing as Jewish men did to the medical, dental and pharmacy professions. There are no solid numbers to bear out the anecdotal evidence, but where Jewish physicians have been over-represented as a proportion of the United States population, Jews have historically been under-represented as a percentage of nurses. As a result, while Jewish hospitals filled a need for Jewish nurses, but they were never staffed solely by Jews.

“An Angel of Mercy,” Hal Hurst. C. 1914-1918, Michael Zwerdling "Postcards of nursing" collection, National Library of Medicine.

“An Angel of Mercy,” Hal Hurst. C. 1914-1918, Michael Zwerdling “Postcards of nursing” collection, National Library of Medicine.


Why were there fewer Jewish nurses, proportionally? The Christian narrative underpinning the nursing profession may have discouraged some. According to the National Library of Medicine: “Images of nurses in the European art traditions of the 19th and early 20th centuries are often based on ancient Classical and Christian feminine archetypes such as healer, handmaiden, mother, angel, and guardian or warrior.” But many among those who proudly serve see Jewish roots to their profession.

“I cannot count the number of times I have been told that I am a fine example of Christian nursing. It is always meant as a compliment, but it drives me to distraction.” (From an interview with a Jewish nurse)






Posted in jewish museum of maryland

A Curator’s Wish List

Posted on January 28th, 2015 by

A Collecting Wish List For

Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America

 Our curator, Karen Falk, needs YOUR help! We’re working on our next original exhibit, Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America. The exhibition spans the late 19th century until today, with an emphasis on medicine’s “golden age” in America, roughly the 1920s through 60s.* As with all our exhibits we started with our own collections but we need more. Check out the lists below and see if you, your family or any of your friends have examples of the items below that you would be willing to lend (or donate!) to us here at the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

If you think you’ve got something, please contact Karen right away at kfalk@jewishmuseummd.org or call her at 410-732-6402 x227.

Envisioning a Jewish Medicine

Envisioning a Jewish Medicine

Memorabilia from Jewish fraternities:

*Phil Delta Epsilon, Phi Lambda Kappa, Aleph Yod He (medical)

*Alpha Omega, Sigma Epsilon Delta (dental)

*Alpha Zeta Omega, Rho Pi Phi (pharmaceutical)


Section 2 Banner

“My Son, the Doctor”

Health professions education:

*acceptance/rejection letters

*school and lab notebooks

*study guides, devices to help memory

*instruments/equipment required or helpful for coursework

*memorabilia from white coat ceremony

*photos of students at work: dissection/cadaver, study groups, classroom, laboratory and clinical settings

*memorabilia from body donor ceremonies

*graduation photos, announcements


A 'Golden Age' of Medicine?

A ‘Golden Age’ of Medicine?

Health professions practice:

*journals or diaries

*pneumothorax machine, other early treatment equipment for TB

*photos of physicians, nurses, technicians, and others in hospital settings, working with patients or working with equipment

*early 20th century white coat

* early x-ray equipment or components


The Care of Strangers

The Care of Strangers

The image of the Jewish doctor in the American imagination:



*greeting cards

*humor books

*“my son the doctor” jokes

*“physician’s oath” plaques or inscriptions


*kitsch and shtick


Body Work

Body Work

Health, hygiene, diet, and exercise:

*materials in Yiddish

*posters, pamplets, signs aimed at Jewish opinions or behaviors


*Note: We will remove names and other identifying characteristics from anything that includes protected health information prior to display. We normally use your name to attribute quotations, and to acknowledge loans or donations of materials used in the exhibition. You have the option to remain anonymous by request.


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