Our Secondary Mission
In 1751 the nation’s first hospital was established “to care for the sick-poor and insane who were wandering the streets of Philadelphia.” Led by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond, Pennsylvania Hospital was founded by a group of colonists who believed that Philadelphia’s citizens deserved a chance to be strong and healthy regardless of their stations in life. Since its founding the hospital has been the setting for many national firsts and important medical, historical and cultural milestones – including the first hospital to treat psychological and emotional disorders as curable conditions, the first apothecary, the first medical resident, the first medical library and the first surgical amphitheatre. Pennsylvania Hospital’s identity, history and collections are unique.
Preserving the hospital’s historic artifacts and memorials, and ensuring access to them for both scholars and the public, has always been an important subsidiary mission of Pennsylvania Hospital. The First Hospital Foundation continues this commitment. Since its founding in 1997, the First Hospital Foundation has contributed more than $1.9 million to historic preservation efforts at Pennsylvania Hospital. This financial support has included the funding of a full-time archivist, the restoration of the historic Pine Building library holdings, the Benjamin Franklin tercentenary celebration, contributions to the Save the Pine Building preservation effort, and preservation of historic paintings.
To learn more about the history of Pennsylvania Hospital and its artifacts click here: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/paharc/collections/