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History of Nursing Timeline: 1700-1869

Timeline Contributors References

1700-1869 1870-1899 1900-1929 1930-1959 1960-1989 1990-2000


Philadelphia opens an almshouse, which later becomes Philadelphia General Hospital.

  • In the early American colonial period, local governments established institutions to care for sick individuals without families or other means of care. In more populous areas, such as Philadelphia, these institutions were part of the municipal almshouse, an establishment providing housing and living services for those unable to provide their own. As many almshouse inmates were elderly, sick, very young, or otherwise infirm, the need emerged for a section of the almshouse devoted to caring for the ill. Later, many of these institutions shed their almshouse identities and assumed the status of general hospitals.
  • During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, providing institutions to care for the sick was in many ways more self-serving than altruistic. The frequent occurrence of epidemic illnesses drove local governments to establish such institutions in order to separate sick and potentially contagious individuals from the healthy population, even if it required public monies to do so. The Philadelphia Almshouse, one of the oldest and most famous, was reorganized and renamed several times. In 1902, the institution received its final name: Philadelphia General Hospital.