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First Medical School In Chicago

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Rush has been part of the Chicago landscape longer than any other health care institution in the city. In fact, Rush Medical College received its charter on March 2, 1837, two days before the city of Chicago was incorporated. Rush Medical College was the first medical school in Chicago, and one of the earliest in the Midwest.

Rush University Medical Center Archives

The Rush University Medical Center Archives is the official archival agency of Rush University Medical Center and Rush University.

Visit the Rush University Medical Center Archives website to learn about the history of Rush University Medical Center and Rush University, including our predecessor schools and hospitals going back to 1837, through the present day.

More than 130 years ago, a child was found unconscious in a play yard in Aurora. There was no hospital at the time, so the child was taken to the local jail. That moment, according to historical accounts, provided the motivation for local residents to open Aurora City Hospital in 1886.

Many years and several name changes later, that hospital became Rush Copley Medical Center.On Oct. 12, 1886, Aurora City Hospital opened with five physicians and 12 rooms. Then a new Aurora City Hospital opened its doors in 1890 with eight private rooms, six ward beds for women and seven for men, and five nursery beds.

Using The Rush Archives

Rush Archives Service Hours:

The Rush Archives offers on-site services one day a week. Often, we can assist researchers using digital resources.

Please explore this webpage and our online resources before contacting the Rush Archives for assistance.

Contact the Archivist:

Looking for Birth, Death or other Vital Records? Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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Bringing Academic Health To The Fox Valley

In 1980, Copley Memorial Hospital joined the academic network of Rush-Presbyterian-St. Lukes Medical Center in Chicago. By 1986, Copley Memorial Hospital was serving more than 10,000 inpatients and 50,000 outpatients each year, and when the hospital affiliated with the Rush System for Health in 1987, the hospital boasted 220 physicians.In 1992, groundbreaking began on a new hospital, and Rush Copley Medical Center opened its current location three years later with 144 beds. It became the premier regional medical center for the greater Fox Valley area, with expansion into Yorkville with Rush Copley Healthcare Center.In 2017, Rush Copley further integrated with Rush University System for Health to build on a 30-year relationship and grow clinical programs, research, education and community priorities. Rush Copley joined the Rush University System for Health, which comprises Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Copley Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital, as well as numerous outpatient care facilities.

Merging With Presbyterian And St Lukes

Chicago

Meanwhile, St. Lukes Hospital, located on the 1400 blocks of South Michigan and Indiana avenues, was founded in 1864. St. Lukes Hospital School of Nursing was established in 1885. St. Lukes merged with Presbyterian Hospital to form Presbyterian-St. Lukes Hospital in 1956. Their nursing schools also united to create the Presbyterian-St. Lukes Hospital School of Nursing.In 1969, Rush Medical College reactivated its charter and merged with Presbyterian-St. Lukes Hospital to form Rush-Presbyterian-St. Lukes Medical Center.

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Aurora Hospital Nursing School And Community

The opening of the hospital created a need for more people skilled in nursing to care for patients. In 1893, the Aurora Hospital Association established a School of Nursing. In 1980, the Copley School of Nursing became part of Aurora University.In 1905, community giving made it possible to expand the hospital. Five years later, the Aurora City Hospital Association realized the expanded facility wasnt large enough to meet patient needs. The community banded together again, raising $103,000 to construct a five-story hospital with nearly 100 beds.Opening in 1916, the new hospital was a full-scale community hospital and the American Hospital Associations showcase in fact, it appeared on the cover of Modern Hospital magazine. The hospital had 23 private rooms and capacity for 100 patients.

Rush University Medical Center Traces Its History Back To The Founding Of Rush Medical College In 1837 Two Days Before The City Of Chicago Was Incorporated

The Rush University Medical Center Archives holds the records of Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, and their predecessor and affiliated schools and hospitals. Rush University, established in 1972, is a health sciences university that comprises Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences and the Graduate College.The Rush Archives also includes the personal papers of many individuals related to those institutions, including health professionals and instructors, administrators, and alumni. Photographs, audiovisual material, paintings, artifacts, nursing school uniforms and caps, and countless digital assets document the history of Rush, also. The Rush Archives institutional records represent the following:

  • Rush Medical College
  • The Central Free Dispensary
  • Presbyterian Hospital
  • Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing
  • St. Lukes Hospital
  • St. Lukes Hospital School of Nursing
  • Presbyterian-St. Lukes Hospital
  • Presbyterian-St. Lukes Hospital School of Nursing
  • Rush-Presbyterian-St. Lukes Medical Center/Rush University Medical Center
  • Rush University and its Colleges

Rush University Medical Center Archives

1700 West Van Buren St., Suite 086Chicago IL 60612

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Formation Of Rush University Medical Center

Rush University was established in 1972. It now includes colleges of medicine, nursing, health sciences and research training.Our institution officially changed its name in September 2003 to Rush University Medical Center. The change was designed to reflect the key role that education and research play in Rushs patient care mission.Rushs newest additions to its campus include the Tower, an innovative 376-bed hospital building and the Sofija and Jorge O. Galante Orthopedic Building.

Rush University Medical Center

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Rush University Medical Center
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Hospitals in Illinois

Rush University Medical Center is a nationally ranked academic medical center in the Illinois Medical District neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship hospital for the Rush University System for Health, which includes Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Copley Medical Center, and serves as the primary teaching hospital in affiliation with Rush University.

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Copley Family Ensures New Facility Completion

Planning for a new wing began in 1927 but was soon halted due to limited funds during the Depression. Ira C. Copley, newspaper publisher and philanthropist, and his wife, Edith, pledged to the project with a gift of $1 million that guaranteed its completion.The six-story West Wing was completed in 1932, and the hospital was renamed Copley Hospital in gratitude to Copley.The South Wing was built in 1946, bringing the bed total to 200. In 1947, Copley died and left a $1 million endowment to the hospital. In his memory, the hospital was renamed Copley Memorial Hospital.In 1970, the East Wing opened, which made Copley Memorial a 319-bed hospital, tripling its original size. In 1976, the hospital established the Aurora Cancer Treatment Center, the Childrens Health Center and Cardiac Rehabilitation.

Named After A Founding Father

The founder of Rush Medical College, Daniel Brainard, MD, named the school in honor of Benjamin Rush, MD, the only physician with medical school training to sign the Declaration of Independence.The early Rush faculty became nationally recognized for patient care, research and teaching, and was associated with a number of scientific developments and new clinical procedures.

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