Long Island College Hospital
Brooklyn, New York
Ancestry.com has five early editions of the Lichonia, the school yearbook. Catalogs from 1899 to 1919 are available through HathiTrust. Internet Archive has two school histories: one authorized by the L.I.C.H. Alumni Association and written by Joseph H. Raymond (1899); the other by the Downstate Medical Center Alumni Association (1961). The logo (right)is from the Raymond history.
The German General Dispensary was organized in 1856 by a group of physicians to provide medical services to the poor German immigrants in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. This dispensary became the forerunner of the Long Island College Hospital, organized on November 7, 1857. Based on the best European models, which combined hospital care with medical training, L.I.C.H. became the first teaching hospital in the United States.
Classes opened on March 29, 1860 for 57 students with eight professors: Theory and Practice of Medicine; Principles and Practice of Surgery; Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children; Chemistry and Medical Jurisprudence; Surgical Anatomy and Operative Surgery; Physiology; General and Descriptive Anatomy; Materia Medica. Two courses of Lectures and three years with a preceptor were required for graduation.
In 1891 L.I.C.H. raised entrance requirements to include three years of high school courses or passing equivalent exams to acquire a Medical Student’s Certificate. In 1898 L.I.C.H. raised graduation requirements, beginning a four-year graded course of instruction. The 1899-1900 catalogue lists 60 graduates—40 from New York—with 208 matriculates. The 1929 Lichonia shows 96 graduates—including three women. Total enrollment that year was around 400.
The 1910 Flexner Report was critical of L.I.C.H. for having no fulltime faculty members and for deficiencies in the library, museum and laboratories. For a time after the report came out, the school’s rating from the American Medical Association dropped to a B.
Students at L.I.C.H. had chapters of seven medical fraternities on campus. These included Alpha Kappa Kappa, Theta Kappa Psi, Phi Delta Epsilon, Phi Lambda Kappa, Sigma Alpha Mu, Delta Sigma Theta, and Lambda Phi Mu.
In 1930 the medical school split from the hospital. The school was incorporated as Long Island College of Medicine, extending its affiliation to other hospitals in Brooklyn. In 1950 it became part of the state college system. Cash strapped, the hospital was closed in 2017.
The 1926-27 students council. Image from the 1927 Lichonia.
Bricks and Mortar
The founders purchased the Perry Property, “a block long Greek Revival mansion” on Henry Street between Amity and Pacific. It would provide space for “a hospital with an in-door and out-door department,” as well as facilities for instruction, including an amphitheater, chemistry and anatomy laboratories, and a library. This building was replaced by the Maxwell Hospital building in 1905.
In 1888 the Dutch style Hoagland Laboratory building opened at 340 Henry Street, across from the hospital. This five and a half story building was built to house bacteriological laboratories. Not a part of L.I.C.H., it nevertheless supported both the hospital and the college with lecture halls, a library, and laboratories for pathology, physiology, and histology. Hoagland Laboratory Building burned on April 21, 1971 and was razed.
Then between 1897 and 1908 the eight-story Polhemus Memorial Building was constructed at 100 Amity Street beside the hospital. The hospital clinic/dispensary occupied the first two floors. The third through sixth floors contained an amphitheater, library, and lecture halls for the college. Chemical laboratories were on the seventh floor with the dissecting rooms on the top floor. In 2008 the building was renovated, becoming the upscale Polhemus Apartments.
2021 Google image of 100 Amity Street.
School Colors: Purple and White
The Medics from Long Island College Hospital played football between 1890 and 1899. The Medics defeated Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute 6-4 in 1890 and 10-6 in 1892; They defeated Boys High School 22-0 in 1891. Losses were to Fort Hamilton Cricket Club 16-2 in 1890, Polytechnic Institute 23-0 in 1891, Yale Freshmen 52-0 in 1894, Princeton Scrubs 30-0 in 1894, Conqueror Athletic Club 16-0 in 1895, and St. Francis College 31-7 in 1913.
The annual game with Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons became a Brooklyn-Manhattan rivalry. L.I.C.H. won in 1891 and 1895; P&S won in 1894
In 1892 The Brooklyn Eagle reported that the Medics had played baseball against Polytechnic Institute.