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Bellevue Hospital Medical College

New York, New York




HathiTrust has two early catalogs for the school.  The Second Decennial Catalogue of the Trustees, Faculty, Officers and of the Alumni of Bellevue Hospital Medical College of the City of New York by Frederick A. Castle contains a history of the college to 1881.  The New York Tribune covered some school events.



Founded in 1861, Bellevue Hospital Medical College was the first in the nation to be connected to a hospital.  Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in the United States, had allowed medical students to sit in its new amphitheater to observe operations in 1849.   Bellevue doctors then felt that it would be an advantage for medical students to have all the clinical opportunities that a hospital could provide.  And so Bellevue Hospital Medical College was born.


By 1890 B.H.M.C. showed 144 graduates and 519 matriculates.  Neither newspapers nor catalogs mention student organizations or activities.


The 1890 catalog shows seven departments of study—Practice of Medicine; Surgery; Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children; Materia Medica and Therapeutics; Physiology; Anatomy; Chemistry, Toxicology, and Medical Jurisprudence. Special departments included Otology, Ophiology; Diseases of the Throat; and Mental Illness.


Students attended didactic lectures in the above departments during the winter session, followed by clinical lectures in the spring to apply the concepts.  In addition, professors offered special lectures for those students who wanted more advanced work in a specialty.  The two-year program was to become a three-year program in 1892.


In addition to Bellevue Hospital, clinical resources available for students included the Charity Hospital on Blackwell Island.  This facility housed patients with contagious diseases such as syphilis. The Bureau of Medical and Surgical Relief for Outdoor Poor was located on the first floor of the college building.  This was essentially a walk-in clinic treating almost 40,000 patients yearly.


In 1898 New York University effected a merger of its University Medical College with the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, creating a new school called University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College.



Bricks and Mortar

The New York Tribune covered the laying of the cornerstone for the new Medical College building in 1896.  Located at the corner of 26th Street and 1st Avenue, the five-story granite and brick building was to contain “every modern appliance” pertinent to the medical profession.  A basement with electric lighting was used for cold storage.  The first floor became home to a walk-in clinic.  The second and fourth floors contained lecture rooms.  Between these was a one thousand-seat amphitheater on the third floor.  The top floor contained dissecting rooms.


The school’s laboratories were housed in the Carnegie Laboratory Building next door. Built in 1885, it was the first such Carnegie-sponsored laboratory in the nation.  Measuring 50 x 100 feet, it had five floors.  In addition to the laboratories, it contained a large auditorium, a museum, and private rooms which could be rented to physicians. 


These buildings became part of the merger.  An October 20, 2011 CBS news article noted that the buildings had been razed “a few weeks ago.”

The 1896 B.H.M.C. building.  The Carnegie Laboratory is the building to the immediate right.  Image from the Museum of the City of New York.,-University-and-Bellevue-Hospital-Medical-College.-2F3XC5F5ADL.html Accessed 4-23-2018


        School Colors: shows a light blue ribbon on an 1864 diploma.  


Under the heading “Doctors kick the Ball,” the New York Tribune reported on a November 24, 1893 football game between College of Physicians and Surgeons and Bellevue Hospital Medical College.  The paper noted that the game featured “a lot of fun, if not scientific playing.”  C.P.&S. won the game 6-4.


College Football Data Warehouse shows a five-game season in 1902 after the merger with University Medical College.  The merged team defeated Elk Field and the parent New York University team, while playing Fordham to a 6-6 draw and losing to Seton Hall.

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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