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Bennett Medical College

Chicago, Illinois



Internet Archive contains the 1875 catalog for Bennett Medical College.  HathiTrust has the 1913-14 catalog, issued after Bennett had become the medical college for Loyola University.  Faculty from Bennett also edited a journal called Chicago Medical Times in which college activities are often mentioned.  The 1916 Emdee is now available through Internet Archive.


Bennett Medical College of Eclectic Medicine and Surgery was chartered by the state of Illinois in 1868 and opened in two rooms for 19 students that fall.  The aim of the school was to “furnish instructions of a practical character, so as to send out well qualified practitioners of medicine rather than scientific doctors.”   As an eclectic school, it asserted “the right of private judgment upon all matters of scientific difference.”  The college was open to both males and females.


Among listed graduation requirements in 1875 were these: the candidate had to be 21 years old and have “good moral character.”  The student must have completed two courses of lectures, but four years of “honorable practice” could be substituted for one course.  A course of lectures lasted six months.  The candidate had to pass “satisfactory and honorable” exams in each department.  The 1875 graduation class totaled 32, with an additional ad eundem or courtesy degree.


The Flexner report of 1910 was not kind to Bennett Medical College, noting that the entrance requirements were “nominal,” that the facilities were in a “wretched condition,” that the clinical experience was “utterly inadequate” for students and that, above all, it was a for-profit venture essentially owned by the dean.  However the school received a grade of “B” from the A.M.A.  But A.M.A. pressures for medical schools to become associated with universities to improve entrance requirements and enhance academic opportunities led to Bennett's becoming the medical college for Loyola University in 1910.


By 1913 the graduation requirements had been extended to four courses of eight months each, during which students attended lectures, recitations and conferences and worked in laboratories.  Between the Cook County Hospital and the Jefferson Park Hospital, students received daily clinical instruction.  In 1915 Loyola assumed complete control of the school, and the Bennett name passed into history.     

Bricks and Mortar 

After the Great Fire of 1871, Bennett began construction of a new building on State Street.  That building became the signature for the school, appearing as an advertising logo.


Still later Bennett moved to a new location at the northwest corner of Fulton and Cook Streets.  The 1913-14 catalog says that this building was “built for medical purposes.”  It contained two amphitheaters, four lecture halls, a number of clinic rooms, two floors of laboratories, a library with reading room and a drug room.  A 1910 addition added more laboratories for the study of physiology, chemistry, pathology, bacteriology, histology, and pharmacology.  The top floor was dedicated to the study of anatomy.

That catalog notes that Jefferson Park Hospital was controlled by the college so that students had access to patients.  Students also did clinical work at City Hospital, only a ten- minute walk away.


In 1917 after Bennett Medical College had passed on to Loyola University, the Fulton Street building was abandoned in favor of one on the Loyola Campus.  When last reported, the Chicago School of Sanitary Instruction occupied the Fulton Street buildings.  The present Google map shows a vacant lot at 1358 Fulton Street.    

Bennett Medical College Fulton Street Building. (Chicago Nostalgia and Memorablia <>)


Several newspapers reported in 1900 that Bennett Medical College students had held a rally in support of a football program, in which they were joined by Bishop Samuel Fellows, a counselor at the school.  In that same year a team from Bennett either defeated Dixon College 45-0 or were defeated by the same score, the game report being unclear.  College Football Data Warehouse shows games as early as 1899—a tie with Lake Forest and losses to Morgan Park Military Academy, and Commercial Athletic Club.  The 1900 team also lost to Rennsalaer AC and Lake Forest.  The 1901 team lost to Lake Forest.  The most ambitious football undertaking was in 1905 when the team lost to Marquette and Notre Dame and tied North Central College.

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