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Female Hospital of Saint Louis RecordsAdd to your cart. | Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives

Title: Female Hospital of Saint Louis RecordsAdd to your cart.
ID: PC/PC095
Extent: 1.0 Linear Feet
Predominant Dates: 1876-1886
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expand icon Biographical/Historical Note

The Female Hospital of St. Louis was a hospital "exclusively, for the treatment of all the indigent and poor female sick of the city, from whatever disease or accident they may suffer.” The original buildings for the Female Hospital were opened in 1872 at the intersection of the Arsenal and Sublette as the Social Evil Hospital for the regulation of prostitution.

In 1870 the St. Louis Boards of Police Commissioners and Health initiated the “Social Evil” Ordinance to reduce the spread of venereal disease, to give prostitutes the opportunity to reform, and to control and regulate prostitution. The ordinance was enacted by the city council in July 1870. A revised “Social Evil” Ordinance was passed in June 1871, which allowed for the establishment of a separate hospital for the prostitutes and a House of Industry where they could be trained in more socially acceptable vocational skills. The Social Evil Hospital opened in the fall of 1872, located on 11 acres of land at Arsenal and Sublette Avenue near the St. Louis County Insane Asylum and the New County Poor House.

The Social Evil Ordinance was not without critics. St. Louis civic leader and founder of Washington University, the Reverend William Greenleaf Eliot, spearheaded a campaign in early 1873 to discredit the Social Evil Ordinance and prevent it from inclusion in the new city charter which was then being drafted. The City council nullified the Social Evil Ordinance in April 1874 after receiving a wave of petitions opposing the ordinance. The City of St. Louis continued to operate the hospital, which was renamed the Female Hospital, first treating unwed mothers and patients with venereal disease, then becoming a general hospital for women. The hospital remained open until around 1912. In its final years the building was used as an infirmary for old people from the poor house. The building was razed around 1915; its grounds are now Sublette Park.

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Restrictions: The collection is open and accessible for research.

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Related Materials:
Preferred Citation: [Item description, Box number, Folder number], Female Hospital of Saint Louis Records, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University School of Medicine.
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