Collection RG011 - Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital Records


Reference code


Level of description



Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital Records



48.00 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital was established following a devastating tornado that destroyed St. Louis City Hospital on May 27, 1896. The city set up temporary facilities for the City Hospital patients in the House of the Good Shepherd, but the overflow of patients resulted in cancer patients being turned away. Recognizing that cancer patients needed a facility exclusively dedicated to cancer treatment, the St. Louis Skin and Cancer Hospital opened on a trial basis in 1905 in the old Tuholske Private Hospital at 410 N. Jefferson Avenue. Having proved its worth, the hospital erected a new, 44-bed facility at 3427 Washington Avenue on December 20, 1910. George D. Barnard funded the construction of the new $135,000 building and consequently the hospital was renamed Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital in his honor.

The hospital's three main purposes were treatment, research, and education. Patients were treated only if they were unable to pay for their care and this treatment was provided at no cost to the patients. Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital was a pioneer in public education about cancer and these efforts allowed the community to understand the need for early detection in cancer cases. In addition to its impressive educational contributions, the hospital staff also engaged in research to discover new ways of treating and preventing cancer. The first methods of conducting surgery to remove cancer in the shoulder and hip were developed at Barnard Hospital. Over time, more and more of the research aspect of the hospital was affiliated with Washington University.

In 1952, Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital officially affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine. On October 13, 1954, a new 40-bed building was dedicated on the Medical School campus for the hospital. That building still stands and is now a part of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. The affiliation with Washington University caused the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital to shift from an independently organized free cancer hospital serving low income patients to a university-affiliated, research-oriented teaching hospital. In 2000, Alvin J. Siteman donated $35 million for the foundation of the Siteman Cancer Center, which incorporated the cancer treatment and research aspects of Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital.

Scope and content

Researchers should note that the inventory for this collection is not yet complete.

System of arrangement

Only an initial inventory for this collection has been completed.  There are mistakes in the volume numbers.  Volumes 101-106 should be folder numbers, not volume numbers.  Also, Volumes 131-141 should be folder numbers, not volume numbers.  Beginning with Series 3, "Item" should be changed to either "volume" or "folder".

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

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 (

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

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Alternative identifier(s)

Rules or conventions

"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

Sources used

Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

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