Name and location of repository
Level of description
McMillan Hospital and Oscar Johnson Institute Records
- 1930-1951 (Creation)
11.00 Linear Feet
Name of creator
In 1930, the McMillan Hospital and Oscar Johnson Institute were opened, both of which were housed within a single 11-story building which came to be known generally as the “McMillan Building”. The bottom six floors were designed to include ophthalmology clinics and eye research laboratories for treatment of patients with diseases of the eye, ear, nose, and throat. These facilities were co-managed by Barnes Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine. The Oscar Johnson Institute, located on the top five floors of the building, housed offices and laboratories for use of researchers working in areas of otolaryngology and ophthalmology.
The construction of the McMillan Building was made possible by multiple donors, including private benefactors, federal grants, and donations from the General Education Board. The most prominent donation was from Eliza McMillan, widow to William McMillan, who was the founder of the American Car and Foundry Company. Through a stipulation in her will, Mrs. McMillan donated a total of $1.2 million in 1915 to Washington University. Mrs. McMillan had previously donated $300,000 for the creation of McMillan Hall, currently located on the university's present-day Danforth Campus, which served as the first female dormitory at Washington University.
In addition to the funding provided by the estate of Eliza McMillan, the family of Oscar Johnson, founder of the International Shoe Company, donated a total of $530,000 for the creation of the Oscar Johnson Institute. The larger $500,000 portion came as a “Christmas Gift” to Washington University, and was added to the growing fund for construction of the McMillan Building. As of 1928, the fund contained about $4 million.
The McMillan Hospital building, though externally completed in 1930, was rather unfinished until years later. Architects Jamieson and Spearl were the initial designers of the space. The lower floors of the building, housing the McMillan Hospital, were characterized by unfinished concrete floors until 1943, when they were finally completed. Because of the economic instability of the Great Depression throughout the 1930s, the McMillan Hospital was not only used for otolaryngology and ophthalmology patients, but also for other treatments, namely psychiatry. The initial building contained 150 total beds, split evenly between the otolaryngology and ophthalmology departments, with an additional eight beds added in 1964 as an Intensive Care Unit for neck and throat patients. In a 1930 description, three separate floors were highlighted as being private, semi-private, and for “colored patients,” respectively.
The departments of otolaryngology and ophthalmology were formally reorganized in 1929 before the completion of the McMillan Hospital building. The first reorganized otolaryngology department was headed by Dr. Lee W. Dean and the ophthalmology department by Dr. Harvey J. Howard.
Name of creator
The Oscar Johnson Institute at Washington University School of Medicine was established to further research by the departments of Ophthalmology and Otolargyngology
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Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.
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"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."
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