Print preview Close

Showing 6 results

Archival description
Advanced search options
Print preview View:

Barnes Medical College or University bulletins, 1900-1912.

Barnes Medical College was organized in 1892 as a for-profit venture by a group of physicians and business leaders and named in honor of a recently deceased merchant, Robert A. Barnes (1808-1892). Barnes had bequeathed money for the construction of a hospital and it has been widely presumed that the educators’ choice of name was part of an attempt to secure an affiliation between the two institutions. If so, the attempt failed, for the trustees of the Robert A. Barnes estate chose instead to reinvest the assets and wait for a more favorable time to build Barnes Hospital. Ignoring the rebuff, the college trustees constructed a building of their own at 2645 Chestnut (later renamed Lawton) Street. The institution quickly became the largest medical college in the city (ca. 400 students) and its program outgrew the original structure. In 1896 a second building opened two blocks west, on Lawson at Garrison Avenue. In 1902 the objective of a college-related clinical facility was achieved with the establishment of Centenary Hospital and the Barnes Dispensary in a new adjoining building. The institution also operated a dental college (see below), a college of pharmacy, and a nurses’ training program. At its height, the college enrolled approximately 600 students, and in 1904 changed its name to Barnes University. Despite these enhancements and changes of name, it became increasing apparent that the institution was financially unstable. The trustees offered their properties to the Curators of the University of Missouri in 1906 to house the state medical college. The negotiations lasted over a year and the Curators came close to accepting what seemed at first to be a generous offer. In the end, however, the state refused to pay the private venture’s debts and plans for the connection collapsed in 1908. During this same period, Barnes did absorb a smaller private school, the Hippocratean College of Medicine. Flexner severely criticized the Barnes institutions in 1909, however, a contemporary reviewer writing for the American Medical Association (Philip Skrainka, 1910) judged their quality “good.” One year following the merger with American Medical College in 1911 the names Barnes ceased to refer to medical instruction by this organization. For a brief period (1911-1914?) the Centenary facility was administered by Christian Hospital. From 1919 until 1936 the city of St. Louis used the building as a hospital for African American patients (City Hospital No. 2). The structures at Garrison and Lawton were demolished in 1960.

Barnes Medical College, Saint Louis

American Medical College publications and photographs, 1875-1912.

American Medical College was organized in 1873.  Its backers were promoters of “eclecticism,” which was an approach to therapeutics that emphasized herbal remedies.  The first class graduated in 1874, when instruction was offered at 7th and Olive Streets.  The college admitted two classes each subsequent year up to 1883, thereafter a single class annually but with a longer term of instruction.  From 1878 until 1890 the institution was located at 310 North 11th Street in St. Louis, and then moved to 407 S. Jefferson Avenue.  Some time around 1900 the faculty staffed what was billed as “the only eclectic hospital in the west,” Metropolitan Hospital, but this facility evidently did not remain open long.  Flexner graded American along with several other Missouri medical schools as “utterly wretched” following his visit in 1909.  In 1910 the college abandoned eclecticism and formally embraced “regular” medicine.  The college purchased a new building and also opened a second hospital and a dispensary on Pine Street at Theresa Avenue.  Again the clinical facilities were short-lived.  In 1911 American merged with nearby Barnes University.  The combined institution was renamed National University in 1912.

American Medical College of St. Louis

National University of Arts and Sciences documents, 1913-1915.

Exactly why the backers of Barnes University chose in 1912 to rename their institution National University of Arts and Sciences is unknown, although it is possible to speculate that whereas construction of the (totally unrelated) Barnes Hospital was by then underway, the hospital trustees perhaps asserted claims to exclusive rights to the Barnes name. National University established an undergraduate college in 1913, with courses initially offered in the medical building, then in 1915 moved to a structure at Grand and Delmar Boulevards. The institution attempted as well to operate a preparatory academy. After Christian Hospital withdrew from administration of the former Centenary structure, what was left of the inpatient facility was renamed National Hospital. Also in 1915, a merger was announced between the medical department and the St. Louis College of Physician and Surgeons, another financially beleaguered independent school. This arrangement failed, however, with Physicians and Surgeons withdrawing its faculty and students in 1916. That year witnessed the end of all the National departments but medicine. In 1918 the last medical class graduated and National’s clinical facilities ceased to treat patients.

National University of Arts and Sciences, St. Louis, Missouri