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St. Elizabeth Hospital Records

Identifier: MS-497

Scope and Content

The St. Elizabeth Hospital Collection documents the growth and day to day operations of the St. Elizabeth Medical Center and their Nursing School. This collection is arranged into five series, with two of those series each having three subseries. The largest of these series is the series of photographs, which document the growth and expansion of the physical hospital building as well as the staff housed within. Of particular note is the subseries of class photos produced by the attached Nursing School, documenting the graduating nurses from 1918 through 1974. The collection does not include medical records. All St. Elizabeth Hospital medical records were permanently destroyed by hospital personnel after 10 years, in accordance with the legal requirements and the hospital’s records retention policy.

Series I, Administration, consists of personnel and Chief of Staff files containing Thomas Beckett’s hiring information, correspondence, publications, and resignation documents. Meeting and committee minutes, the hospital’s policy manual, the 1959 Elizabethan Nursing School yearbook, intern training materials, and official correspondence is also included.

Series II, Ledgers, consists of 19 ledgers containing notes and patient information, such as admission date, diagnosis, physician seen, and discharge date.

Series III, Publications, consists of internal and external publications of SEMC staff members. It is divided into 3 subseries. Subseries IIIA, General Publications, contains published articles by hospital staff, as well as news articles about the hospital. Subseries IIIB, Annual reports, contains the financial reports that were made available to the community. Subseries IIIC, Newsletters, contains the multiple newsletters produced by the hospital, including the Elizabethan Network, an employee publication (1962-1970) printed in house, the Elizabethan Newsletter (1970-1978) produced both in and out of the facility, and the Franciscan Focus/News (1990-1991).

Series IV, Special Events, consists primarily of documents pertaining to the Centennial Celebration in 1978, as well as various other events organized by the hospital.

Series V, Visual Material, contains various photographs and negatives produced throughout the lifetime of the hospital providing visual representation of the hospital’s growth and operations. It is divided into 3 subseries. Subseries VA, Photographs, contains the photographs produced by the hospital. The photographs are grouped according to subject matter, i.e. staff photos, departmental photos, and building expansion. Subseries VA, Negatives, contains negatives of photographs including employee gatherings, building construction, medical operations, and staff photos. Subseries VB, Nursing School, contains the annual class photos of graduating students from the attached nursing school, officially established in 1929 and closed in 1974.


  • Creation: 1878-2000
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1940-2000


Restrictions on Access

Oversize materials in this collection are stored off-site; therefore, please notify us at least two days in advance if requesting oversize materials (marked as “OS”).

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

History of St. Elizabeth Hospital

St. Elizabeth hospital was opened on August 15, 1878 by Franciscan nuns and Father John F. Hahne of Emmanuel Church, Dayton's oldest Catholic Church. Sisters Emile and Columbia came to Dayton on July 2, 1878 from the mother house in Aachen, Germany to open the hospital. The first location, named for St. Elizabeth of Hungary, was a two-story brick house across Franklin Street from Emmanuel Church and opened with 12 beds. Dr. J. C. Reeve was the hospitals first Chief of Staff, serving from 1878 to 1908. The hospital was considered Dayton's first community hospital. In 1882, St. Elizabeth's relocated to a house on four acres on Hopeland Street for $14,000. Land was acquired around the hospital by the sisters to support livestock and an orchard as part of the food supply in 1884. The house held 100 beds and cost $130,000 total after construction. Expansion continued to accommodate the growing need for more facilities, including the Department of Pathology in 1891 and the Saint Ann Maternity ward in 1916. St. Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing was opened in 1929 on the East side of Hopeland Street. The school expanded in 1945 with the addition of Schervier Hall and again in 1946 with the St. Elizabeth School of Medical Technology and School of X-ray Technology. Groundbreaking for new buildings began in 1951 across Hopeland Street and construction was completed one year before the hospital's centennial in 1977. Prior to the centennial, the hospital officially changed its name to the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in 1969. The nursing school closed permanently in 1974 and Shervier Hall was renovated. The hospital closed in 1999 and its building is now the Medical Center at Elizabeth Place, housing rental offices for individual medical practice and clinics.


34 linear feet

Language of Materials



The St. Elizabeth Hospital Records document the growth and expansion of the Franciscan Health Network in Dayton. The hospital was established in 1878 and founded as Dayton's first community hospital by the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. Expansion and construction began in 1882 and continued throughout the hospital's existence. The collection includes photographs and negatives documenting this development overtime. The Nursing School was established at St. Elizabeth Hospital in 1929 and closed permanently in 1974. Class photographs of nursing school students are included in the main collection. St. Elizabeth Hospital became St. Elizabeth Medical Center in 1969, creating new publications and departments. Nineteen handwritten ledgers were used from 1878 through 1940 to document the admission, diagnosis, and discharge of patients. The collection also includes news articles, minutes for various meetings, financial reports, and additional photographs and negatives covering the period from 1878 to 2000. The hospital officially closed in 1999 and is now the Medical Center at Elizabeth Place. The collection does not include medical records.

Statement of Arrangement

The collection is arranged into five series and six subseries.

  1. Series I: Administration, 1908-2000
  2. Series II: Ledgers, 1878-1940
  3. Series III: Publications, 1911-2000
  4. Subseries IIIA: General Publications, 1948-2000
  5. Subseries IIIB: Annual Reports, 1911-1987
  6. Subseries IIIC: Newsletters, 1962-1992
  7. Series IV: Special Events, 1890-1999
  8. Series V: Visual material, 1878-2000
  9. Subseries VA: Photographs, 1878-2000
  10. Subseries VB: Negatives, 1902-1989
  11. Subseries VC: Nursing School, 1918-1974

Custodial History

Dayton History received the collection in 2000 from St. Elizabeth Hospital. It was transferred to Wright State University on June 26, 2013, with additional materials transferred on September 13, 2014.

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to Special Collections and Archives by Dayton History on June 26, 2013. Additional materials were transferred to Special Collections and Archives on September 13, 2014 from Dayton History.

Related Material

Dayton Metro Library holds 7 related photographs from the Dayton Postcard Collections, and 2 related photographs from the Lutzenberger Picture Collection.

Separated Material

Nursing School Class Photo Posters from 1964 through 1974 are located with other oversized materials offsite.

Processing Information

Processed by: Shelby Dixon and Heather Webb, April 2015.

Nursing School Class Photos from 1918, 1932-1942, 1944, 1947, 1950-1963, and 1965 were detached from posters, placed in album pages, and stored in album boxes. Processing was limited to general information about the hospital, administration, and nursing school. Some staff photographs, along with photographs of special events, are unprocessed and found in boxes at the end of the collection.

Guide to the St. Elizabeth Hospital Records (MS-497)
Finding aid prepared by Shelby Dixon and Heather Webb, April 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA