People's Institute and Free Dispensary records, 1919-1932  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Creator
People's InstitutePrichard, ValentinePhelps, Grace, 1871-1952Dillehunt, Richard B.Myers, Harold B.
Title
People's Institute and Free Dispensary records
Dates
1919-1932 (inclusive)
Quantity
0.25 linear feet
Collection Number
2008-010
Summary
The People's Institute worked to provide social services for the urban poor while the Portland Free Dispensary was an early effort to provide health services to the underserved. They served as a model of collaboration between the city's charitable organizations and its medical community. This collection contains a variety of reports, correspondence, and other materials relating to the work of the People's Institute and Portland Free Dispensary.
Repository
Oregon Health & Science University, Historical Collections & Archives
OHSU Historical Collections & Archives
Oregon Health & Science University
3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd. MC:LIB
Portland, OR
97239
Telephone: 503-494-5587
hcaref@ohsu.edu
Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions on access. The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Portland Free Dispensary, an early effort to provide health services to the underserved in Portland, was a model of collaboration between the city's charitable organizations and its medical community.

In 1904, Valentine Prichard, supervisor of the Portland Public School kindergartens, issued a report on what she found to be the deplorable living conditions of many of the city's poorest residents. As a result, a group of prominent local women, including Caroline Ladd and Helen Ladd Corbett, organized to establish and fund the People's Institute Settlement Work. Modeled on Chicago's Hull House, the settlement house worked to provide social services for the urban poor.

By 1907, it was clear that the service most in demand for many of Portland's neediest people was health care. Inspired by the idea that those who were physically capable of helping themselves would do so, the group founded the Portland Free Dispensary. The People's Institute had already obtained the necessary medical equipment during its efforts to provide health care to refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The equipment was moved into a space shared with the Boys' Club, and several physicians were enlisted as volunteers.

In 1909, Dr. Clarence J. McCusker made a report on the dispensary's activities to the faculty at the University of Oregon Medical School (UOMS), then located at Twenty-Third and Lovejoy streets. Soon after, the school agreed to affiliate with the dispensary on the condition that larger quarters would be provided for the clinics. Accordingly, the equipment was moved to five rooms on the lower floors of the quarters of the People's Institute at Fourth and Burnside streets.

Third- and fourth-year medical students from UOMS made mandatory rotations through the clinics, working alongside volunteer physicians. Medical graduate Adelaide Lake later shared her recollections of time spent in the Portland Free Dispensary, noting that "some of the most important assistance gleaned by the students from the dispensary is aside from knowledge of medicine and surgery which they gain there. They learn through contact with people who are aided by the organization that medical aid can be benefited by a knowledge of home conditions of the patient and by friendly aid. They are taught that cures are often more easily effected by elimination of aggravating surroundings and mental conditions than by the administration of drugs."

Forty-one separate clinics were eventually established at the dispensary, including the state's first well-baby clinics. The Visiting Nurse Association and nursing schools around the city provided nursing services. Local hospitals also affiliated themselves with the dispensary, and many patients were transferred to the Multnomah County Hospital, St. Vincent Hospital, and Good Samaritan Hospital. Medical prescriptions were given out as needed, and local druggists were enlisted to provide medications to dispensary patients "in accordance with the individual's ability to pay"—often at no cost.

By 1916, five rooms were no longer sufficient to accommodate the growth of services, and the Dispensary was moved to a building on the corner of Fourth and Jefferson streets. In 1921, a local headline declared: "Portland Free Dispensary is building on the principle that a healthful city is a hopeful and a happy city and that the right of every man is health." By 1923, the dispensary was seeing up to 165 patients a day and providing over 25,000 treatments per year.

The arrangement begun in 1907 continued for twenty-four years, until the Portland Free Dispensary was formally turned over to UOMS. In February 1931, the Outpatient Clinic of the medical school opened in a new building on the Marquam Hill campus, outfitted with the latest in medical technology and amenities. Both building and furnishings had been funded by a $400,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. All dispensary employees were transferred to the new Outpatient Clinic facility.

The building still stands on the Marquam Hill campus of the Oregon Health & Science University and still houses many of the university's outpatient clinics. In 2006, the building was renamed Sam Jackson Hall.

In 1939, Valentine Prichard, who had served as superintendent of the People's Institute since its founding, wrote: "The record of history is that upon the initiative of private philanthropy depends the recognition of public duty. . . . Legislatures and municipalities have little time for originating and testing new programs, and it is here that philanthropy has rendered its most patriotic service by accepting as its mission the awakening and the stimulating of the conscience of the state and the nation."

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Contains a series of annual reports, many of them small statistical booklets. There is also correspondence; reports, articles of incorporation, agreement documentation with UOMS, position papers, instructions for staff, and other miscellany.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

OHSU Historical Collections & Archives (HC&A) is the owner of the original materials and digitized images in our collections, however, the collection may contain materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials. Consult with HC&A to determine if we can provide permission for use.

Preferred Citation

People's Institute and Free Dispensary records, Collection Number 2008-010, Oregon Health & Science University, Historical Collections & Archives

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

Original source of the materials not definitively known, but assumed to be the Institute or UOMS staff with ties to it. They were deaccessioned from the Pacific Northwest Archives in July 2008.

Related Materials

1999-010 People's Institute Image Collection

2001-002 Portland Free Dispensary Board of Trustees Minutes

2005-010 Portland Free Dispensary Letters Collection


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Statistical Reports-Community Health Services, 1919-1931Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 1

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 1
Statistical Report of the Portland Free Dispensary
1919-1920
Statistical Report of the Portland Free Dispensary
1920-1921
People's Institute and Free Dispensary-Outline
1921
Statistical Report of the Portland Free Dispensary (2)
1921-1922
Statistical Report of the Portland Free Dispensary (2)
1923-1924
Statistical Report of the Portland Free Dispensary
1924-1925
Statistical Report of the Portland Free Dispensary
1928-1929
Statistical Report of the Portland Free Dispensary
1930-1931
People's Institute and Free Dispensary (outline and history)
1920
Annual Report of the Portland Free Dispensary
1921 March
Portland Free Dispensary Statistical Report
1921 April
Portland Free Dispensary Statistical Report
1921 May
Portland Free Dispensary Statistical Report
1921 June
Portland Free Dispensary Statistical Report
1921 July
Portland Free Dispensary Statistical Report
1921 August
Portland Free Dispensary Statistical Report
1922 May

Correspondence, 1918-1932Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 2

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 2
Helen Ladd Corbett-City of Portland correspondence
1918
Lola G. Baldwin-Valentine Prichard
1918 December 16
A.C. Seely, Acting Asst. Surgeon-Valentine Prichard
1919 January 31
A.C. Seely, Acting Asst. Surgeon-Valentine Prichard
1919 March 13
C.C. Pierce, Assistant Surgeon-General Public Health Service-Portland Free Dispensary
1919 March 29
Free Dispensary reply to C.C.Pierce, Asst. Surg.-Gen. US Public Health Service
1919 April 7
Free Dispensary-Dr. A.C.Seely
1919 April 9
David N. Roberg, State Health Officer-Valentine Prichard
1919 May 24
Free Dispensary-C.C.Pierce
1919 July 17
Prichard-R.E.L.Holt M.D., Dir. Venereal Disease Control, Portland
1919 July 19
Harold B. Myers,Asst. Dean, UOMS-Prichard
1919 July 29
C.C. Pierce-Dr. H.W. Howard, Venereal Disease Clinic Free Dispensary
1919 August 21
Prichard-Pierce
1919 September 25
City Health Officer-John Mann, Commissioner, Portland Public Utilities
1919 December 11
Hugh H.Herdman, Portland Community Chest-Beneficiaries of PCC (with attachement "The Dispensary")
1922 November 14
People's Institute-Portland Junior League
1924 December 1
E.L. Braden, Blumauer-rank Drug Co.-Prichard: Reply with previous correspondence
1926 July 2
Richard B. Dillehunt, Dean UOMS-Mrs. L. Allen Lewis
1929 January 29
Prichard-Dillehunt
1929 February 2
Frederick D. Stricker, Oregon State Board of Health-Dilehunt
1929 February 6
Gainor Minott, Visiting Nurse Association-Dillehunt
1929 February 12
Resolutions of Multnomah Co. Board of Commissioners-Dillehunt
1929 February 13
Sadie Orr Dunbar,Oregon Tuberculosis Association-Dillehunt
1929 February 14
Herdman, Community Chest-Dillehunt
1929 February 15
Grace Phelps, R.N.-Miss Cecil L.Schreyer, Supervising Nurse,Portland Free Dispensary
1930 May 19
Phelps-Dillehunt with attachement on staffing durng Nurse Schreyers leave.
1930 May 19
Ralf Couch,Secretary UOMS-Dr. A.E. Mackay
1930 July 1
Dispensary-Portland Community Chest Finance Committee (2)
1930 July 7
Dillehunt-Community Chest with attachement "Concerning People's Institute Budget for 1931"
1930 July 22
Board of Directors, Dispensary-Portland Community Chest (2copies 1 handwritten,1 typed)
1930 September
Dillehunt-Prichard
1930 November 26
Dispensary-Dillehunt
1930 December 2
Annual Report 1930
1931
People's Institute BoD-Absentee members of May 18 meeting
1931 May 19
Prichard-Sec., Portland Comm.Chest
1931 June 29
Form letter-People's Institute membership drive
1931
Items of Interest Regarding the People's Institute Auxiliary
1931
Frederick Stricker, OSBH-Form letter re: Health Exposition
1932 May 10
Doernbecher Hospital Guild-Prichard
no date
Form letter from Kenneth A.J. Mackenzie (2)
undated
A.E. Mackay-Prichard
undated
Dispensary-Mackenzie re: nursing shortage
undated
Notes scribbled on back of an envelope of Miss Prichard
undated

Miscellaneous, 1916-1931Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 3

Container(s) Description Dates
box folder
1 3
Report of the Portland Free Dispensary
1910 March 4
Articles of Incorporation People's Institute
1916 May 1
Tentative Agreement between Univ. of Oregon Medical School and the Oregon State Bd. of Health to establish a free venereal dispensary
1919
A Brief History of the Portland Free Dispensary- A Department of the People's Institute in Affiliation with the Medical School of the University of Oregon- rendered with the annual report
1920 June
Report of the committee for cooperation with allied agencies in interesting the Child Health Committee in Oregon as a demonstration center
1923 January 4
Cooperative Organization of Dispensary and the Medical School
1928
Items of Interest Regarding the People's Institute Auxiliary
1931
A Brief History of the Portland Free Dispensary-short version
undated
Statement of Agreement Regarding the New Children's Clinic of the Portland Free Dispensary,UOMS,People's Institute, Visiting Nurse Assoc., and Oregon Tuberculosis Assoc., Cooperating
undated
Statements Regarding the People's Institute and Portland Free Dispensary
undated
Items for Consideration Regarding the Portland Free Dispensary
undated
Report on clinic work
undated
Outline for Volunteers
undated
Fragment of history (p13-22) of People's Institute & Dispensary
undated
Misc. fragments(5)
undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Education
  • Hospital Administration
  • Public Health
  • Tuberculosis

Corporate Names

  • Portland Free Dispensary

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Dillehunt, Richard B. (fmo)
    • Myers, Harold B. (fmo)
    • Phelps, Grace, 1871-1952 (fmo)
    • Prichard, Valentine (fmo)