Woman's Auxiliary of the University of Maryland Hospital
According to its history printed in 1934, the University Hospital Woman’s Auxiliary Board traced its origins back to 1887, when a small nucleus of volunteer women formed at the request of faculty physician administrators. Their original focus was limited to the Lying-In Hospital. Their intended purpose was to manage what was called the “domestic administration” of the institution, and also to hold benefits for the purpose of raising funds. Eventually the group went on to recognize its role in supplementing the work of the clergy in visiting the sick and helping attend to the social needs of the patients. In 1889, the hospital’s leadership saw the need for enlarging the scope of those original volunteers to encompass the entire hospital. In early 1890, the group officially became the Woman’s Auxiliary Board of Lady Managers, under its first President Susan Williams. Ours was the oldest organization of its kind in Maryland and known records from the time suggest that it likely was the first one established in the United States. The Library’s collection consists of two shelves’ worth of bound original source documents from the Board. The contents consist of minutes of the Board’s meetings, membership ledgers, charter of incorporation, photos and programs of benefit activities, and other similar administrative documentation, including final papers of dissolution. The volumes date back to 1904 and many of them, particularly the earlier years, are in manuscript format. As the group eventually received men among its membership, its name changed to Auxiliary of the University of Maryland Hospital. When the group finally disbanded in 1998, the dissolving officers approached the Library and offered these materials for our retention. We see the prospect of digitizing these materials as the ideal way of presenting a unique agency from our institution with historic roots, and which flourished productively for 111 years.