The Legacy of Emory at Grady: The Early Years

A class of graduating nurses poses outside Wesley Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, later Emory University Hospital, in 1916.
A class of graduating nurses poses outside Wesley Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, later Emory University Hospital, in 1916.

A class of graduating nurses poses outside Wesley Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, later Emory University Hospital, in 1916.

Grady Memorial Hospital opened on June 1, 1892 with 18 employees and 100 beds. The hospital was composed of one operating room and an amphitheater for students and staff. In 1899, the daily cost for a patient was $1.09. Shortly before World War I, the hospital completed the construction of separate white and black hospitals, clinics, nurses’ quarters, and emergency rooms. Because of its separate facilities, the hospital was coined “the Gradies,” a name that would stick until desegregation almost 50 years later.

From 1915 to 1917, the newly formed Emory University School of Medicine was housed across the street from Grady. In 1917, Emory’s founders, including Coca-Cola magnate Asa Candler, endowed the medical school $250,000 to build laboratories for its basic science departments. After the construction of two pink-marble laboratory buildings (Scott and Fishburne), the School of Medicine’s first- and second-year students were moved to Emory’s Druid Hills campus.

 

William Simpson Elkin was dean of Emory's medical school from 1915 to 1925.

William Simpson Elkin was dean of Emory’s medical school from 1915 to 1925.

Despite having survived the Flexner Report and found a supportive university, Dean W.S. Elkin was concerned that the School of Medicine lacked the resources of some peer institutions. When he expressed the desire for an Emory-owned teaching hospital, Candler arranged for the transfer of Wesley Memorial Hospital—which had been operating out of an antebellum mansion in downtown Atlanta—to the Druid Hills campus.

 

 

 

John P. Scott Anatomy Building, built in 1917.

When construction of the new hospital (now Emory University Hospital) was completed, Emory effectively had a “split campus.” In the years ahead, the School of Medicine expanded rapidly—adding four additional hospitals, a large clinic, and several satellite clinics under its umbrella—but its third- and fourth- year students continued much of their clinical training at Grady.

 

 

Related Links/Sources
The Legacy of Emory at Grady: The Beginning (Pt 1)
Emory University photo archives
Emory University School of Medicine
Emory University Department of Medicine
Grady Health System
• Jordan Messler’s April 2015 presentation at Medicine Grand Rounds
A Marriage Made in Atlanta
Emory at Grady
Raising the Bar: 150 years of a Medical School in Motion
Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia collection

 

 

About the Author

Emory Department of Medicine
Emory Department of Medicine

The Emory University Department of Medicine, within the Emory University School of Medicine, is steeped in a rich tradition of excellence. Through the work of its nine divisions and numerous centers and institutes, the department has pioneered discoveries in medicine, education, scientific and clinical investigation, and clinical care. Emory University School of Medicine’s medical school, residency, transitional-year, and fellowship programs offer students the latest knowledge in treatment practices, scientific theories, research, and patient care.

The Emory University Department of Medicine is a component of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University, which includes the Emory schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare.

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