In 1932, Buffalo was swept up in the celebration of the city’s centennial, and many groups and organizations that had existed through those 100 years took the opportunity to celebrate their own existence as well.
The Buffalo Academy of Medicine — particularly proud that Buffalo’s first mayor, Ebenezer Johnson, was a medical doctor — wrote a lengthy history of the practice of medicine from Buffalo’s frontier days right up to the most modern advances 1932 could offer.
The most interesting part, however, might not be that dryly written narrative, but the index of hospitals open in Buffalo in the centennial year.
Buffalo Stories archives
The directory offers a glimpse of medical care in a different era: the J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital devoted to the “various phases of tuberculosis.” The Moses Taylor Hospital in Lackawanna “chiefly for the care of industrial accident cases.” Buffalo State Hospital, “a special state hospital of 2,400 beds devoted entirely to mental diseases.”
Several of the hospitals also took out ads in the booklet — they give a look at some of the hospital buildings around Buffalo as they stood 85 years ago.
Sister Mary Sacred Heart is cutting a celebratory cake for some of Mercy Hospital’s youngest patients in this photo from October 1954.
The Sisters of Mercy were among Buffalo’s earliest Catholic teachers, and from their convent on Fulton Street near St. Brigid’s church and school, Sister Martha began dispensing her “famous black salve.”
That’s credited as the start of the sisters’ medical ministry, which grew to include a hospital inside a former home on Tifft Street near Holy Family church and school, and then later the current Mercy Hospital on Abbott Road in South Buffalo.
In 1954, when this photo was taken, Mercy Hospital was described as a “modern, fully-equipped, six story brick structure.” During the first 50 years of the hospital’s existence, Msgr. Francis Growney estimated that the hospital had cared for 148,000 patients.