Section I, Series
2. Financial and Real Estate Records, 1724-1973.
The processing of this collection was made possible through
a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records
The financial records of the Pennsylvania Hospital have been
housed in the Pine Building since its completion, resulting
in a remarkably complete set of records, which reflect the
development of the Hospital from 1751 until approximately
1920, when there appear to have been changes in record-keeping
procedures and shifts in responsibilities of key hospital
History of Pennsylvania Hospital Finances
The Pennsylvania Hospital was founded in 1751 by Dr. Thomas
Bond and Benjamin Franklin. Chartered by the Colonial Government,
the Pennsylvania Hospital has the distinction of being the
first hospital in America to care for the sick poor. The original
building on Eighth and Pine Streets, completed in 1755, was
expanded over the years, as demand for a larger facility grew.
The vitality of every charitable organization depends upon
securing financial support from the government and private
individuals. This was equally true in 1751, when Benjamin
Franklin, at the request of Thomas Bond, presented a petition
to the Pennsylvania Assembly that proposed a hospital “to
care for the sick poor of the Province and for the reception
and care of lunaticks.” Franklin convinced the Assembly
to support the project by asserting that prominent supporters
of the Hospital would raise 2,000 pounds from private citizens,
if the Assembly would match the funds raised. Anticipating
that Franklin would not be able to raise the required money,
the Assembly approved the plan. Hospital supporters had preemptively
gathered pledges in excess of the amount needed, and the bill
creating funds for a hospital was signed into law on May 11,
1751. The money received from the Assembly was kept in a capital
stock fund, which was to be maintained and grown through investments
in property and shares in companies.
To facilitate fundraising and to educate the public about
the mission of Pennsylvania Hospital, Franklin wrote and published
a pamphlet entitled Some Account of Pennsylvania Hospital
in 1754. This publication served as an annual report
to contributors, as well as a request for new supporters.
Included in the report was an appeal for contributions, promising
that with the contribution of ten pounds or more, the individual
would become eligible to vote in the election of the Managers
and Treasurer of the Hospital. In 1761, another financially
vulnerable period, this book was updated and reprinted to
appeal, once again, to the public’s generosity.
In addition to official grants from the Assembly and donations
from the Contributors, the Managers raised funds for the Hospital
using charity boxes that were placed around the Hospital and
in individuals’ homes. Financial assistance of various
types enhanced the Hospital’s ability to serve the community;
some wealthy patrons donated stock in local companies that
would yield benefits over a long period of time, others granted
the Hospital land rights, which made it possible to collect
rents from tenants and expand the Hospital’s grounds.
The Penn family donated much of the lot upon which the Pennsylvania
Hospital still stands.
Donors of modest means often gave money to endow a bed in
honor of a loved one who was treated at the Pennsylvania Hospital.
Many of the plaques made to commemorate the donations are
still on display in the Hospital today. Other methods of raising
funds for operating expenses included requiring gratuities
from visitors who came to see the patients from the insane
ward as they walked the Hospital grounds, charging a small
admission fee to see Benjamin West’s painting “Christ
Healing the Sick in the Temple,” and collecting entry
fees from charity concerts and lectures throughout the city.
Several working farms were also operated by the Hospital,
generating funds through sales of agricultural products while
also supplying milk and produce for hospital use.
Pennsylvania Hospital was favored by many English donors
affiliated with the Society of Friends, including John Fothergill,
David Barclay, and Thomas Hyam. Because of the assistance
of these supporters, the Hospital became the beneficiary of
monies held in the London Land Company. Between 1760 and 1787,
Fothergill, Franklin, and David Barclay acted as the Hospital’s
agents in London and negotiated the transfer of funds to the
newly formed Pennsylvania Land Company. This money could not
have come at a more crucial time since the Hospital’s
capital stock was severely depleted by the devaluation of
Continental currency and the use of Hospital resources to
care for soldiers that the Contributors to Pennsylvania Hospital
borrowed money on their personal credit to keep the Hospital
operating. Over one half of the hospital’s capital stock
was decimated when the Hospital was forced to accept repayment
of some loans in the nearly worthless Continental currency.
Though this was by no means the last financially vulnerable
period in the Hospital’s history, by the nineteenth
century, Pennsylvania Hospital’s mission was more widely
known and supported. Bequests became crucial in the maintenance
of the capital stock fund, and the cultivation of donors was
a constant concern, as it continues to be today. Large donations
provided the base funds for renovations to hospital facilities
and the construction of new buildings, allowing Pennsylvania
Hospital to continue to operate in a modern environment.
1751—A charter is granted by the Pennsylvania
legislature to establish a hospital to care for the sick-poor
1752—The Pennsylvania Assembly grants
the Hospital managers 2,000 pounds to help establish the new
hospital. Pennsylvania Hospital begins operations from a temporary
location on High Street.
1754— The Managers purchase a plot
of ground between Eighth and Ninth Streets where they would
begin construction of a permanent home for the hospital.
1756—Charles Norris acts as Treasurer
for the Pennsylvania Hospital.
1756—The first patients were admitted
to the Hospital’s new home on Eighth Street.
1756-1760—Samuel Rhoads is elected
Treasurer; Elizabeth Gardiner is Matron of the Pennsylvania
1760-1768—Hugh Roberts serves as Hospital
1760-1767—George Weed is Steward of
the Pennsylvania Hospital; Weed’s wife Esther serves
June 7, 1760—a letter from Thomas
Hyam informs the Managers that an act of Parliament had passed,
in which was inserted a clause granting any unclaimed money
from the Pennsylvania Land Company in London remaining after
June 24, 1770 to the Pennsylvania Hospital.
1762—The Pennsylvania Assembly grants
the Hospital 3,000 pounds to replenish Capital Stock.
1767—Thomas and Richard Penn donate
the remaining land on the block between Eighth & Ninth
and Spruce and Pine Streets, making this entire area part
of the Hospital property.
1767-1769—Mary Ball serves as Matron.
1768-1769—Samuel Preston Moore is
1769—Thomas and Richard Penn donate
another plot of ground south of Ninth & Spruce Streets.
1769-1772—Thomas Wharton is Hospital
Treasurer, overseeing financial transactions related to the
Pennsylvania Land Company in London; Sarah Harlan serves as
the Hospital’s Matron.
1772-1773—Joseph King serves as Treasurer.
1773-1776—John Saxton is Steward.
1773-1780—Joseph Hillborn is elected
1776-1777—wounded Continental and
British soldiers are treated at the Pennsylvania Hospital,
depleting the funds and supplies of the Hospital.
1776-1780—John Story is Steward.
1777-1784—devaluation of Continental
currency; the Hospital’s capital stock is depleted,
and the income of the Hospital severely limited.
1778—evacuation of Philadelphia by
1780—the Pennsylvania Legislature
grants Pennsylvania Hospital Managers 10,000 in Continental
money to supplement the Hospital income after many British
soldiers received services in the Hospital, at a great expense
to the organization and the province.
1780-1795—Joseph Henszey is Hospital
Steward; his wife serves as Matron.
1780-1799—Mordecai Lewis is Hospital
1782—Admiralty Acts assign unclaimed
prize money to the Hospital (approx. 2,300 pounds).
1787—Remaining money from the Pennsylvania
Land Company in London is transferred to the Managers of the
1793—Pennsylvania Hospital is granted
arrears due the Loan Office—Managers become trustees
of the Loan Office—$26,666 for completion of the West
and Center buildings of the Hospital. The same act allots
unclaimed dividends of bankrupts’ estates to the Hospital.
1796—West wing of hospital completed.
1796-1803—Francis Higgins is appointed
Steward; his wife Hannah is Matron.
1799-1826—Joseph S. Lewis is elected
1804—Center wing of hospital completed;
opening of the surgical amphitheatre.
1804-1808—William Johnson serves
as Steward, his wife is Matron.
1808-1812—Francis and Hannah Higgins
are reappointed as Steward and Matron.
1813-1826—Samuel Mason and his wife
serve as Steward and Matron of the Hospital.
1826-1830—Isaac and Ann Bonsall are
Steward and Matron.
1826-1841—Samuel N. Lewis serves as
1830-1849—Allen Clapp serves as Hospital
1841—The Pennsylvania Hospital for
the Insane opens in West Philadelphia to accommodate the large
number of insane patients who were formerly treated at the
Eighth Street Hospital.
1841-49—William G. Malin becomes Steward
of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in West Philadelphia.
1849-1883—William G. Malin returns
to the Pennsylvania Hospital to act as Steward.
1841-1881—John T. Lewis is Hospital
1856—The Humane Society ceases operation,
and money is transferred to the Hospital accounts; a memorial
is presented to the Legislature, proposing the allowance for
larger contributions and bequests to the Hospital.
1859—The second section of the Pennsylvania
Hospital for the Insane is completed; the original building
becomes the department for females, the new building becomes
the department for males.
1881-1906—Henry Haines serves as Treasurer.
1883-1886—Richard Cadbury is Steward.
1886-1891—Benjamin Hoopes serves as
the Hospital’s Steward.
1891-1895—Jonathan G. Williams is
1892—Work begins on the modern hospital
at Eighth Street.
1896-1920—Daniel D. Test is Hospital
1906—Provident Life & Trust Co.
acts as Treasurer until a replacement for Henry Haines can
1906-1920s— Edward Y. Hartshorne is
elected Treasurer of the Pennsylvania Hospital.
Scope and Content of the Financial and Real Estate
Due to the large span of time covered in these records,
there are considerable variations in record-keeping practices
between Treasurers. When they were elected, the Treasurers
were bound to a contract stating that they would render reports
on the state of Hospital accounts on a periodic basis to the
Board of Managers. These reports included summaries of expenditures
by the Steward, Matron, and Treasurer, as well as income generated
by ground rents, capital stock, contributions, patient board,
and other miscellaneous sources. The result of this reporting
practice is that there are fairly complete records of the
financial dealings of the Hospital until 1920, when some procedural
change impacted record keeping, producing a sizable gap in
the financial documents. Based on limited information from
the Board of Managers’ minutes, it seems likely that
much of the record-keeping responsibility fell away from the
Steward and was delegated to an assistant.
Prior to 1920, the accounting practices of the Hospital were
administered by the Treasurer and a Steward/Superintendent.
The Steward and/or Matron (who was often the Steward’s
wife) were responsible for the day-to-day spending of the
Hospital, including the purchase of food, clothing for patients,
medicine, bedding, furniture, hay for livestock, maintenance
of houses and buildings owned by the Hospital, and wages to
day laborers. The Steward’s finances were administered
by the Treasurer, who was responsible for allocating and accounting
for all hospital expenditures and receipts.
The collection has been divided into three series, 1. Treasurer—Finance;
2. Treasurer—Real Estate; 3. Steward/Superintendent.
These series were derived first by whether the responsibilities
represented by a group of documents were delegated to the
Treasurer or the Steward, then roughly according to the subject
matter that the transaction documented. Every effort was taken
to clearly divide Treasurer’s materials into “Finance”
and “Real Estate,” though some of the papers were
less obviously fitted to only one category.
This series consists of approximately fifty linear feet of
files, ledgers and oversize materials that document loans,
gifts, contributions, grants and other sources of income throughout
the Hospital’s history. Also documented in the Finance
records are Hospital expenditures for capital improvements
and the administration of loans. This series covers the broadest
span of time, making it useful for analyzing shifts in the
economics of health care. Included in these materials are
wills, bonds, and other legal documents. The Finance papers
are further divided into sixteen subseries: A. Accounts Payable,
B. Accounts Receivable, C. Balance Sheets, D. Bankrupt Estates,
E. Bonds, F. Capital Stock, G. Cash Books/Day Books/Ledgers,
H. Contributions, I. Correspondence, J. Estates and Trusts,
K. Loan Office of 1773, L.Minutes, M. Pennsylvania Land Company,
N. Power of Attorney, O. Receipts, P. Reports.
The Real Estate series of the Financial Records collection
consists of approximately twenty linear feet of material,
much of which is oversize. Included in this series are original
parchment deeds, surveys of properties, mortgages, title searches,
insurance policies, and records relating to rental properties
owned by the Pennsylvania Hospital.
To facilitate access, this series has been divided into the
following subseries: A. Accounts, B. Correspondence, C. Deeds,
D. Ground Rents, E. Insurance, F. Mortgages, G. Properties,
This series comprises the largest segment of the Financial
Records collection, and offers insights into patient care,
services provided, methods of treatment used, and nutrition
over the course of the Hospital’s first 150 years. The
Steward/Superintendent records provide a detailed view of
the goods and services contracted for the daily operation
of the hospital. The majority of this series consists of receipts
and bills, which are supplemented by the cash books, ledgers,
and receipt books used to record transactions. Also included
in this series are accounts of wages paid to hospital employees
and costs relative to building materials and repairs to facilities.
The Steward/Superintendent series has been divided into the
following ten subseries: A. Apothecary, B. Building/Repairs,
C. Cash Books, D. Ledgers, E. Correspondence, F. Household
Expenses, G. Monthly Accounts, H. Receipts, I. Reports, J.
Financial Records Collection. Courtesy of the Pennsylvania
Hospital Historic Collections, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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