A History of The Miriam Hospital
In 1902, a small group of women began collecting coins to raise $1,000 for the down payment on "a place to care for the indigent sick of the Jewish faith."
Since then, extraordinary generosity has been the catalyst for The Miriam Hospital. To fulfill the women's dream, 450 people joined their cause. The women went door to door, raising $80,000 in just four weeks. Thanks to their efforts, the first Miriam Hospital opened in 1926 with 63 beds and 14 bassinets.
Remarkably, the community stepped forward again. Only a year later, another $82,000 was raised to help defray the "burdens of caring for charity patients."
These first fundraising efforts were only the beginning of a partnership between The Miriam Hospital and the community; a relationship that has endured for generations. When the need to expand beyond a small, neighborhood hospital became evident, friends who had been raising money for linens and surgical supplies came forward to launch a major building fund drive. Although the drive and search for a suitable building were interrupted by the war years, an incredible $1.3 million was eventually raised. The new 150-bed Miriam Hospital opened on Summit Avenue in 1952. It was truly a gift of the Jewish community to all the people of Rhode Island.
Today's members of The Miriam Hospital Women's Association celebrate more than 125 years of caring. Over 450 active members, including two- and three-generation families, continue to play a major role in sustaining The Miriam Hospital.