Roosevelt Island, formerly Blackwell’s Island (and later Welfare Island), has had many layers of medical history. From the construction of the almshouses in the 1830s onward, the island has housed the ill, displaced, criminals and unwanted poor of the city. [Read more…] about Roosevelt Island and Public Health History
Readers will recall that one of the most important periods of reform in New York history was spurred by the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of March, 1911: in the wake of this horror, protective labor legislation was passed at a frenzied pace, informed by the State Factory Investigating Commission and shepherded through the legislature by Assemblyman Alfred E. Smith and Senator Robert F. Wagner.
It is a tragic, even shameful irony that the Empire State’s major initiative for improving one aspect of its health care infrastructure was to be inspired by another, less well known conflagration. On February 18, 1923, only seven weeks after Al Smith was inaugurated for his second tenure as governor, a fire at a hospital for the mentally ill on Ward’s Island in New York killed twenty-four patients and three state employees. [Read more…] about Ward’s Island Fire And New York’s Charitable Hospitals