Fashion Forward: Ninety Years of Supporting Rush

For the past 90 years, the Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center has produced the longest continuously running charitable fashion show in the country. The Woman’s Board Fashion Show was described by Chicago magazine as a “being a philanthropic force” that serves as “a barometer of Chicago’s ever-changing fashion scene.”

Starting in 1926 with a benefit show for St. Luke’s Hospital, the fashion show continued as St. Luke’s merged with Presbyterian Hospital and then with Rush. The show has raised more than $32.6 million since it began keeping records of all fundraising efforts in 1974.

Here’s a sampling of Woman’s Board Fashion Show posters and program covers dating back to the 1920s, courtesy of the Rush Archives.

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In 2016, the Woman’s Board Fashion Show will support the Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush, an innovative effort that connects veterans and their families with specialized mental health care, peer-to-peer outreach, counseling and resources they need to transition from military to civilian life.

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Bringing Christmas Cheer to the Children’s Ward, 1940


By Nathalie Wheaton

Season’s greetings from the Rush Archives!

This image from the December 1940 issue of St. Luke’s News shows the hospital’s children’s ward on Christmas morning. Each young patient received a gift hand-chosen by members of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Medical Board of St. Luke’s Hospital. This charitable organization was comprised of the wives of the medical staff. The accompanying article describes the development of the group in 1933 and its various service projects.

This newsletter of St. Luke’s Hospital, one of Rush University Medical Center’s predecessors, was published from 1940 until 1956, when St. Luke’s merged with Presbyterian Hospital. Other holiday-themed topics in this issue include Christmas shopping at the patient’s bedside and the bustling hospital kitchen.

Nathalie Wheaton is archivist with the Rush Archives. To learn more about the Rush Archives and the history of Rush, please visit the Rush Archives web page. Did you know some of the Rush Archives’ commonly requested books and historic documents are online? To view our current collection of digitized publications, visit our Internet Archive page.

From the Archives: James B. Herrick, MD


This photo from the Rush Archives shows a clinic in 1900 featuring James B. Herrick, MD, a Rush Medical College graduate and faculty member who discovered sickle cell anemia.

Ernest E. Irons (Rush class of 1903), the intern who first brought the abnormal cells to Herrick’s attention, later became dean of Rush Medical College.

From the Rush Archives: A Visit From St. Nick


If it’s the holiday season at Rush, it must be time to dig into the Rush Archives for photos from Decembers past.

This image from 1939 shows Santa visiting a 9-year-old boy who had to spend Christmas at Presbyterian Hospital (which would later become part of Rush).

“The suit worn by this jolly-looking St. Nick,” says the caption in the Presbyterian Hospital Bulletin, “has been worn here every Christmas for more than 50 years.”

Rush Medical College and the Great Chicago Fire


Rush Medical College opened a new building at Dearborn Street and Grand Avenue in 1867 to accommodate its growing student population, only to see it destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire. Faculty members and students stand amid the ruins in this 1871 photo.

Hoping to avoid another disastrous fire, Rush Medical College moved in 1875 to the corner of Wood and Harrison streets, on the edge of what’s now the Rush University Medical Center campus.

View more historic photos from the Rush Archives.

From the Archives: Nursing Through the Years

In celebration of National Nurses Week, we look back at photos from the Rush Archives from the nursing programs and hospitals that eventually became part of Rush University Medical Center.