From the Archives: Rush Commencement, 1992

Larry Goodman, MD, assists Leo Henikoff, MD, with his regalia for Rush University’s commencement ceremony, 1992.

Henikoff served as president of Rush University and Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center from 1984 to 2002.  Goodman has served as president of Rush University and CEO of Rush University Medical Center since 2002. At the time of this photo, Goodman was an associate professor of infectious diseases.

Rush University celebrates its 40th commencement ceremony on June 9, 2012.

Nathalie Wheaton is assistant archivist in the Rush Archives. To learn more, please contact Visit the Rush Archives Web page or explore our collections.The Rush Archives welcomes visitors from Rush and the general public.

From the Archives: Rush’s 150th Birthday, 1987

By Nathalie Wheaton

Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1987. Rush commemorated this milestone with parties, contests and branded merchandise.

In this photo, Rush President Leo M. Henikoff, MD, cuts a special cake for Rush’s sesquicentennial. Henikoff served as president from 1984 to 2002.

Rush University Medical Center’s oldest component, Rush Medical College, was chartered March 2, 1837, two days before the city of Chicago received its charter. That makes us older than Chicago and gives us plenty of history to share.

Rush’s 175th birthday party is March 2 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Armour Academic Center, room 994. Contact the Rush Archives to RSVP and for more information at or (312) 942-7214

Nathalie Wheaton is assistant archivist in the Rush Archives. To learn more, please contact Visit the Rush Archives web page or explore our collections.

From the Archives: Armour Patient Ward, 1898

By Heather Stecklein

In this 1898 photo, Arthur Dean Bevan, MD, visits patients in the Armour Ward of Presbyterian Hospital.

Starting in the earliest days of Presbyterian Hospital, members of the Armour family endowed beds for patients who could not afford medical care. In 1889, the family endowment grew to the 10-bed ward pictured. Whenever a bed became available in this ward, the patient who occupied it received free treatment.

Presbyterian Hospital is a predecessor to Rush University Medical Center. It opened in 1883 on what is now the Rush campus.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with Rush University Medical Center. You can contact the Rush Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

From the Archives: First Female Residents, 1941

By Heather Stecklein

St. Luke’s Hospital, a predecessor to Rush University Medical Center, recruited its first female residents in 1941.

Anne Holovachka, MD, was a resident in neuropsychiatry who graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine. Mary Martin, MD, was a Borland Fellow in pathology who graduated from Northwestern Medical School.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with Rush University Medical Center. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

April Photo of the Month – Rush Archives

Rush’s Neighborhood, 1948

A streetcar travels up Harrison Street just to the west of the Rush University Medical Center campus in 1948.

A streetcar travels up Harrison Street just to the west of the Rush campus in 1948.

This photo is facing northeast (with the Rush campus in the background at right) at the corner of Harrison Street and Ogden Avenue. The elevated track in the left background stood on the current site of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Do you have a question about the history of Rush? Please contact the Rush Archives.

Lifetime of Healing: Janet Wolter, MD, Retires

By Kevin McKeough

When Janet Wolter, MD, first began practicing medicine, the polio vaccine hadn’t yet been discovered, and cancer was so feared that it wasn’t discussed openly.

By the time she retired as Brian Piccolo Chair of Cancer Research and professor of internal medicine at Rush at the end of November 2009, Wolter had provided thousands of cancer patients with hope and made important contributions to the advances that have transformed cancer care and outcomes.

To honor Wolter, Rush is hosting a seminar of former residents and fellows on Feb. 27 and will name a new teaching area after her. The Janet Wolter, MD, Clinical and Educational Conference Room will provide a comfortable, high-tech home for the education of residents and fellows and for collaboration among clinicians of various specialties. The room will be built as part of the renovation of the 10th floor of the Professional Building later this year to house Rush’s new outpatient cancer center. The educational focus of these tributes reflects Wolter’s enduring influence on generations of physicians.

“She served as a role model, for me and many other oncologists who trained at Rush; for our internal medicine residents and students; and especially for many female physicians,” says Philip Bonomi, MD, Alice Pirie Wirtz professor of medical oncology and director of hematology-oncology at Rush, who trained with Wolter as an oncology fellow. “She’s a very fastidious physician who has taken excellent care of patients. There’s no one better,” Bonomi continues. “On Monday mornings, the oncology team goes through new cases, and to this day her remarks are incredibly insightful and pertinent, not only in breast cancer but other cases.”

Seventh grade plans

A native of River Forest, Wolter declared her intention to be a doctor in a seventh grade essay. In the late 1940s, she first came to what would become Rush during a clerkship at Presbyterian Hospital while attending the University of Illinois College of Medicine. (Presbyterian eventually merged with both St. Luke’s Hospital and Rush Medical College to form what now is Rush University Medical Center.) World War II had just ended when she was accepted into medical school.

Janet Wolter, MD, in 1954, when she was chief resident at the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital.

Janet Wolter, MD, in 1954, when she was chief resident at the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital.

“A lot of the guys weren’t out of the service yet,” Wolter recalls. “In my class of 165, 21 were women, but the next year when everybody came back from the war, it went down to four women and 161 men.”

After receiving her medical degree in 1950, Wolter completed training at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Duke University Hospital, the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital before joining the U of I faculty. There, she treated polio patients, who were confined in iron lungs that enabled them to breathe.

“All the equipment back then was big and rigid and heavy,” Wolter remembers. “We had no computers. Electrocardiograms (EKGs) were done on photographic paper, and every floor in a hospital had a darkroom where you’d develop the EKG.”

The advent of the polio vaccine in the mid-’50s eventually led to the end of her program, and Wolter joined the Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital faculty in 1963 to collaborate with pioneering physician Samuel G. Taylor III, MD, in his work treating cancer patients with hormones and chemotherapy. “It wasn’t even called oncology. There wasn’t even a name for it then,” she remembers. “There really wasn’t anything that could be called cancer care. If the surgeon couldn’t remove the tumor, that was it.” Continue reading

Archives Offers Glimpse into Rush, Chicago History

1914 image of Presbyterian Hospital, which would later become Rush University Medical Center

The Daniel Jones Memorial Building, shown here in 1914, was built in 1888 as part of Presbyterian Hospital. Located at Wood Street and Congress Parkway, it is the oldest building on the Rush campus.

By Heather Stecklein

Want to know more about Rush’s legacy? Contact the Rush Archives!

The Rush Archives is the historical voice of Rush University Medical Center and its predecessor institutions. It is located in the basement level of the Triangle Office Building, and it holds a large collection of papers and artifacts from Rush’s past.

Rush Archivists bring Rush’s history to the public. There are Rush Archives exhibits in four campus locations. Currently, the exhibit, “Battling for the Honor of ‘Old Rush’: Sports at Rush Medical College, 1892-1904” is on display in the Rush Library, on the 5th floor of the Armour Academic Center.

In addition, an exhibit of materials drawn by Steven Economou, M.D., is on display just outside of Room 500 in the Professional Building. The hallway outside of the Archives in the basement level of the Triangle Office Building includes an exhibit of postcards from Rush’s past, a selection of materials from medical advertisements, and a hallway of photographs featuring scenes from Rush’s past.

Members of the 1900 Rush football team

Leaders of the 1900 Rush Medical College football team. Most material in "Battling for the Honor of Old Rush" was donated by Mary Harding, whose grandfather, John E. Schwendener, is on the left.

The Archives has digitized a portion of its collection. If you would like to see a selection of Rush documents for yourself, you can explore the Archives’ growing digital library on the Rush Archives Web site.

The Archives is open to researchers, by appointment, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Archivists Heather Stecklein and Nathalie Wheaton can answer questions about events and individuals associated with this institution since Rush Medical College was chartered in 1837. You can contact the Archives at or at (312) 942-7214.

Heather Stecklein is an archivist with Rush University Medical Center.