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Long Island Hospital records

Identifier: 7020.004


  • Creation: circa 1890-1991


Historical note

Long Island Hospital (LIH) was a city hospital in operation from approximately 1893 – the mid-20th century. In 1882 the City of Boston began acquiring land on Long Island. In order to secure the island for the arrival of expectant female paupers from the Rainsford Island alms facility, the city evicted squatters conducting illegal activity and trade, as well as a small Portuguese fishing community. The Boston Home for Paupers was opened on Long Island by 1891 and included hospital facilities. The city merged the Rainsford Island alms communities for both men and women with the new facilities on Long Island in 1887, with all of the inmates being located on Long Island by 1894 when the women’s dormitory was completed. In 1894 the facility became the Boston Almshouse and Hospital. In 1893 a dedicated hospital building was built, and 1895 saw the creation of a resident training program for nurses and the appointment of several visiting physicians. The hospital complex eventually included over 20 buildings, including residential buildings for staff. In 1935, an account of the buildings on Long Island lists the superintendent’s house, an institution building, men’s and women’s dormitories, men’s and women’s hospital buildings, a chapel, a power house, and a recreation center known as the Curley building. The land surrounding the hospital was cultivated for both crop and animal production. The hospital began focusing on the treatment of chronic disease around the turn of the 20th century as a result of limited funding and space. A separate Hospital for Consumptives was opened in 1902. During the 1920s and ‘30s the hospital is reported to have housed over 1,225 inmates and 450 patients (in 1935 the number of patients is reported in The Islands of Boston Harbor as 490). In 1921 the almshouse was converted into a home for unwed mothers and in 1928 the city added a shelter for homeless men. In 1941 the hospital created a treatment program for alcoholics which continued to operate for several decades. The hospital is no longer in operation, though the homeless shelter is. The staff included Commissioner Hugh J. Campbell (3/4/1938-10/2/1945), Medical Director Charles Lancaster Clay, MD (3/5/1935-4/24/1940), a nursing matron, nurses serving as heads of wards, staff and training nurses, interning doctors, visiting medical staff, social workers, office clerks, maintenance workers, farmers, and the crews of the three steamships serving Deer and Long Islands: the Perkins, Hibbard, and O’Meara.


Boston Harbor Island: A National Park Area Draft General Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement. 2000. Boston, MA: Boston Support Office of the Northeast Region National Park Service.

Kuhl, Ellen. 2003. The Cemeteries of the Boston Almshouse and Hospital: A Brief Historic Overview.

Snow, Edward R. 1935. "Deer Island and Long Island." In The Islands of Boston Harbor: Their History and Romance. 2nd ed., 275. Andover, MA: The Andover Press.


40.0 Cubic feet

Language of Materials


General note

The numbers included in some of the folder titles denote the hospital's original numerical filing system.

Guide to the Long Island Hospital records 8500.200
Sarah Breen, Abigail Greer, Olivia Mandica-Hart
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)