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BWH Historical Note

Historical Note

The story of Brigham and Women’s Hospital is the aggregate history of several significant hospitals: Boston Lying-in Hospital, Free Hospital for Women, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, and the Robert B. Brigham Hospital. Each was conceived with a specific medical mission and was built and rebuilt with the financial contributions of many individuals and groups. In 1832, the Boston-Lying In Hospital, one of the nation’s first maternity hospitals, opened its doors to women unable to afford in-home medical care. In 1875, the Free Hospital for Women was founded “for poor women affected with diseases peculiar to their sex or in need of surgical aid.” The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital opened in 1913 “for the care of sick persons in indigent circumstances” thanks to a bequest from restaurateur and real estate businessman, Peter Bent Brigham. The Robert B. Brigham Hospital for Incurables, built with bequests from Peter Bent Brigham’s nephew, Robert and niece, Elizabeth, opened to serve patients with arthritis and other debilitating joint diseases in 1914.In 1966, the Boston Lying-In Hospital and the Free Hospital for Women formally combined missions and operations resulting in the incarnation known as the Boston Hospital for Women. In 1975, it merged with the Peter Bent Brigham and the Robert B. Brigham Hospitals forming the Affiliated Hospitals Center, Inc. In 1980, at the time of the opening of a new state-of-the-art facility, the Affiliated Hospitals became known as the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School.