Before the Medical Center: Former Homes of CUIMC Constituents

An Exhibit, January 28 – May 10, 2019

Hammer Health Sciences Building, Lower Level 2


The current Columbia University Irving Medical Center opened in 1928 but all its constituent members had a previous existence – some, as in the case of the Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons (P&S), dating back to the 18th century.  The Health Sciences Library’s new exhibit, Before the Medical Center: Former Homes of CUIMC Constituents, displays vintage photographs of the earlier homes of these institutions including P&S, Presbyterian Hospital, Babies Hospital (now Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital), the Neurological Institute of New York, and other schools and hospitals.  Some, like Presbyterian and the Neurological Institute, had only one home before making the trek to Washington Heights; others, like P&S and the New York Orthopedic Hospital, spent time in several different locations before joining the Medical Center. 

Besides views of the buildings, the exhibit also features interior scenes including the dental school’s clinic in its previous building on East 35th Street; a student’s room in Florence Nightingale Hall, the earlier School of Nursing home; and a surprisingly serene-looking emergency room at the old Presbyterian Hospital on East 70th St. and Madison Ave.  All items are from the Health Sciences Library’s Archives and Special Collections.

Considering how quickly New York City’s landscape changes it’s remarkable that two of the former homes still exist: the former Neurological Institute at 149 East 67th St. and the old Babies Hospital, built in 1902, at the northeast corner of Lexington Ave. and 55th St.

The exhibit can be seen on Lower Level 2 of the Hammer Health Sciences Building, Jan. 28-May 10, 2019.  The space is open 24/7 for those with Columbia University IDs.  For more information contact