How it all began
The Vincent Memorial Hospital was founded in 1891 by the friends of Mrs. J. R. Vincent, as a memorial to the generous Boston actress. Dedicated to the care of wage-earning women, the hospital was originally located at 44 Chambers Street. Its early medical staff consisted of Drs. Grace Wolcott and Lena V. Ingraham.
In 1892, The Vincent Club was organized by the senior class of Mrs. Shaw’s School for Girls. The Club’s aim was to raise funds for the hospital through a theatrical production of its own making. With unceasing energy and spirit, The Vincent Club, which is alive and well today, has raised millions of dollars for the VMH through its original musical reviews, symposia, and other innovative events.
The hospital quickly outgrew its initial 12-bed capacity. In 1908, it moved to a new and larger facility on South Huntington Avenue where it remained until 1941. At that time, the noted gynecologic surgeon and Vincent chief of staff Dr. Joe V. Meigs and the Vincent Board of Trustees recognized the tremendous potential of merging the Vincent with the broad resources of the Massachusetts General Hospital. As a result, the Vincent accepted Mass General’s invitation to become its gynecology service while retaining its own hospital identity and staff, and re-located to the Mass General main campus. In 1947, after operating out of temporary quarters during the war years, the Vincent Memorial Hospital moved to its permanent home on three floors of the newly completed Vincent Burnham Building.
In 1988, the Vincent and Mass General revised their agreement. The corporate purpose of the Vincent was re-stated to read as follows: ” The Corporation shall be organized and shall be operated exclusively to support programs for the care and treatment of the diseases of women at The Massachusetts General Hospital.”
The Vincent’s independent hospital license was allowed to expire, and Mass General agreed to formally designate with the name “Vincent” those places and programs associated with and funded by the Vincent Memorial Hospital Corporation. The present arrangement cements a partnership of shared interests, efforts, and accomplishments which has yielded numerous advances in the research, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting women.