Ames, Albert Alonzo “Doc” (1842–1911)

Albert Alonzo Ames, called “Doc,” was mayor of Minneapolis four times, between 1876 and 1903. Though he earned notoriety as "the shame of Minneapolis" for his involvement in extortion and fraud during his last term in office, Ames also won praise for his work as a doctor and an advocate for veterans.

Artificial Limb Industry in Minneapolis

The milling, logging, farming, and railroad industries that made Minneapolis a prosperous town in the late nineteenth century also cost many men their limbs, if not their lives. Minneapolis entrepreneurs, many of them amputees themselves, built on the local need and made the city one of the leading producers of artificial limbs in the United States.

Boynton, Ruth Evelyn (1896 - 1977)

Ruth Boynton was a physician, researcher, and administrator who spent almost her entire career at the University of Minnesota (U of M). She worked in public health and student health services. At that time there were few women in any of these fields. She was Director of the University Student Health Service from 1936 to 1961. It was renamed the Boynton Health Service in her honor in 1975.

Children's Blizzard, 1888

The winter of 1887-1888 was ferocious and unrelenting. But nothing prepared southwestern Minnesota for the January storm that came to be known as the Children's Blizzard.

Clara Barton Club

Nurses organized the Clara Barton Club at Westbrook’s Schmidt Memorial Hospital in 1948 with three goals. First, they aimed to study the health needs of their community. Second, they promised to keep themselves updated about new drugs and evolving nursing methods. Third, they pledged to support their hospital.

Crispus Attucks Home, St. Paul

In 1910 there were over sixty orphanages and homes for the aged operated by and for African Americans in the United States. Minnesota had one of them: St. Paul's Crispus Attucks Home. The home was named for the African American patriot killed in the Boston Massacre of 1770. It served the community for six decades, beginning in 1906 during the Jim Crow era and ending in 1966 at the peak of the civil rights movement.

Dr. Henry Schmidt Memorial Hospital

Members of the small southwestern Minnesota community of Westbrook worked together and raised money to open a hospital in 1951. Since then, the hospital has seen changes and challenges but continues to meet community health needs as the smallest hospital in the state.

Ericksen, Theresa (1868–1943)

After graduating from Northwestern Hospital’s School of Nursing in 1894, Theresa Ericksen led a life of service as a healer, teacher, and promoter of public health and nursing education. Her legacy has ties to the Minnesota Nursing Association, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Christmas Seals, and Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Establishment of the Minneapolis Waterworks, 1867–1910

In 1871 Minneapolis built the first public waterworks in Minnesota to pump water from the Mississippi River. The city's attempts to provide clean, safe water led to decades of efforts to improve and expand the waterworks.

Fergus Falls State Hospital

When the Fergus Falls State Hospital opened its doors on July 29, 1890, it became the first state institution in northern Minnesota for patients considered insane. The hospital had a sprawling campus and large stately buildings, built according to the influential asylum plan developed by Philadelphia physician Thomas Kirkbride in the 1850s.

Hmong Health Care Professionals Coalition

The Hmong Health Care Professionals Coalition (HHCPC) is a partnership of Hmong public health experts based in St. Paul. Since its founding in 1995, the HHCPC has grown to become a central health resource for Minnesota’s Hmong community. Its members and volunteers conduct research, educate patients, develop best practices, and provide leadership to other health groups.

Homicide at Rochester State Hospital, 1889

The 1889 death of inmate Taylor Combs led to a scandal, and then major reforms, at the Rochester State Hospital for the Insane.

J. R. Watkins Medical Company

"If not fully satisfied, your money cheerfully refunded." We take statements like this for granted today, but when twenty-eight-year-old entrepreneur Joseph Ray (J. R.) Watkins of Plainview, Minnesota, put that message on a bottle of his Red Liniment, he was a trailblazer.

Lillehei, C. Walton (1918–1999)

Dr. C. Walton Lillehei was a world-famous professor of surgery at the University of Minnesota and an innovator in the field of open-heart surgery. He participated in the world's first successful open-heart operation, developed techniques and devices that made open-heart surgery more successful, and pioneered the use of pacemakers and artificial heart valves.

Mayo Clinic

The name of Dr. William Worrall Mayo is synonymous today with high-quality, compassionate health care. Dr. Mayo and his sons, William and Charles, helped put Minnesota on the map when they founded Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Medtronic

The Medtronic medical device company was founded in 1949 by Earl Bakken and Palmer Hermundslie. From its beginnings in a converted garage, it has grown into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise and one of Minnesota’s leading businesses.

Minnesota Men of Color

Minnesota Men of Color (MMC) was a non-profit organization that served gay and bisexual men of color, women of color, and gender-non-conforming people of color between 1998 and 2003. From its headquarters in Minneapolis, MMC reached clients that majority-white LGBT groups had overlooked, focusing specifically on those who were Native, Latinx, African American, and Asian American.

Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children

The Minnesota State Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children operated from 1886 to 1947. The campus is one of the most intact examples of a state cottage school standing in the United States, and is significant on a national level.

Minnesota State Sanatorium for Consumptives, Cass County

In 1906, construction began for the Minnesota State Sanatorium for Consumptives, or Ah-Gwah-Ching, about three miles south of Walker in Cass County. Overlooking Shingobee Bay on the south shore of Leech Lake, the hospital evolved into a massive complex of distinctive buildings.

Mount Sinai Hospital and Foundation, Minneapolis

Mount Sinai Hospital in Minneapolis was among the first private hospitals in the Twin Cities to admit minority doctors on its medical staff. The Jewish community opened it in 1951; by the time it closed in 1991, local hospitals were open to doctors of all races and religions.

NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt display, Minneapolis

Begun in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco in 1987, the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt grew into a nationwide community art project memorializing those who had been killed by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Lovers, families, and friends of people who had died sewed quilt panels; others created them for individuals they had never met. In 1988, the quilt embarked on a national twenty-city tour and arrived at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis on July 16.

Northeast Neighborhood House, Minneapolis

Constructed in Minneapolis in 1919, the Northeast Neighborhood House (NENH) served both as a portal into American society for newly arrived immigrants from Eastern Europe and as an advocate for the neighborhood's underprivileged. It is a notable example of a social institution created solely for the betterment of the disadvantaged.

Professionalization of Nursing in Minnesota, 1898–1920

For most of its history, nursing was an unregulated profession. To raise both their reputation and their standard of care, Minnesota nurses during the Progressive Era founded local and statewide nursing associations. Using these to create community among members, influence training schools, and engage in legislative advocacy, these nurses transformed what had been a mixture of skilled and unskilled work into a full, licensed profession.

How Health and Medicine Have Shaped the State

Progressive Public Health, Innovative Medical Enterprise, and More

Expert Essay: Jennifer Gunn, Director of the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota, touches on more than 300 years of state history to explain what has made Minnesota a medical mecca.

Ripley, Martha George (1843–1912)

Dr. Martha Ripley was an early advocate for women's health and welfare. She and her family moved to Minneapolis in 1883, just after she completed medical training at Boston University School of Medicine.

Pages