It was not uncommon for women in the first half of the 20th century to serve as hospital administrators or superintendents, assuming managerial responsibility for those hospitals. As hospitals started facing growing financial problems and more complex hospital management issues (including consolidations and mergers) after the Second World War, boards of trustees began restructuring their administrative staffs to include salaried presidents. Doctors and businessmen were often hired for these more prestigious and authoritative positions, overseeing the administrators and becoming the more public faces of the institutions.

Several capable women served as hospital administrators in St. Louis, guiding their institutions through periods of turmoil and growth, supervising large staffs, and maintaining quality patient care. Until their leadership positions were usurped by men, women served as administrators or superintendents of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, McMillan Hospital, and St. Louis Maternity Hospital.


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