The Norris Homestead circa 1862 – the original
location of The German Hospital of Philadelphia
On February 20, 1862, twenty-four concerned women met to organize the
Ladies’ Aid Society of the German Hospital, later re-named Lankenau
Medical Center. This Society, the oldest of Lankenau’s auxiliaries, and
the second oldest hospital auxiliary in Pennsylvania, was active in
raising money for the Hospital before the ink was dry on its charter.
The first fund raising event was a bazaar that netted $4,000 of the
$20,000 needed for the purchase of a dwelling on 20th and Norris
Streets—to be the first German Hospital. The Society was officially
incorporated in 1901 to insure its independence and to enable it legally
to accept legacies.
In addition to providing various volunteer services, supplying linens
was the major purpose of the Ladies’ Aid through most of its years of
service. In early years, the ladies made the linens. When that was no
longer feasible, money was given to the hospital for the purchase of
linens. After a review in 1969 reflected Lankenau’s greater need for
equipment, the Ladies' Aid Society re-directed their contributions
according to recommendations of the Allocation Committee of the Women’s
Board for programs throughout the Hospital. Gifts for specific items
have since included: Sports Medicine, the Meditation Room,
transportation for school children to the Health Education Center, the
Summer Internship program at the Lankenau Institute for Medical
Research, and the Care Management – Social Services Fund. This year the
Society gave $40,000 in support of hospital and LIMR programs and
continued their practice of knitting caps for newborns.
When the Hospital moved to its present location in 1953, the Ladies' Aid
Society contributed $50,000 for a Women’s Board Room—located on the
sixth floor of the Medical Science Building—where it remained until 2009
when the much anticipated Comprehensive Breast Center was constructed,
using that space.
The Lutheran Deaconess community played a very active role in the Ladies
Aid Society over many years. The last Deaconess to serve at Lankenau,
Sister Lois Ludwig, was President of the Ladies Aid Society from
1986–91. In 2005, the Society dedicated the glass inset of the
meditation room door in Sr. Ludwig’s memory.
In 2012, The Ladies' Aid Society celebrated its 150th Anniversary. The
Society’s contribution to the ongoing needs of Lankenau Medical Center
has been steadfast since its inception, and its members continue to
generously devote their time to Lankenau and its community.
Lankenau's Women's Board
Send mail to:
The Women's Board of Lankenau Medical Center
C/o Sue Williamson
100 East Lancaster Avenue
Wynnewood, PA 19096
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.