This book consists of essays by ten authors on historical aspects of the American hospital, selected from a 1984 conference held under the auspices of the Philadelphia College of Physicians on the subject "Hospitals and Communities." The participants hold positions in university departments of history. Three physician contributors hold dual appointments in medicine and history, and another contributor is director of a women's studies program at a major women's college.
Through research the authors hope to assist our understanding of such problems as rising costs and the troublesome links between the hospital and its internal and external communities. The social context of hospital origins in the 1870s and its evolution are explored. The first of the book's two parts focuses on the period from 1870 to about 1920. Part II deals with matters concerning doctors, nurses, administrators, and the labor force and how these groups have transformed the modern hospital.