Dedicated Duo helps to preserve Hospital history
July 19, 2017 - In 2007, Lindsay was celebrating the town’s 150th anniversary. Dr. Rob Drury was the Medical Chief of Staff at the Ross Memorial Hospital, and he was asked to provide some historical highlights for a display in Victoria Park. That’s when he learned about the Hospital’s archives – where they’re kept and what they hold. He also saw that the organization of the archives was limited.
It came up during a conversation with his friend Max Radiff, former teacher and Mayor of Lindsay, who had a background as an archivist. Recognizing the need to protect details of the Hospital’s 115 year history, the pair volunteered their expertise. Rob put his knowledge of the Hospital to work while Max helped to provide structure.
Now, as the country celebrates 150 years, Rob and Max are elbow-deep in the archives. Their treasure-hunting has unearthed a few gems.
There’s the invoice from the local chemist that provided the Hospital with medications in 1902. Another bill dating back to 1902 is for the delivery of 36 beds – from Central Prison Industries. Investigating the book of nursing graduate contracts unearthed a news clipping about a student nurse who died of typhoid fever in 1911. It was during that era that a Hospital bylaw was passed that restricted infectious patients at the Ross. For decades, they were housed in a separate building at the corner of Colborne and Angeline Streets.
Following the extensive inventory process, Max and Rob settled on 13 categories for the organization of the archives. Every piece of information has been scrutinized for its historical value and catalogued.
When the Hospital celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2002, members of the community contributed old nursing uniforms and caps, Hospital postcards and souvenirs, even antique medical equipment to be showcased during the celebrations. With little room for such storage, the Hospital donated many items to the local museum for safe keeping.
More pieces are brought to the Hospital every year, often uncovered after the passing of a former member of the Ross team. Each piece represents a page of the Hospital’s history and the people who have been a part of it. They are valued for the memories they invoke and for the information they provide about our past.
The Ross Memorial Hospital team of 2017 is grateful to Dr. Rob Drury and Max Radiff for taking on this heavy task, and for laying the groundwork to protect the next generation of gems.