A Contribution to the Social History of Holy Name Hospital Teaneck, New Jersey: 1925 – 1950

Donald Francis Alfano, Fordham University


The author does not doubt that countless scores of historical compilations adorn library shelves, some of which serve as invaluable fonts of information, others of which merely become warped, dusty and ignored. However, it is this writer’s intention to present facts about a hospital, the seeds of its birth, its adolescence, and development, to its present state of maturity. Although such a presentation of facts may not be revolutionary reading because of the shortcomings of the author, the writer hopes that this thin and fragmentary effect will not wither away and die among the files of useless print, for too noble is its subject matter. Background of the Study. Before pastoral roads became gleaming highways ; pasture lands - real estate developments; mediocre third rate stores - smart shops; before all this fascinating evolution in Bergen County comes the unheralded and not so glamorous story of a need of a community for a hospital. If one takes a ride through Teaneck, New Jersey, he will witness what seems like an ideal residential community flourishing with material prosperity - a community, every need of which has been met or is presently being met. However, this was not always the situation. This now thriving section has at one time in its history a population of 4,200 with absolutely no doctor of its own to administer to its needs - the nearest doctor being one Jonathan Edwards in Bogota, New Jersey. The population in Bergen County had been increasing in rapid unbounding strides until a greater hospital accommodation became a sheer necessity. The problem became further intensified by the fact that in the entire county there was not one standardized Catholic hospital. In addition to this, came the fully substantiated news that a gigantic structure of steel (now known as the George Washington Bridge) would soon be erected to join the already closely related states of New Jersey and New York. One doesn't have to be a soothsayer to realize the implications of such a building enterprise. "The development of the state in that district would be phenomenal." Several were the people who knew it, few were they who were willing to risk their security to do anything about it. Of the few who had the courage and determination to meet so exorbitant a solution to the problem were the Sisters of St. Joseph. The proposal being made by Doctor Frank McCormack and Doctor George Pitkin, whose dauntless courage and clear foresight would aside all opposition to the realization of his dream - a hospital on Phelps Manor, operated by a Religious Community, the sisters at first were somewhat reluctant - justifiably so - for weren't they running hospitals in the west, bringing up orphans in the east and caring for the blind in Jersey City? Furthermore the congregation was burdened with an enormous debt. Any further undertaking would thrust upon their shoulders a more weighty and precarious burden. With the odds decidedly against them, the sisters nevertheless accepted this labor of love.

Subject Area

Social work|Social research|History|Social studies education

Recommended Citation

Alfano, Donald Francis, "A Contribution to the Social History of Holy Name Hospital Teaneck, New Jersey: 1925 – 1950" (1951). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30724934.