St. Vincent Medical Center (SVMC), Los Angeles' oldest hospital, is located in the heart of the city. St. Vincent Medical recently became apart of Verity Health Systems. Today, the hospital is internationally recognized for its centers of excellence in cardiovascular surgery, cardiology, oncology, and transplantation, yet still retains its connection to the underprivileged in the community through a variety of innovative and far-reaching programs.
During a renovation project that begun in early 1995, numerous boxes of nineteenth and early twentieth century records were discovered in the basement of one of the hospital's buildings. Originally destined for the dumpster, the value of the records was, fortunately, recognized by Sister Helen Carmody and the dumping of the records was halted by the SVMC Auxiliary. The SVMC Historical Conservancy was formed shortly thereafter to collect, manage, preserve, and display historical records, memorabilia, and related materials pertaining to the operation of St. Vincent Medical Center by the Daughters of Charity since its founding in 1856.
Since that time, the Conservancy has vigorously pursued its objective to serve as the guardian of St. Vincent Medical Center's unique and proud place in Los Angeles' history and to preserve the legacy of the Medical Center's leadership in community service. Robert Marshall, Director of the Urban Archives of California State University at Northridge, was retained as an archivist consultant, and plans began to obtain a permanent space to house the historical records. Additionally, a hospital wide records survey was implemented, and a search began for a full-time archivist as Mr. Marshall's other duties prevented him from devoting the time necessary to properly establish the Conservancy's archive and to bring to fruition its other projects. Years later, with our renovated space on the first floor of the Seton Hall, two archivists, and a troupe of volunteers, the Historical Conservancy is growing more than ever with records from every corner of the hospital and beyond – less