Skip to main content

Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) Records

Identifier: mss-296

Scope and Content note

The collection of Fletcher Allen Health Care consists of 19 cartons and 10 oversize boxes. The active dates of the collection are from 1879 to 1997. The collection includes materials from the Mary Fletcher (MFH) and DeGoesbriand Hospitals (DH), the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont (MCHV), Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC), the Mary Fletcher, DeGoesbriand and Jeanne Mance Schools of Nursing, and the Vermont College of Medicine. Materials include patient, department, financial, administrative, and staff records, correspondence, speeches, histories, articles, newspaper clippings, newsletters, pamphlets, publications, photographs, negatives, contact sheets, architectural drawings, galley proofs, yearbooks, and miscellaneous objects. The collection is predominantly materials of the Mary Fletcher Hospital and the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont.

The collection arrangement reflects the chronological development of the primary institutions: Mary Fletcher Hospital, DeGoesbriand Hospital, the Merger process, the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont, and Fletcher Allen Health Care. Following the materials of the primary institutions are the records of the schools of nursing and the College of Medicine.

The collection reflects more than a century of instituional development. Increased patient services, modernization in medical practices and technology, and physical plant ecpansion, can be traced to the early patient records of MFH. The records, which include names, addresses, nationalities, illnesses/symptoms, and sometimes, treatments, reveal late nineteenth century medical practices as well as the demographic of the hospital's patient base, and present the foundation of the diverse and specialized services offered one hundred years later by the MCHV and FAHC.

From the early twentieth century the MFH and the newly established DH were in an almost constant state of competitive growth. Histories, statistics and hospital booklets in this collection provide important data on increasing services and expanding buildings. The necessary physical plant expansions are well documented in the photo records with many images of equipment installations and the construction of new facilities. The greatest period of MFH growth was between the late 1940's and early 1960's. That growth, catalyzed by the success of the DeGoesbriand Hospital, is reflected by MFH's practice of documenting its own development through newspaper clipping scrapbooks and newsletter collections. Both series are extensive. The newspaper clippings extend from 1879 to the 1980s. The collection was started by the MFH and was continued, after the merger, by individuals in the MCHV. It was collected in two series and the hospital's arrangement has been maintained. The collected newsletters span from 1951 to 1993. Significant are the decade-length series of MFH "Gauzette" (1951 to 1962) and MCHV "Center Scoop" (1968-1979). In addition, the general scarcity of DeGoesbriand materials make the newsletters- "DeGoesbriand Care" and "DeGoesbriand Doings" (1964-1968) especially important. Significantly, in the same period of growth, the MFH Associates were formed to raise funds to stave off hospital debt. The Associates Records are an important record group (1952-78) that reveal pre and post merger efforts to address financial concerns. The records include MFH and MCHV materials and have been organized as a separate record group.

Particularly interesting and useful in the collection are the materials from th 1967 merger of MFH and DH, which formed the MCHV. The materials were collected between 1966 and 1975 and include pre-merger studies, a draft of the merger agreement, record of the merger ceremonies, public and patient perceptions of the merger, and post-merger progress reports. This collection documents what was a necessary and successful, but often difficult amalgamation of two medical institutions.

The MCHV and FAHC record groups reflect a century's growth in medical technologies and patient services. This collection is useful to examine the diversified activities of a research medical facility that also serves as a community hospital. The materials that range from 1967 to 1993 show increasingly specialized medical services, high-technology medical equipment, community outreach programs, an active public relations department, and expanded research and educational programs in alliance with the College of Medicine. Extensive financial papers in this record group include annual reports, budgets, gift records, telephone charges, a bankruptcy case study, and the detailed Gift Records that span from 1974 to 1991 and include donor name and size of donation. The FAHC materials include a strategic blueprint for the years 1996-97 and four hospital training videos. Though the materials are sparse, the videos reflect the technological changes that have altered everything about the medical facilities including its media for passing and storing information.

An important record group, especially because the materials document institutions that no longer exist, is that of the Mary Fletcher and Jeanne Mance Schools of Nursing. Materials range from 1882 to 1977. This record group includes speeches, photographs, Alumni lists, newsletters, and several histories and reminiscences. Additional nursing school photographs can be found in carton 15, folder 43 & 44. In addition to the Alumni list in this record group (1911-1971), there is an Alumni list located in carton 3, and in an entirely separate collection--The MFH School of Nursing Alumni Associates--are four cartons and one oversize box of materials, the dates of which range from 1913 to 1973.

The University of Vermont College of Medicine is represented with a few papers, the minutes of the UVM Medical Department from 1880 to 1887, and a series of graduating class photos. The photos can be found in carton 15, folder 45 (1951-1984) and at the end of the collection in oversized cartons 25 & 26 (1932-1970).

The collection includes several additional record groups that include public relations information files on administrators, staff, physicians, interns, and residents; an extensive collection of hospital booklets, for patients and employees, in addition to histories collected between the 1920s and the 1980s; and a small collection of hospital yearbooks. There are several cartons of photographs and contact prints that visually document the development of the hospitals and associated educational institutions from the late nineteenth centruy to the 1990s.


  • 1876-2002



Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of Manuscripts.

Historical Note

The Mary Fletcher Hospital was incorporated in 1876 by an act of the Vermont General Assembly. Through the efforts of local philanthropist Mary Martha Fletcher (1830-1885) and Walter Carpenter, Dean of the UVM Medical College, Vermont's first hospital opened on January 22, 1879. Three years later the Mary Fletcher School of Nursing opened a one-month home-nurses training program. Rapid hospital growth over the next decades reflected a change in public perception as well as advances in medical technologies and related fields of study. By the start of the twentieth century, hospitals were no longer places that exclusively treated the poor, and a continual demand for increased patient services forced regular renovation and modernization.

In 1923, when the Mary Fletcher Hospital offered a women's ward, maternity, x-ray, and surgical services, a new hospital opened, offering the residents of Chittenden County an option of medical services. The Bishop DeGoesbriand Hospital was directed by a small group of Roman Catholic nuns from the Montreal Order of the Sisterhood of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph.

Both hospitals, competing for the same relatively small patient market, invested in costly technological upgrades and physical plant expansions. Many services were duplicated between the facilities. Both offered nurses training program and important clinical training for interns and residents from the UVM College of Medicine. By the early 1960's, after thirty years of direct competition and substantial upgrade investments, both facilities were deeply in debt. Merger discussions began in 1965. The Joint Hospital Committee officially proposed a hospital merger in September 1966, and the two hospitals, with very different philosophical foundations, were consolidated as the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont (MCHV) on January 17, 1967.

The combined facilities created the largest medical facility in Vermont and upper New York State. While priding itself as Chittenden County's community hospital, MCHV had become the referral hospital for most of Vermont. The DeGoesbriand Unit of MCHV became the University Health Center in 1971, and the University of Vermont took over the nurses training program as the two hospital programs were closed. The catalysts of the previous century- technological advances and increased demand for patient services-facility that offered increasingly specialized services including intensive care for adults and newborns, open heart surgery, kidney dialysis, computerized diagnostics, radiation therapy, and cardiac catheterization. In addition, MCHV advanced its role as a research and educational facility by increasing its ties with the UVM College of Medicine, primarily by expanding its residency programs.

In response to changes in technology, rising health care costs and shifting market expectations, MCHV, Fanny Allen Hospital, and the University Health Center were incorporated as Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) on October 1, 1995. The consolidation reflected a national health-care industry trend that emphasized a "managed-care" strategy. In addition, consolidation was a response to the competitive rise of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. Merger discussion in 1994 resulted in a plan for a better-coordinated, simpler, more efficient system of health care primarily achieved through merging duplicated services and downsizing the workforce from 4,500 to 3,000 employees. By 1997, FAHC employed 4,000, and treated an average of 321 patients daily and 20,000 annually. In addition, FAHC in conjunction with the UVM College of Medicine is one of 125 academic medical centers in the United States that combine medical services, and medical education and research. It remains the only clinical research center in northern New England.


40 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Collection consists of patient reports and files (many historical), publicity and community relations materials, newsletters and Progress In Care runs, Ladies Auxiliary files, and many photos, slides, posters, etc. of Mary Fletcher Hospital, FAHC, and staff and students throughout its history.

Arrangement Note

Collection is partially processed. Additional materials are not currently included in this finding aid.


Library Research Annex

Guide to the Fletcher Allen Health Care (FAHC) Records
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Vermont Libraries, Special Collections Repository

Silver Special Collections Library
48 University Place, Room B201
Burlington Vermont 05405 U.S.A. US
(802) 656-2138
(802) 656-4038 (Fax)