Stories

Pennsylvania Hospital History: Stories – Nation’s First Hospital

The Story of the
Creation of the Nation’s First Hospital

Pennsylvania Hospital was founded in 1751 by Dr. Thomas Bond
and Benjamin Franklin “to care for the sick-poor and insane
who were wandering the streets of Philadelphia.” At the
time, Philadelphia was the fastest growing city in the 13 colonies.
In 1730, the population numbered 11,500 and had grown to 15,000
by 1750 (the city continued to grow and by 1776, its 40,000 residents
made Philadelphia the second largest English-speaking city in
the British Empire).

The docks and wharves along the Delaware River teemed with activity
as ships bound for foreign ports loaded up with flour, meat and
lumber while overseas vessels delivered European-manufactured
goods and wines. Foreign visitors noted with envy the city’s
growing prosperity. Although the majority of the population was
neither extremely wealthy nor extremely poor, there was a significant
increase in the number

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