“A Poor Sort of Memory”: Voluntary Hospitals and Government before the Depression

The appropriate relationship between government and voluntary hospitals has been debated for decades. Throughout most of the nineteenth century there was little distinction-or concern-as to what was appropriate for government and what for voluntary initiative; both were assumed to serve the public interest. Only well into the twentieth century did the source of capital displace societal purpose in redefining “publicness.” Versions of history for political purposes have utility as myths that bear scant resemblance to the historical record.

Author(s): Rosemary Stevens

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Volume 60, Issue 4 (pages 551–584)
Published in 1982