Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary, 1880-1982: A Register

Arranged and Described By:
Kim Isaacs Seltzer
April 1993


This Collection is arranged and described as the result of a practicum, a requirement for the completion of Manuscripts and Archives, a graduate course in the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Practicum Advisor: Lois Densky-Wolff, Archivist
Student: Kim Isaacs Seltzer
Spring Semester 1993
April 15, 1993

Manuscript Collection Separation Statement

While the determination of provenance and the division of accessions into separate collections should in general be marked by caution, the justification for the separation of records from Dr. Samuel Berg's collection pertaining to the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary can be considered appropriate for the following reasons:

  1. Dr. Berg was the donor not the creator of these records. As donor, Dr. Berg's personal papers include those created by the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary, which has a separate and significant history.
  2. Additionally, it has been determined that the records of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary are significant enough to warrant consideration as a separate collection.
  3. These records can form a separate collection since they have no integral link to Dr. Berg's papers. The records of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary were not part of any filing system in Dr. Berg's collection that would be pertinent to the concept of original order. The evidential as well as the informational value contained in these papers are more significant as a discrete manuscript collection of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary than as a reflection of Dr. Berg's overriding collecting activities.
  4. The connection that did exist will remain reflected in the various accession forms recorded when the records were originally donated. Dr. Berg will be credited as the donor of the records newly arranged as the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary collection.
  5. Additional Infirmary material not received from Dr. Berg will be placed with the collection to preserve and interpret the history of the institution. This project, therefore, supports the goal of the Department of Special Collections to collect information on this formative period of Newark's medical history.


An effort to isolate treatment of the eye and ear was first made by Dr. Charles Kipp in 1870 with the start of a special eye and ear clinic at St. Michael's Hospital, Newark. The Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary was formally established January 31, 1880, in the Rankin mansion on High Street and Springfield Avenue by Dr. Kipp and a Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees consisted of Dr. Kipp, Robert H. Ballantine of Ballantine Brewery, William Clark of the Clark Thread Company, Frederick Frelinghuysen, Esq., and Dr. William Rankin from a family of hat manufacturers.

A second location at 77 Central Avenue was donated and built by Robert Ballantine from 1904-8 as a memorial to Dr. Kipp, who played a leading role in the Infirmary until his death in 1911. Wells P. Eagleton, another prominent physician, who was the first to complete an internship and residency at the Infirmary, was to remain with the Infirmary until his death in 1946.

In 1952, the first plastic surgery clinic in the state was initiated at the Infirmary under the direction of Dr. Eagelton's successor, Dr. Richard Swain. He also established the first glaucoma clinic as well as the Henry C. Barkhorn Memorial Hearing Center in 1953.

Newark Eye & Ear Infirmary ca1908

In 1957, the Infirmary and three other Newark organizations formed United Hospitals Medical Center. In 1969, the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary along with Children's Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital moved their operations to the Medical Center Campus at 15 South Ninth Street. The forth member of the consolidation, The Hospital for Crippled Children, is now United Hospitals Orthopedic Division at Park Avenue and Clifton Street. The Eye Institute of New Jersey, an outpatient unit treating ophthalmologic subspecialties, is also a member of United Hospitals Medical Center.

A Centennial Anniversary of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary at United Hospitals Medical Center was celebrated with a hospital reception on January 31, 1980. At that time, the Infirmary's original incorporation papers as well as surgical instruments were donated to the New Jersey Historical Society.

The 100th Anniversary was also celebrated in May 1980, at the Meadowlands Hilton, with a gala dinner and formal tribute to Dr. Kipp to honor his founding role in the Infirmary.

Dr. Charles J. Kipp (1838-1911)

Dr. Charles John [Jacob] Kipp was born October 22, 1838, in Hanover, Germany, to Henry and Minna (Dietrich). He came to the United States in 1854 and graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in 1861. He worked as a surgeon for the United States Army until 1868. In 1870, he started the eye and ear clinic at St. Michael's Hospital, Newark, and in 1880, he helped establish the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary, where he remained its founding father.

Dr. Kipp achieved many accomplishments. He served as president of Babies' Hospital, Newark, the Society for Relief of Widows and Orphans of Medical Men of New Jersey, the Medical Society of New Jersey (1886), the American Ophthalmological Society (1907), the American Otological Society (1908), and as Vice President of the American Medical Society (1909).

In 1980, on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary, tribute was paid to Dr. Kipp to honor his service and commitment to the Infirmary.

Kipp, Charles J., MD

Dr. Wells P. Eagleton (1865-1946)

Wells Phillips Eagleton was born September 18, 1865, in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Thomas Eagleton, MD and Mary Emma Phillips Eagleton. He began his studies at Brooklyn's Polytechnic Institute and completed his medical training at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City, in 1888. In the same year, starting as their first intern and resident, he began a lifelong association with the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary. After Dr. Kipp's death in 1911, the Infirmary appointed him Medical Director, Superintendent, Chief of Staff and General Manager and would honor his achievements for fifty years of service and leadership by presenting him with the first Edward J. Ill Award on May 23, 1939.

During World War I, Dr. Eagleton was chief of head surgery at Camp Dix, New Jersey, and continued to specialize in neurosurgery as a civilian working as a consultant to many of the northern New Jersey hospitals. Two major works define his expertise in the pathology of brain infections and surgery techniques: Brain Abscess: Its Surgical Pathology and Operative Treatment (1922) and Cavernous Sinus Thrombophlebitis (1929).

Dr. Eagleton played an active role in many medical societies. He served as president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, the American Otological Society, the New York Otological Society, the Medical Society of New Jersey, the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey, and of the Essex County Medical Society.

Eagleton, Wells P., MD

His interests extended to a variety of liberal health, education and welfare movements. He was a trustee of the State Commission for the Blind and The Newark Museum, President of the Newark Council of Social Agencies, and he promoted an amendment to the Workmen's Compensation Law in 1922.

Additionally, Dr. Eagleton actively shared and supported the interests of his wife, Florence Peshine, for women's rights and world peace. To this end, he gave the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey a brownstone adjacent to their own to house to be used as the Eagleton Civic Center and after his death in 1946, his wife established the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

Scope and Content Note

The records of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary date from 1880-1982. Dr. Samuel Berg who donated them to the Department of Special Collections as part of the Samuel Berg, MD Collection, collected the records. The Berg Collection mainly documents the early years of Newark City Hospital/Martland Medical Center as well as the wider Newark medical community. While Dr. Berg's collection was donated and accessioned between 1988 and 1990, the material collected for and most relevant to the history and maintenance of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary was accessioned in 1988 (88-09). A Manuscript Collection Separation Statement serves to justify the creation of this independent collection. The overriding intent and purpose is to make records related to the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary more accessible to researchers.

The strength of the collected material highlights the founding and guiding role of physicians, Charles J. Kipp and Wells P. Eagleton. Of particular interest is a chronological account, written by Dr. Berg [ca. 1980], of Dr. Kipp's earliest efforts to develop the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary from January 10, 1857 to April 13, 1887. Dr. Eagleton's medical writings are represented in the collection, and notably his "Brief Review of the Work of the Newark (New Jersey) Eye and Ear Infirmary" (1945). In addition to biographical references, obituary notices and formal tributes about Drs. Kipp and Eagleton, there are biographical entries and some obituary notices for the trustees and hospital administrators.

Eight Annual Reports are part of the collection, as well as an audiotape of the 90th Anniversary Celebration (April 22, 1971), and Dr. Berg's "Scrapbook" which focuses on the Infirmary. The celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary is documented with a press release from the Office of Public Affairs at United Hospitals of Newark (January 18, 1980) outlining the history of the Infirmary, a copy of the invitation to the University Hospital Medical Center's reception (January 31, 1980), and copies of newspaper coverage of the formal dinner-dance event at the Meadowlands Hilton, Secaucus (May 9, 1980).

The collection does not contain official records generated by the Infirmary other than annual reports, but contains an assortment of non-sequential records pertaining to the Infirmary's history, the dominant physicians and trustees, and to the development of the practice of medicine relating to the eye and ear. The records are grouped in the following series: annual reports, Dr. Berg's Scrapbook, and subject files.

Restrictions: None
Size of Collection: .25 l.f.
See Also: MC/43, United Hospitals Medical Center Records-Newark Charitable Eye & Ear Infirmary.

Series Description

The Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary Collection is arranged in three series.

Series I
Annual Reports, 1880-1929, with gaps.
Arranged chronologically.

Series includes a combination of original annual reports and photocopies. Originals include the First (1880), Second (1882), Third (1883), Seventh (1886), Ninth (1888) and Fiftieth (1929). There are photocopies of the Fourth (1884) and Fifth (1885) Annual Reports. (Dr. Berg's Scrapbook includes photocopies of the lst-5th Annual Reports.) Addenda 93-141: Annual Reports, 1886, 1908, 1910.

Series II
Scrapbook, 1896-1976, with gaps.
Arranged in non-sequential order.

Scrapbook compiled by Dr. Berg containing 6 sections: "N. E & E" including histories of the Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary (Eagleton, 1945), the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital; "Kipp" and "Eagleton", notices of their deaths and medical articles by Eagleton; "Dr. Elisha North", an article on his role in the first eye infirmary in the U.S.; "Annual Reports", photocopies of the Infirmary's 1-5th; "Trustees Bios", on John Emery, William C. Clark, William Francis Perpente, John R. Emery, Thomas B. Peddie, Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, Phineas Jones and Eugene Vanderpool.

Series III
Subject Files, 1911-1982, with gaps.
Arranged chronologically within subject folders.

Series includes files on the 90th Anniversary Celebration (April 22, 1971) including an audiotape; the 100th Anniversary Celebration and tribute to Dr. Kipp; Dr. Wells P. Eagleton, consisting of his professional writings (other writings and an obituary are in Series II: Scrapbook), and a Miscellaneous file.

The Newark Charitable Eye and Ear Infirmary
Collection, 1880-1982

Container List

Box Folder Contents
11Annual Reports, 1880-1929, with gaps.
2Scrapbook, 1896-1976, with gaps.
390th Anniversary Celebration, April 22, 1971.
Audiotape with remarks by Dr. Elliott Rinzler and Dr. William Hahn.
4100th Anniversary Celebration and tribute to Dr. Kipp, 1911-1980, with gaps.
5Dr. Wells P. Eagleton, 1929-1939, with gaps.
6Miscellaneous, 1880, 1982.

Page Revised: 10/5/01

For reference service and information contact:
Robert Vietrogoski
Special Collections
FAX 973-972-7474