SIM-28: Halloran Hospital Collection
Scope and Contents
The bulk of material in this collection consists of issues of Halloran Beacon, a newsletter primarily intended for distribution to Halloran patients and staff, as well as newsclippings and articles from popular magazines and medical journals. The most comprehensive items in the collection are the three booklets that give overviews of the facility when it was in operation during World War II and in 1950 after the facility had been a Veterans hospital. The two books in the collection were written for children by Halloran’s commanding officer Brigadier General Ralph G. Devoe. The collection also includes some items of material culture, including badges, matchbooks, and a license plate.
- 1918 - 2010
Biographical / Historical
Halloran General, the 382 acre campus that became a U.S. Army Debarkation Hospital in World War II, was created by the State of New York as the Willowbrook School for the developmentally disabled. As the school was nearing completion, the Army took over the facility in September 1942 and modified it by adding numerous facilities including a surgery wing, 3.5 miles of covered, heated walkways to connect all buildings, a Red Cross Auditorium that could seat 1,200, labs for the fabrication of artificial eyes and limbs, a vast food services complex that could prepare meals for special diets, as well as serve as many as 93,000 meals per month, a sophisticated telephone system that included jacks at patient’s beds, and a radio station. With a capacity of 1,500 beds, the hospital was activated as an Army post on October 19, 1942. Halloran received the first wounded on November 5, 1942. Soon afterwards the decision was made to double capacity to 3,000 beds, making the facility one of the largest receiving hospitals in the United States. An additional 3,500 beds were stockpiled and capacity reserved for them should an emergency or disaster make them necessary. As a debarkation hospital, Halloran gave personnel wounded overseas preliminary care and classified them for transfer to other Army hospitals who specialized in the type of injury they presented or were simply closer to their hometowns. The hospital also treated soldiers from the Second Service Command (New York, New Jersey and Delaware) for injuries and illnesses that could not be adequately cared for in local station hospitals. Patients were processed at a rate of 2,500 per day, utilizing Addressograph and Graphotype machines. A P.O.W. camp located on the grounds provided a supply of manual labors to support hospital activities. The hospital became known for developing innovative techniques for physical therapy, occupational therapy, and studies on the use of penicillin and streptomycin.
The Army released Halloran to the Veterans Administration on January 1, 1947. By January 1, 1950 Halloran V.A. Hospital had 1,500 patients and a staff of 1,600 and offered specialized wards for geriatrics and neuropsychiatry and the treatment of paraplegics and patients with tuberculosis. The political battle to keep Halloran as a V.A. Hospital failed due to the insistence of the State of New York that the campus be returned to its original purpose. On March 16, 1950, the Veterans Administration announced the closure of Halloran, effective June 30, 1950. This date was later revised to December 31, 1952 to coincide with the expected completion of a new V.A. Hospital in lower Manhattan.
.35 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
This artificial collection was begun by Mr. Kennedy who donated his materials in 2016. The Archives and Special Collections will continue to add material as it becomes available. Please see the linked finding aid for folder listings.
The materials in this collection are arranged by type of document and then by date.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Initial donation by Henry J. Kennedy, Esq.
Description and inventory by James A. Kaser.
- Language of description
- Script of description