Biography and History

For over a century the Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary has contributed to the financial well-being of Princeton University's Health Services. The principal role of the Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary is that of a volunteer fundraising organization. Through member contributions and gift programs the Auxiliary is able to underwrite the facilities and staff needs of University Health Services. Notable past projects have included the financing of a new infirmary building (completed in 1925) and the construction of the Margaret S. Goheen Medical Library in 1989, as well as the Janet C. Morgan Health and Wellness Library in 2004. The importance of the Ladies Auxiliary to Princeton student health extends beyond monetary contributions however. The group has consistently provided a sense of organizational leadership and guidance at times when the rapid growth of the University community has necessitated additional support for University Health Services.

In 1902, with the University's new gymnasium nearing completion, J. McNaughton Thompson, then the curator of grounds and buildings, wrote to Mrs. Junius S. Morgan in hopes of persuading her to organize a committee of women for the purpose of furnishing ladies' dressing rooms prior to dances. Mrs. Morgan, wife of the University's associate librarian, undertook the task with zeal and by early June the Ladies Auxiliary had formed. The scope of the organization soon extended beyond that of student recreation and by 1904 the Auxiliary had adopted the improvement and continual support of the Isabella McCosh Infirmary as its primary mission, adopting the name "The Ladies Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary."

In a broader sense, the formation of the Ladies Auxiliary is important as one of the first instances of women taking an active participatory role in the life of the Princeton University community. In a conscious emulation of the commitment of organizational namesake Isabella McCosh (the wife of University president James McCosh) to student health, the bulk of the early members of the Ladies Auxiliary were wives of prominent University faculty and administrators. Inaugural members of the Executive Board included Mrs. Grover Cleveland, Mrs. Allan Marquand, and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson. The wife of every Princeton president from Wilson onwards would eventually serve the Auxiliary in some capacity, with Mrs. John Grier Hibben and Mrs. William T. Bowen both serving tenures as Auxiliary presidents. In 2001 the name of the group was changed to "The Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary" in an effort to encourage a more inclusive membership.

Source: From the finding aid for AC175

  • Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary Records. 1902-2007 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC175

    The Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary is a volunteer fundraising organization which supports Princeton University Health Services. Founded in 1902 as the Ladies Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary, the group has been responsible for shaping student health at Princeton University for over a century. The records contain meeting minutes, annual reports, correspondence, and subject files which pertain to the McCosh Infirmary, or to the organization itself.

  • Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary Records. 1902-2007 (inclusive).

    Call Number: AC175

    The Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary is a volunteer fundraising organization which supports Princeton University Health Services. Founded in 1902 as the Ladies Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary, the group has been responsible for shaping student health at Princeton University for over a century. The records contain meeting minutes, annual reports, correspondence, and subject files which pertain to the McCosh Infirmary, or to the organization itself.