The Deaconess Hospital, originally known as St. Luke's Hospital, was founded in 1892 by Dr. J.E. Engstad. It was the first hospital in America built and owned by a Scandinavian. Because of the rapid growth, Dr. Engstad requested help from the Deaconess Home in Minneapolis for nurses, and two years later, a new wing was added, bringing the total number of beds to thirty- five.
In 1899 Engstad sold his hospital to the Deaconess Corporation. Through the selling of subscriptions headed by Rev. I. Tollefson, $12,000 was raised and on December 11, 1899, the new corporation took possession. The hospital continued to grow, and many additions, such as a new operating room, an elevator, departments, and rooms were added. A nurse's training program was established in 1905 to alleviate the great shortage of nurses in the state. Prior to World War I, two major additions were completed. With the advent of World War II, the hospital opened a pediatrics department and celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. The total number of beds was 150.
In 1959 the Hospital's School of Nursing closed. Twelve years later, in 1971, the Deaconess Corporation sold the hospital to the United Hospital Corporation for $1.00, completing 79 years of service to the Red River Valley citizens.
The Deaconess Hospital Collection contains photographs of the interior areas of the Deaconess Hospital. Included are pictures of the emergency room, surgery, x-ray department, examination rooms, pharmacy, patient's room, the nursing station, cafeteria and lounge. The photographs were taken by Elwyn B. Robinson in May 1976.
Also included are general correspondence files dating from 1907 to 1913, arranged alphabetically. It also contains a series of applicant registration forms, resumes and letters of recommendation for individuals in the Nursing Training School at Deaconess Hospital. These records are arranged alphabetically by applicant and date from 1907 to 1921.