In the early part of the 20th century, the West End, a neighborhood
of Cincinnati, entered a decline and became increasingly impoverished.
The neighborhood’s African American population had grown due
to an immigration of African Americans from the South and a migration
from the old African American district at Sixth and Broadway. By the
1920s, indigence and prejudice combined to turn the West End into
a run down, poverty stricken area.
After Michael M. Shoemaker, a noted author, traveler and son of railroad
builder Richard M. Shoemaker, died in 1925, his wife donated the Shoemaker
Mansion in the West End to the Community Chest. A few years before
his death, Shoemaker had suggested that his old homestead at 667 West
Fourth Street be used as an emergency hospital for the West End and
offered to give it to the city. Those plans were never worked out,
however, so after he died, Mrs. Shoemaker donated the mansion in keeping
with her husband’s earlier wishes. In conjunction with other
groups, such as the Negro Civic Welfare Association, the Better Housing
League and others, the Community Chest used the Shoemaker Mansion
to establish Shoemaker Clinic as part of the Shoemaker Health and
Welfare Center. It was meant to provide medical services for no charge
or a nominal one to African Americans who could not afford to pay.
It included eight different sub-clinics including general, surgical,
venereal, pre-natal, pediatric, tuberculosis, cardiac, and dental
clinics. Also housed with the clinic in the Shoemaker Health and Welfare
Center was the Family Services Department staffed with social workers
or “visitors” as they were called.
Due to the construction of railroads in the West End, the clinic moved
to 1041 Cutter Street in 1930 but retained the name of Shoemaker.
In 1936 the medical services were taken over by the University of
Cincinnati’s College of Medicine until the Cincinnati Health
Department took control in 1949.
To learn more about Shoemaker Clinic, consult the following
Shoemaker Clinic Annual
General f362.8496 S559
Annual reports for Shoemaker Clinic are available
for the years, 1928, 1929, 1935/1936, 1936/1937, 1940/1941,
and 1945/1946. The reports include a listing of staff, services
that were offered, and a breakdown of expenses. View catalog recordRequest slip
Shoemaker Clinic Monthly Service Reports
Mss VF 734
The library has three monthly service reports from Shoemaker Clinic:
May 1944, November 1948, and January 1949. The reports give statistics
about the number of patients served and the types of services provided. Request slip
Helping the Negro Solve His Problem
By Bleecker Marquette in The Nation's Health, Vol. 9, No.
1. January 15, 1927, pages 19‑21.
General q051 N2771, unb. per.
This article discusses how Shoemaker Clinic was established and some
of the early projects conducted by the clinic. View catalog record
Sources Used for Historical Sketch:
Shoemaker Clinic Annual Reports, 1928,
1929, 1935/1936, 1936/1937, 1940/1941, 1945/1946, General 362.8496
S559. Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum
"Former Notable Homestead Will Become Center
for Health and Welfare Work," Times Star, March 13, 1925,