Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives




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Cincinnati History
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Shoemaker Clinic
  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 resources:

Shoemaker Clinic Annual Reports
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 record   Request 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   Request slip

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 Center.
  • "Former Notable Homestead Will Become Center for Health and Welfare Work," Times Star, March 13, 1925, page 38.


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This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.