Our Beginning

As a student, Dr. Joseph B. DeLee studied maternity and home obstetric services in Berlin, Paris, and Vienna. He conceived the idea of a lying-in hospital in 1895 while studying medicine at Chicago's Cook County Hospital. In that same year, after receiving advice from Dr. Edmund J. Doering, he established his first dispensary at Maxwell Street and Newberry Avenue. The dispensary's first interns, Drs. Charles Lockwood and Charles Todd arrived on June 1, 1896. Thus began the march of young men and women through the institution. Many of these doctors have become respected leaders and specialists in obstetrics and have spread the gospel of good obstetrics and the reputation of the Chicago Lying-In Hospital around the world. The dispensary was relocated to a house on Ashland Boulevard in September 1899 and by 1927, the Lying-In Hospital's Board of Directors decided to affiliate with the University of Chicago in order to improve the level of the institution's teaching and research. Architects Schmidt, Garden and Erikson designed a new building on a site donated by the university. When opened in May 1931, Dr. DeLee said, "We think it is the most beautiful hospital in the world, and it stands as a monument to childbearing women and to the dignity of obstetrics."

The Department Today

In the early years of the 20th century, the pioneering obstetrician, Joseph Bolivar DeLee, established the Chicago Lying-In Hospital. This was an innovative facility that adopted strict hygienic practices and trained practitioners in the best surgical techniques. As a result, the Chicago Lying-In Hospital achieved levels of maternal and infant mortality that were far below those considered acceptable at the time.

In the late 1920s, Dr. DeLee and the Hospital’s Board of Directors affiliated with the University of Chicago, in order to benefit from the University’s strong commitment to medical education and research. In 1938 the Chicago Lying-In Hospital merged with the University of Chicago Clinics, and Dr. DeLee became the first Chairman of the new Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Since that time, our Department has continued to lead in education, research, and innovative and compassionate patient care in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Today at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women and girls have access to our dynamic team of leading experts in gynecology, gynecologic surgery, obstetrics, midwifery, maternal-fetal medicine, gynecologic cancers, contraception and family planning, fertility and reproductive medicine, urogynecology, and pediatric gynecology.