Skip to main content

The timeline can be navigated with the “Scroll Left” and “Scroll Right” buttons or by dragging the pointer to a date on the timeline waveform (located at the bottom of the screen on the desktop version and on the left of the screen on mobile). To filter by a particular topic and see a smaller section of the data, make a selection on the dropdown “Filters” menu or click “Search” to do a keyword search. Hover over the abbreviated filter tags in the blue boxes to see the complete name of the filter, or click a filter to display all the data with this tag. If you want to take a deeper dive into a specific topic by viewing a narrative essay page and a curated timeline, click on “Stories.”

Read More
A print illustration of the Philadelphia Dispensary for the Medical Relief of the Poor, on Fifth Street between Sansom and Walnut.
Philadelphia Dispensary for the Medical Relief of the Poor.

Philadelphia Dispensary, the first known free walk-in health clinic, is founded.

Date: 1786

Philadelphia Dispensary for the Medical Relief of the Poor.

Benjamin Rush, a physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, offers in-home visits for people living in poverty who are too ill to leave their houses. He also creates an apothecary, which compounds medicines of all sorts that are offered to patients. Advice and therapies are also suggested by the dispensary’s physicians. This practice is distinct from hospital care, and can be seen as an early incarnation of the doctor's office. The model will expand in order to reduce the cost of care and reduce hospital overcrowding.