2022 Maass Research Grant Awarded

This year’s Maass Research Grant goes to a scholar looking at the struggle for health equity through the long lens of one Chicago hospital.

LeNie Adolphson is examining “Health Care in the Black Metropolis: A History of Provident Hospital, 1891–1960.” Provident was the first Black-owned and -operated hospital in America. Until Provident, Black women were shut out of nursing schools, and Black physicians were denied hospital staff privileges. The results rippled across the city’s Black community.

poster of Provident Hospital Chicago

Provident set out to close the gap in health care access. The hospital had a huge impact, yet no book fully covers its history, and no single archive holds its records. “While scholars have discussed Provident as a pivotal institution in the Black hospital movement, I am the first historian to analyze the hospital’s role in the ongoing fight against racial health disparities,” Adolphson wrote in her grant application.

Her research will take her to the Chicago History Museum and the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History at Woodson Regional Library. The museum holds records of the Chicago Defender, a major Black newspaper and a voice of support for the hospital. Woodson, part of the city’s public library system, has papers of several prominent Provident physicians.

LeNie Adolphson

LeNie Adolphson 2022 Maass Grant winner

LeNie Adolphson

Adolphson is completing her PhD in history at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Her master’s thesis—on the Black Power Movement in Lowndes County, Alabama—took second place in SIU’s awards for Best Graduate History Paper of 2006. While completing her doctorate, she teaches history at Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois.

Adolphson is NIU’s first Maass scholar.

The grant is named in memory of Richard Maass, a philanthropist and prominent collector of American historical manuscripts. He was a founder and early president of the Manuscript Society. Scholarship Committee members are Ellen Myers (then chair), Dick Cameron, Ellen Clark, and Elizabeth Dow (current chair).

Funding for the Maass Research Grant comes from the generosity of Manuscript Society members. Learn how you can help at https://manuscript.org/projects/scholarship-activities.