An Antique Photo of Three Individuals

Our History

In the autumn of 1918, Dr. Wolff Freudenthal, a German-trained physician with ENT expertise and a leader of New York City-based medical societies, had an important discussion with his associates. At the more than 80-year-old New York Medical Union, they talked about the fate of an elderly physician, now reduced to living as an inmate at a “poor house.”

Dr. Freudenthal urged his fellow physicians to establish a home to care for aged and indigent physicians and their wives or widows. Less than a year later, on June 4, 1919, The Physicians’ Home was granted a certificate of incorporation. Dr. Freudenthal chaired the first annual meeting of this new philanthropy at his home on October 14. Immediately after that, an appeal was issued to physicians throughout New York State for financial donations, and Physicians’ Home, Inc. was launched.

Early Years

During its first 25 years, Physicians’ Home, Inc. provided actual housing for physicians in distress. Many different New York State sites were employed. First was a private sanitarium in Amityville, Long Island, known as Louden Knickerbocker Hall or Louden Hall Private House.

Supplementing this site was an extraordinary 200-acre farm in Northwestern New York State in the isolated village of Caneadea, between Corning and Buffalo. Two brother physicians, Drs. Stephen and William Mountain, sons of the farm’s owner, offered this tranquil spot to Physicians’ Home, Inc. from 1921 to 1922.

The mortgage for the farm was ultimately forgiven, with the proviso that the home be named after their father, David. Plans included large dormitories, structural additions, a laboratory for experiments, and tennis and golf facilities. By 1923, all the guests of the Physicians’ Home, Inc. were housed there. However, most of the original grand plan was never completed.

An Old Black and White Photo of a Large House

The Challenging Years

In the midst of the Great Depression and with the death of Dr. Stephen Mountain, the David A. Mountain Home for Aged Physicians abruptly closed in 1927, just five years after its opening. Its approximately 11 guests moved to either nearby Jackson Sanitarium (The Castle on the Hill) in Dansville or Dr. Barnes Sanitarium in Stamford, CT, or back to Louden Hall in Amityville. In 1929, Physicians’ Home, Inc. acquired real estate in Brooklyn, NY, which was ultimately sold some years later.

In the 1930s, Physicians’ Home, Inc. had achieved, through many modest gifts of several hundred dollars, an endowment of $100,000 and a board, which had expanded from 7 to 33.

During the 1940 war years, the Physicians’ Home, Inc. entered “turbulent and fateful days” with an inadequate endowment despite receiving its largest single bequest to date of $25,000 in 1944. By 1945, Physicians’ Home, Inc. ceased maintaining guests in homes and instead moved to its current operating plan of providing interval monetary help to physicians, with immediate family members eligible for assistance as well.

More Recent Years

The 1950s brought Physicians’ Home, Inc. a remarkable reversal of its financial resources. It received a notice in the early ’50s of an extraordinary bequest, the largest to date, from Dr. Teofilo Parodi, who had operated the Lexington Sanitarium (Lexington Avenue at 65th St.). Some time was required to settle this bequest; in the end, it amounted to $750,000. Not surprisingly, the home maintains a plaque in its administrative office commemorating the physician’s generosity.

In the following decades, donations from thousands have benefited the mission of Physicians’ Home, Inc. The most impressive has been a recent generous transfer of assets to the home from a former New York City physician charity, the Society for the Relief of Widows and Orphans of Medical Men.

At Present

Currently, a typical 12-month period would see anywhere from 25 to 35 individuals receiving help, with total amounts given out amounting to over $250,000 – no repayment is expected! Regular board executive committee meetings are held at the administrative office in New York, NY, to review beneficiary status and circumstances.

For many years, Physicians’ Home, Inc. has maintained a liaison with the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY). A report of our activities is provided at their annual House of Delegates meeting. In turn, the society has helped with fundraising efforts by providing physician contact information, as well as by helping make sure the organization’s mission is known to doctors throughout the various counties of the state.

Physicians’ Home, Inc. has been blessed with the leadership of an astute board of directors and a competent administrative office staff.

Beginning a Second Century

As Physicians’ Home, Inc. enters its second century, it stands secure with sound financial and administrative resources. It is ready to extend assistance well into the future for New York State physicians who fall on hard times.

A Man in a Suit Playing the Violin