Anny Elston papers, 1918-1976 (bulk 1944-1972)

Elston, Anny, Dr.,. 1895-1975


2.0 linear feet.
This collection contains material regarding Dr. Anny Elston's medical career in Germany and the United States after immigrating to New York in 1941 as a result of Nazi Germany's "Racial Laws." The collection includes Dr. Elston's medical credentials from Germany that allowed her to obtain her New York State Medical License as well as a number of certificates and membership from her medical career as a pediatrician in the United States, material regarding the financial operation of her medical practice, and patient records. The patient records are restricted until 2042. The collection includes materials such as official documents, correspondence, receipts, memorabilia, notes, photographs and patient records. This collection is a valuable resource for researchers interested in women's medical careers in the 20th century, the process of establishing a career in the United States following immigration, and the minutia of running a medical practice in New York City.
Anny Elston (1895-1975), a German born and trained pediatrician, immigrated to the United States in 1941 due to the "Racial Laws" in Nazi Germany. After obtaining her New York State Medical License in 1942, she began practicing medicine in New York City until retiring in 1972. The Anny Elston papers include information regarding Dr. Elston's medical credentials and continuing education, her medical practice in New York City, and patient records.
Dr. Anny Elston (nee Halpert) was a pediatrician born at Gera in Thuringia, Germany on March 21, 1895. The daughter of Eugene Halpert, a textile manufacturer, Dr. Elston was educated in Germany at a secondary school for girls at Gera and the "Real-gymnasium" for girls at Leipzig. Dr. Elston, in her curriculum vitae describes the "Real-gymnasium as a type of German high school that combines the teaching of classical and modern subjects. She studied medicine at the University of Freiburg, Jena, Heidelberg and Munich, receiving her medical degree in 1920. During World War I, while continuing her studies, Dr. Elston worked as a Red Cross Nurses Aid and as a Red Cross Student Nurse, quite frequently in military hospitals. She also interned at the Medical Clinic at the University of Heidelberg, the Municipal Hospital for Women and the County Hospital of Milbitz in Thuringia. After passing the Medical State Examination at the University of Jena, Dr. Elston served her "practical year" at the Medical University Clinic Kiel where she completed her experimental research work and obtained her degree of Medical Doctor. From 1920 to 1924, Dr. Elston worked as intern and then resident at the Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria Haus, Reichsanstalt zur BeKampfung der Sauglings--und Kleinkindersterblichkeit. In 1922, Dr. Elston married Freidrich ("Fritz" and "Fred") Gerhard Edelstein, an attorney, and they had two sons in 1924 and 1928. In 1924, Dr. Elston opened her own practice in Berlin-Wilmersdorf as a pediatrician and continued in this practice until October 1938 when she "lost [her] profession by the Racial Laws in German," (Curriculum Vitae, Box 1, Folder 1) which prohibited her from practicing medicine because was Jewish. Dr. Elston and her husband considered themselves "racial Jews" only, as they were members of the Lutheran Church. In 1938 she had her necessary legal documents translated into English at the American consulate and in 1939, she and her husband sent their sons (Gerhard, or Gerd and Wolfgang, or Wolf) to a boarding school for refugees in England. She and Fritz immigrated to the United States on April 25, 1941 and changed their name to Elston. Shortly before the end of the war, Gerhard and Wolfgang joined their parents in the United States. In 1942, she passed her New York state board exam and began work at the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. Dr. Elston's husband Fritz taught German and math at Seton Hall College in New Jersey for many years until he died of a heart attack in 1956. Her son Wolfgang earned a Ph. D. at Columbia University and continues to work as Professor Emeritus in Geology at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Elston retired on March 31, 1972 after 48 years in medical practice, citing an eye-ailment and a decreased ability to read as one of the reasons. She died in 1975, shortly before her 80th birthday.
The first two series of this collection are open for research use. However, the third series which is composed of patient records is restricted until 2042. For more information, please contact the Archives.
Anny Elston papers, 1918-1976, bulk 1944-1972. Drexel University College of Medicine, Legacy Center: Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine and Homeopathy.
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Drexel University College of Medicine, Legacy Center: Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine and Homeopathy with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
While the majority of the collection is written in English, there is a considerable amount of material in German. The heaviest concentrations of material in German may be found in Box 1, Folder 2, which contains documentation of Dr. Elston's education and career in Germany and Box 1, Folder 12, which contains general correspondence.

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