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Whatsoever Free Bed Association

Identifier: RH-A-3568

Scope and Contents

This collection is composed of items from the Whatsoever Free Bed Association of Kalamazoo from the years 1911 to 2012. Items include annual reports, minutes, membership lists, case books, and financial records. Most of this information is contained in hardbound books, spiral notebooks, or loose leaf paper. There are two folders of correspondence, which consists mainly of thank you cards from patients helped by Whatsoever Free Bed. A number of newspaper clippings and articles contain historical information relating to the association.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1911-2012

Biographical / Historical

The Whatsoever Free Bed Association was founded in 1911 by women of the churches of Kalamazoo. It was incorporated officially in May of 1912. The women of the churches were contacted by Dr. Blanch W. Epler, who saw that there existed a need to help those who required health care but had no way to pay for it. Originally there was a bed designated at Bronson hospital for the use of these patients. The bed was eventually discontinued to respect the privacy of the patient. Mrs. Isabelle Bigelow was the first president of Whatsoever Free Bed.

In later years the association changed the ways in which they helped people with medical needs. Instead of supporting a free bed at the hospital, they helped with hospital bills, medications, medical appliances, dental work, eyeglasses, and telephone and electric bills when medically necessary. Referrals came from doctors, heads of churches, the health department, visiting nurses, senior services and the Red Cross. The Whatsoever Free Bed Association was funded by local churches, memorial contributions, bequests, and gifts from individuals.


5 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection amounts to 2.5 cubic feet within 5 boxes. The collection includes books, notebooks, loose leaf paper, cards, newspaper, and photographs.

Items in the collection range from fair to good condition. The hardbound books should be handled with care to avoid further damage to the spines. Metal spirals of notebooks have been removed when possible, but care should be taken with notebooks that still have the spiral, in order to avoid ripping pages. Most of the loose leaf paper is in good condition.


Donated by Bonnie Cleasby, Joyce Cleasby, and Mildred Pyle in August and September of 2012.

Whatsoever Free Bed Association Finding Aid
Devin Erlandson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490