Jiangsu Province
Suqian Municipality
SPM Suqian Physicians
Hospital Intro
Historical Intro Ren Ji YiYuan
100th Anniversary Photographs
Historical Synopsis

Suqian People’s Hospital,
Drum Tower Hospital Group, Nanjing
The historic SPM Suqian Ren Ji Hospital,
Northern Jiangsu Province
Established in 1905

An Introduction to the Heritage

Dr. Absalom Sydenstricker, D.D., with wife Caroline Stulting
and sons Edgar and Clyde, and daughter Pearl (1895)

      Dr. Absalom Sydenstricker, D.D., magna cum laude alumnus of Washington and Lee University and Union Theological Seminary, first arrived in China with his wife Caroline (Carrie) Stulting in 1880, and served in China with SPM for 51 years. Dr. Sydenstricker was the Senior SPM Representative in northern Jiangsu Province, and he is noted for his wide-ranging itineration and for the first visit to Suqian in 1887. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Sydenstricker is credited with establishing the SPM compound in historic Qingjiangpu in 1887, and the SPM Suqian quarters in 1894. Qingjiangpu and Suqian were the first two homes in China for the Sydenstricker's daughter, the prolific author and Noble Prize Laureate, Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, whose first childhood memories are recorded from these two historic towns in northern Jiangsu Province. Four of the seven Sydenstricker children died as youngsters and are buried in China, as are both Dr. Sydenstricker and his wife.

Dr. Edgar A. Woods, Jr., M.D., with wife Frances Smith and
daughter Mary (1894)

      In 1888, Dr. Edgar A. Woods, Jr. (M.D., 1885, University of Virginia, Charlottesville) pioneered the first western medical programs in Jiangsu Province on behalf of the American Southern Presbyterian Mission to China.  In 1892, Dr. Woods formally inaugurated the SPM Ren Ci Hospital at the important harbor community of Qingjiangpu, located on China’s historic Grand Canal.  This noted mission hospital is widely remembered as “Love and Mercy Hospital, TKP.”

Dr. Anne Houston Patterson, M.D., with assistants Mrs. Liu
and Mrs. Dong, at the first SPM Suqian Medical Clinic (1895)

      In 1894, with the active assistance and encouragement of Dr. Edgar. Woods, and the guidance of Dr. Absalom Sydenstricker, Dr. Anne Houston Patterson (M.D. 1890, Women’s Medical College of Baltimore) departed from the Qingjiangpu hospital compound with her husband, Dr. Brown Craig Patterson, D.D., to establish the first western medical clinic in Suqian. 

      Dr. Patterson is noted as the first SPM female physician in China, and the first western woman to reside in Suqian, and she is honored for her role in pioneering the medical services of Suqian.     

Dr. John Wilson Bradley, M.D., with wife Mamie McCollum and
son Samuel Hugh Bradley (1902)

      In 1899, during the ravages of the great famine in northern Jiangsu Province, the Suqian Magistrate requested Dr. Patterson to circulate an appeal in America for additional doctors and medical supplies.

      In 1901, Dr. John Wilson Bradley (M.D., 1895, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston), and wife Mamie McCollum of South Carolina arrived in Suqian to expand medical services in the heart to the old walled city.  In 1905, Dr. Bradley established new quarters in the old city, and with funding provided by an anonymous American benefactor, Dr. Bradley inaugurated the first Suqian hospital, which was named SPM Suqian Ren Ji Hospital (Benevolent Assistance Hospital).  The cornerstone of this historic Suqian landmark recently was unearthed during construction work in the old city and has been placed memoria in aeterna as the cornerstone of the original hospital residence at Suqian People’s Hospital.

SPM Suqian Ren Ji Hospital (1912)

      In 1911, with financial pledges and personal encouragement from Presbyterian laymen in America, Dr. John Bradley designed a new two-story hospital, and two residences, which were built on a spacious new medical compound located outside the southern walls of old Suqian.  Dr. Bradley continued medical services and surgery at the hospital while training young students in medicine, including noted Chinese physicians Dr. Yang Ziruo, and Dr. Yan Jingshuan. 

The Patterson Family's Suqian Courtyard (1913)

Margaret Patterson is sitting on the edge of the chair in front of her mother Anne; her father Craig is kneeling at the right; brother Norman is sitting on the ground; the children of Dr. William Junkin are sitting to the left, and the children of Dr. John Bradley are sitting to the right.

Dr. Norman Guthrie Patterson, M.D., F.A.C.S., with wife
Athalie Hallum and son Norman, Jr. (1935)

      With the sad demise of Dr. John Bradley in 1929, Dr. Norman Guthrie Patterson (M.D., 1929, Medical College of Virginia/VCU, Richmond) was appointed hospital director.  Dr. Norman Patterson was born and raised in Suqian, the son of Dr Brown Craig Patterson, D.D. and Dr. Anne Houston Patterson, M.D. Norman Patterson played on the hospital grounds as a child, and he would return to the hospital compound as the medical director.  Dr. Patterson was awarded the first Benjamin Clayton Internship in China and worked with the venerable Dr. L. Nelson Bell, M.D., at the historic Presbyterian Mission Hospital in old Qingjiangpu (SPM Ren Ci Hospital). Dr. Patterson served as director of SPM Suqian Ren Ji Hospital until the Japanese occupation of China.

SPM Suqian Ren Ji Hospital (1933) (SPM Suqian General Hospital)
North Courtyard

Dr. Yang Ziruo, M.D., and Family in Suqian (1913)
Dr. Yang was the first medical student of Dr. John Bradley, and the first Chinese director of SPM Ren Ji Hospital.

Dr. and Mrs. Norman Patterson, Dr. Yang Ziruo, and the
Staff of SPM Ren Ji Hospital (1931)

      During the early years of Japanese occupation, head nurse Ms. Margaret Wood, R.N., served as hospital superintendent, with Dr. Yang Ziruo as medical director, until she was forced to evacuate in April 1941.  Dr. Yang Ziruo continued medical services in Suqian and Yaowan following the eviction from the hospital by the Japanese military. The hospital compound was restored to medical services in 1945.   

      Suqian People’s Hospital has survived the many upheavals of history, including the devastating Japanese occupation and destruction of World War II.  In 1950, the People’s Hospital of Suqian County was established, and in 1996 Suqian Municipality constructed the People’s Number 1 Hospital of Suqian. On July 10, 2003, the hospital was merged with the Drum Tower Hospital Group of Nanjing, and in October 2005 Suqian People’s Hospital celebrated the hospital’s 100th Anniversary during gala celebrations in Nanjing and Suqian. The heritage of the first Suqian hospital is being honored, the legacy continues, and there is much hope and purpose for the future of medical services on the original compound of the SPM Suqian Ren Ji Hospital in northern Jiangsu Province.  


      The hospital wishes to thank the SPM Suqian family descendants for their kind assistance with the historical documentation of the SPM Suqian Ren Ji Hospital. Without this very helpful assistance and encouragement, an introduction to the hospital’s heritage could never have been written or properly documented. The hospital especially wishes to thank Suqian historian Hong Bulin, former hospital staff member Mrs. Xie Yilan, Dr. and Mrs. Robert G. Patterson, Sr., Margaret Patterson Mack and Pat Mack Churchman, Craig Houston Patterson, Jr., Faith Skepstad Bradley, Alice Junkin Landolt, Kitty Patterson Farley and Nancy Patterson, and Dr. and Mrs. Richard L. Frautschi.
      The hospital also wishes to thank John Zhang, Clayton Wu, Shawn Soong, Jane Pan, Geoffrey Guo and Sandy Chen for their very helpful assistance with the historical documentations and travels in Jiangsu Province, and with the many plans and arrangements for the 100th Anniversary Celebrations.
      The 100th Anniversary Brochure is being published and will be available during the hospital delegation’s scheduled travels in America from July 5–July 20, 2006.
      The hospital welcomes suggestions for any needed revisions to the historical text. Please address suggested amendments to Carl Penton at ipsuqian@yahoo.com.

Jiangsu Province
Suqian Municipality
SPM Suqian Physicians
Hospital Intro
Historical Intro Ren Ji YiYuan
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