Corporators: A Brief History

TwainCorporators have served as Hartford Hospital ambassadors since the early 1880s. According to The Healing Triangle: Hartford Hospital’s First 150 Years  (Bruce Clouette and Brian Lever), “In the 1880s, the hospital’s Board of Directors reached out to the influential and well-to-do members of the community by designating many of them as corporators.” Corporators served as a critical link between the community and Hartford Hospital, continuing a connection that started nearly 30 years earlier when an industrial explosion that killed and injured many people motivated the community to found the area’s first hospital in 1854. 
     Just as Corporators do today, the first Corporators lent their reputation to the hospital and helped with fundraising. 
Connecticut’s 1890 Report of the State Board of Charities lists P.M. Hastings, MD, as the hospital’s first corporator, having been elected in 1882. Among the corporators to follow Hastings were the business, medical, and social leaders of the day, including Samuel L. Clemens (aka Mark Twain), who was elected a Corporator in 1887. 
     At last count, Hartford Hospital Corporators numbered 412. As the Afterword of The Healing Triangle states: “Today, the hospital is still ‘owned’ by the community it serves and is responsive to the needs of that community. ... The people who serves as the hospital's corporators and board members are unpaid volunteers who represent a breadth of diverse experience and background. The course they set for the hospital is immediately and directly impacted by the needs they identify in their own everyday lives, as well as the needs of their neighbors and the broader community of which they are a part.”