The Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary is a volunteer organization that supports, enhances and promotes the work of Princeton University Health Services in providing caring and high quality services for our students.
Our contributions include:
- Increasing awareness of health services available on campus
- Maintaining a Parent's Suite at McCosh Health Center
- Managing funds from donations and Auxiliary endowments for health related expenses
- Fundraising to support UHS
- Volunteering as non-clinical support with administrative projects and at events (e.g., vaccine clinics, pre-participation physical exams for varsity student-athletes)
Learn about the recent UHS projects we have funded in our 2021 Annual Report (PDF).
The Ladies Auxiliary, as it was then known, was founded in 1902 as a group of 15 women charged with furnishing designated rooms for women in the gymnasium. In response to the need for better facilities, the Auxiliary quickly expanded its membership from 15 to 100 and committed funds to the Infirmary.
In 1904 the Auxiliary amended its name to the Ladies Auxiliary of the Isabella McCosh Infirmary in honor of Isabella Guthrie McCosh, the unofficial Director of Campus Health Services and wife of President James McCosh.
By 1910 it had funded additional nursing and maintenance personnel, new patient rooms, solaria, and bedrooms for nurses and housekeepers. Additionally, the Auxiliary created an emergency fund for students in need, a general fund, and a fund for the salary of the Infirmary's first Medical Director.
In 1919, the Auxiliary hired an architect to produce designs and cost estimates for a new Infirmary building. The women of the Auxiliary raised over $340,000 to finance the present Infirmary, completed in 1925. Of 1500 donors to the building fund, over 1300 were women. Although women were not admitted as students to the University until 1969, they nonetheless played an extremely influential role in its affairs and the welfare of its students for decades prior to that decisive time in Princeton's history.
Although their regular contributions continued to be a source of support for the Infirmary and the students at Princeton University, their extraordinary influence was not only financial. The caring and devoted members of Auxiliary also provided personal care and attention to students during epidemics and to the military troops residing at the infirmary during wartime.
The Auxiliary's commitment to the Infirmary proved essential to the development of the modern-day University Health Services. Throughout the years, the Auxiliary has responded to UHS's many new and challenging needs. Special endowments and funds were developed to support operating costs, laboratory expenses, repairs and improvements, students with financial need, and unanticipated requirements of the Infirmary. Their presence is marked permanently in many rooms, including the Janet Frantz Cottier Parents’ Suite, the Margaret S. Goheen Medical Library dedicated in 1989 and the Janet C. Morgan Health and Wellness Library dedicated in 2004.
In keeping with the times, the organization changed its name in 2001 to The Auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary. After being known as the Ladies Auxiliary for 100 years, the group wished to make the group more inclusive and encourage a broader membership.
The Josephine Perry Morgan Bench
This picture shows Josephine Perry Morgan, first president of the Women’s Auxiliary from 1902-1915, with her daughter Sarah Gardner and granddaughter Sally Tiers on the garden bench. The bench was donated by longtime Auxiliary board member Sally Tiers in memory of her grandmother. It is now located on the second floor of McCosh Health Center.
The McCosh Rose
Early in the 20th century, a fresh rose was placed each week in front of the portrait of Isabella McCosh to honor her memory. To continue this tradition, Mrs. Laughlin, an accomplished artist and longstanding Auxiliary board member, created a painting of a rose that now hangs in McCosh Health Center.
Learn more about the history of the Auxiliary and UHS in The Heritage of Isabella McCosh – A History of the Health Services at Princeton University by William K. Selden.