Fonds WCH-MAD - Dorothy Macham fonds

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Dorothy Macham fonds

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  • 1946-1975 (Creation)
    Macham, Dorothy Ann, 1910-2002

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2 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Dorothy Macham was born in New Lowell, Ontario on July 19, 1910. After graduating from the Women's College Hospital School of Nursing in 1932, she completed postgraduate courses in Psychiatric Nursing and Unit Administration at Ontario Hospital in Whitby, Ontario. She then remained on staff at Ontario Hospital for a year and a half. In 1936, she returned to Women's College Hospital, where she was appointed Operating Room Supervisor.

On September 10, 1939, Dorothy Macham enlisted in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, with the rank of Lieutenant (Nursing Sister). She was assigned to the No. 15 Canadian General Hospital unit housed in the Toronto Military Hospital, located in the old Grace Hospital building on College Street. In 1940, the No. 15 Canadian General Hospital was deployed overseas to a medical unit in England, where Dorothy Macham was assigned to the operating room. In 1941, she was transferred to a plastic surgery unit and promoted to Nursing Sister-in-Charge.

In 1943, Dorothy Macham was promoted to Captain (Matron). She was transferred to the No. 5 Casualty Clearing Station and served with this unit in Italy. She returned to England in 1944, where she was posted to the No. 8 Canadian General Hospital. Dorothy Macham accompanied this unit to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. While in Antwerp, she was also promoted to the rank of Major (Principal Matron).

In 1945, she again returned to England and was posted to the No. 18 Canadian General Hospital. Following VE Day, Dorothy Macham was responsible for facilitating the closures of the No. 18 and No. 13 Canadian General Hospitals. During this time, she was also awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross by King George VI.

Dorothy Macham returned to Canada in October 1945 and received an honourable discharge from the military in November 1945.

In 1946, Dorothy Macham joined the staff of Women's College Hospital as Superintendent (title changed to Executive Director in 1970). She remained in this position for 29 years. Her leadership was in part responsible for transformation Women's College from a 150-bed to 450-bed hospital, the expansion of the building with the addition of two new wings and Burton Hall (the nurses' residence), and the transition to being a fully accredited teaching hospital affiliated with University of Toronto.

Dorothy Macham retired from Women's College Hospital in 1975. Not long into her retirement, she was approached by West Park Hospital and she served as their Executive Director from 1976-1979.

In addition to her military awards, Dorothy Macham was awarded a City of Toronto Merit Award in 1976 and she received the Order of Canada in 1980 in recognition of her distinguished military career and her dedication to the medical profession. In 2001, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre opened the Dorothy Macham House, an intensive care unit for veterans with severe behavioural complications related to dementia. Within the nursing community, Dorothy Macham remained an active member and past president of the Nursing Sisters Association of Canada.

Dorothy Macham died in her home on July 12, 2002, at the age of 91.

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Scope and content

The fonds contains two files related to the administrative work of Dorothy Macham as Executive Director at the Hospital. The files include the administrative journal of Dorothy Macham used during her time as Executive Director (Superintendent) of Women's College Hospital. The journal contains entries dated March 18, 1946 to September 8, 1975.

Additional files include 2 binders of work related to committees including the "New Building Committee," discussing the building of Burton Hall.

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