Fonds KGH 5999-1003 - R. Fraser Armstrong fonds

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R. Fraser Armstrong fonds

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CA ON00153 KGH 5999-1003

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • 1917-1986, predominant 1924-1957 (Creation)

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0.52 m of textual records and graphic material

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Biographical history

Roy Fraser Armstrong (1889-1996) was Superintendent of Kingston General Hospital from 1925 until 1958. Born on October 8, 1889, Armstrong grew up in St. Andrews, New Brunswick and attended the University of New Brunswick where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1910. Armstrong worked as a civil engineer in a variety of settings including the armed forces until 1923 when he embarked on a consulting career and was engaged by the Citizens Research Institute of Canada to work with hospitals and other industries. By 1924, when Kingston General Hospital Superintendent Frank Taylor resigned, Armstrong was Acting Superintendent of Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario. In 1924, beset with personnel and management problems, the Board of Governors of Kingston General Hospital sought the advice of an outside expert in hospital management, Dr. Horace Brittain. Brittain’s 1924 report recommended hiring an administrator rather than a medical man to bring much needed reorganization and the application of sound business methods to Hospital administration. Upon Brittain’s recommendation, R. Fraser Armstrong was interviewed for the position of Superintendent and was appointed in March, 1925. During Armstrong’s 33-year tenure as Superintendent, he brought high standards of efficiency and service to Kingston General Hospital, shepherding the Hospital through the Depression and Second World War. Prudently, Armstrong balanced hospital finances while introducing new services and expanding others. In response to a decrease in paying patient income between 1930 and 1934, Armstrong presented the Board of Governors with a Community Cooperative Group Hospital Plan to which community members could subscribe. The plan was successful in making income from patients the major source of revenue for the Hospital again. In 1942, to accommodate the Hospital’s increasing spatial needs, Armstrong introduced a Ten-Year Plan to expand KGH as a 600-bed hospital with adequate supporting services. His Ten-Year Plan included the new Victory Wing designed and built to include the first cancer clinic in Ontario, completed in 1947. Two construction projects outstanding from the Victory Progress Plan, a new Dietary Wing and the Walter T. Connell Wing, as well as a special children’s hospital would occupy Armstrong during the 1950s. Changes in funding for Ontario hospitals were imminent in the 1950s when the federal government introduced the possibility of nationwide hospital insurance. In 1956 at Kingston General Hospital, three key administrators, Armstrong among them, announced their wish to retire. However, Armstrong agreed to stay on as a consultant on the Connell Wing and to oversee the planning and contracting for the Dietary Wing to complete the building Plan. Donald M. MacIntyre was appointed his successor in 1958. Upon retirement, Armstrong was invited to join the KGH Board of Governors and, in 1970, was named a life governor. In 1976, a new outpatient building, the Fraser Armstrong Patient Centre, was named in his honour. Roy Fraser Armstrong died in 1986 at the age of 97.

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Administrative history

Kingston General Hospital has been designated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board to be of national historic significance as one of the longest continuously operating hospitals in Canada. The collection documents the transition of the hospital from a charitable institution to an active treatment hospital to a tertiary care institution in the Southeastern Ontario Health Sciences Centre. Kingston General Hospital is also historically significant for it's role as a temporary Parliament Building for the capital of the United Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada from 1841-1843.

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Scope and content

The R. Fraser Armstrong fonds is a record of the professional and personal activities of R. Fraser Armstrong both at Kingston General Hospital and elsewhere and includes: correspondence, minutes, reports, newspaper clippings, speeches and lectures, published articles, printed material and 2 black-and-white photographs. Fonds is comprised of the following series: 1: Superintendent - Kingston General Hospital, 1924-1986 2: Professional experience - Town Manager, New Brunswick, 1919-1923 3: Associations, 1920, 1932-1984 4: Speeches and lectures, 1931-1976 5: Consulting publications, 1923-24, 1958, 1965-1966 6: Personal material, 1917-1919, 1974

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Restrictions on access

Open to researchers subject to the requirements of Kingston General Hospital’s Administrative Health Research Policy and Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA).

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright provisions and access conditions may apply. Please contact a Hospital Archivist.

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