NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 23, 2013

Born at Anna Jaques? This party's for you

With reunion, officials hope to get into Guinness Book of World Records

NEWBURYPORT — Anna Jaques Hospital officials are organizing what they hope turns out to be the “largest reunion east of the Mississippi of people born at the same hospital.”

Organizers at Anna Jaques Hospital are inviting “alums” to festivities on Monday, July 29, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

It will take place on the front lawn of the hospital, and birthday cake will be served. Pizza and beverages will be available.

Officials are hoping to beat the current Guinness World Record of 958 attendees appearing at the medical center of their birth.

“Last year’s (first) reunion garnered more than 100 attendees and positive feedback,” said Sarah Gnerre, executive director, Anna Jaques Community Health Foundation. “We’re eager to continue to grow our celebration of people born at Anna Jaques.”

Registration is encouraged, and early registrants will be entered in a drawing for a $500 engraved Anna Jaques Hospital brick to be placed at the hospital. The winner must be present.

During the reunion, the hospital will hold several fundraisers, including selling T-shirts and related memorabilia.

Such an effort to generate essential funds would be in keeping with the spirit of the founding of the institution, for the roots of the medical center tie directly to the generosity of its namesake.

Anna Jaques was a lifelong resident here who lived from 1800 to 1885. The story goes that in about 1882, “Miss Jaques was worrying over the disposal of part of her property, inherited from two brothers and a sister.”

Dr. Francis Howe, a local physician, heard of her concern and went to her residence. He evidently suggested that giving the money to develop a medical complex would be a sound idea.

News reports from that day reported, “A week later, Miss Jaques gave Dr. Howe a package of 22 $1,000 City of Boston bonds to establish the Jaques Hospital for the benefit of Newburyport, West Newbury, Newbury, Amesbury and Salisbury.” The total amount grew to $25,000, and a hospital was born.

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