About The Vincent Club
A long and storied history and an enduring commitment to women’s health connects The Vincent Club and the Vincent Memorial Hospital, now the Vincent Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
This relationship began with Mrs. Mary Ann Vincent, whose charity work and high profile in the theatre community made her a beloved member of the Boston neighborhood. After her death in 1887, friends endowed the Vincent Memorial Hospital in her name.
In 1892, a group of imaginative and adventurous girls at Mrs. Shaw’s School for Girls in Boston founded The Vincent Club with the mission to raise money for the Vincent Memorial Hospital. That year, they decided to stage a theatrical performance to raise money for the fledgling hospital and, at the same time, pay tribute to its actress namesake. The first Vincent Show was a series of “tableaux vivants,” which involved women standing in poses illustrating a scene or event. That first production in 1892 marked the beginning of a long tradition at The Vincent Club. The Vincent Show ran annually for the next 110 years, raising millions of dollars for the Vincent Memorial Hospital. The tradition of the Vincent Drill began in 1896 with sixteen marching women performing precise and intricate patterns during the Vincent Show.
While the Club was growing, so was the hospital. In 1940, the Vincent Memorial Hospital accepted an invitation to become the gynecological unit of Massachusetts General Hospital while retaining its name, staff and board of directors. The move enabled Vincent researchers to accelerate their efforts. Some important early milestones include pioneering the routine use of the Pap smear, the use of testicular biopsy to study male infertility, the identification of a relationship between polycystic ovaries and infertility, the establishment of a program to measure hormone receptors in breast cancer tissue, and the discovery of a link between gynecologic cancer in adolescent girls to their mother’s use of DES during pregnancy.
Since 1988, under the leadership of Isaac Schiff, MD, the Vincent has continued to expand its clinical services and to break new ground in the field of women’s health. This has been accomplished through many exciting initiatives, including: the establishment of the In Vitro Fertilization Unit, which boasts one of the highest success rates in the country; through the addition of the Vincent Obstetrics Program; through specialized care for women with urinary incontinence and related concerns at the Vincent Center for Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery; and through the groundbreaking biomedical research into women’s reproductive health conducted at the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology, which was established with seed money from The Vincent Club.
The Vincent Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology is consistently ranked among the top one percent in the country by U.S. News and World Report in its annual ranking of best hospitals. The future of women’s health continues to be transformed as Vincent clinicians and researchers examine the diseases and disorders that affect women with an unwavering commitment to delivering one standard of care for all women, regardless of their financial situation.
As The Vincent Club moved into the twenty-first century, it became evident that the Club could perform better in its mission to raise money in support of the Hospital. After 110 years of producing the Vincent Show, the Club has now dedicated itself to fundraising in new ways including an Annual Spring Event, and our annual women’s health Symposium.
The Vincent Club continues to affirm the commitment and vision of those senior girls at Mrs. Shaw’s School for Girls who began the journey of advancing women’s health all those years ago. Our efforts remain focused to this day. It continues to be our honor and privilege to support the hospital and the field of women’s health worldwide.