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New Hanover Regional Hospital Documents

Identifier: SC-MS-233

Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents relating to the merging of James Walker Memorial Hospital and Community Hospital, into the newly constructed New Hanover Memorial Hospital. The files include architect plans, Area Health Education Center foundational agreements, Board of Trustees meeting minutes, committee records, correspondence, equipment inventories, financial statements, Health Sciences Foundation records, merger agreements, North Carolina Medical Care Commission records, newspaper articles, nursing education information, personnel policies, retirement plans, staff and intern housing, and UNCW Nursing program agreements.


  • Creation: 1957-1978

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Copyright Statement

Copyright retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Biographical Note

Seymour Alper was born in Long Island City, NY in 1915. One of six children, he was the first of his family to attend college, graduating from New York University in 1937, then obtained a teaching certificate from Columbia University one year later. After Pearl Harbor, Alper volunteered for the Army Air Force in the South Pacific Theater for three years, reaching the rank of Captain, after flying 58 missions, he returned to the US to serve as an intelligence officer debriefing returning pilots.

In 1945, Seymour married Mildred Smith, the couple had three children and remained married for 67 years. Alper and his brother George operated a scrap metal and steel company in Long Island until they decided to move their families south. The two families moved to Wilmington, NC in 1957 and purchased a small scrapyard, which became Southern Iron and Metal, the following year they reopened their steel company named Queensboro Steel.

Seymour's wife, Mildred, worked as a "Pink Lady" at James Walker Memorial Hospital, and relayed to Seymour the subpar conditions the patients and staff withstood, and expressed the need for a new facility. After the Coast Line Railroad relocated away from Wilmington, the Committee of 100 was formed to attract new business and industry to the Wilmington area. Without a modern hospital, industrial and population expansion was unlikely, thus the Committee For a New Hospital was formed with Seymour Alper as the chairman.

In 1960 a bond issue to raise money to build the new hospital was brought to voters. Seymour advocated for its passage, assuaging white voters' fear of new taxes, and black voters' skepticism that they would be granted equal access in the new facility. The bond issue passed and Seymour was appointed Chairman of the Building Committee and was charged with the planning and construction of the new hospital, and the administrative merger of the two existing hospitals, James Walker Memorial and Community Hospital, the African American facility.

The new hospital was completed in 1967, with one major issue. The voters had passed a bond covering the construction, but not the administration of the facility. Seymour obtained a grant from the Duke Endowment to provide funds for the operation of the hospital. Alper served on the Board of Trustees of the New Hanover Memorial Hospital from 1961 to 1978, and was its first Chairman, he also served as Chairman of the Area Health Education Center.

While the new hospital was one of Alper's crowning achievements, it was not his only community project. He served on the Boards of St. John’s Museum, the Arts Council of the Lower Cape Fear, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, the Governor's Council for the Arts and Humanities, and the Association of Steel Distributors. He served as Chairman of the New Hanover Industrial Bond Authority, whose purpose was to attract and grow industry in the area. He chaired the committee that planned Wilmington's celebration of our Country's Bicentennial celebration in 1976. He served as Chairman of the Wilmington Concert Association. His experiences in World War II caused him to be involved in the United Jewish Appeal, and he served as the North Carolina Chairman in 1964. He, along with other local businessmen, helped establish the Cape Fear Community Foundation. He served as President of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation, and on the New Hanover Arts Foundation, and the Friends of Public Radio boards. He served as a Member of the Board of Trustees and as President of B'nai Israel Synagogue, President of Marcus W. Jacobi Lodge of B'nai B'rith, a Jewish charitable and fraternal organization. In 1967 he was honored by the Civitan Club as its Citizen of the Year for his work with the new hospital, and in 1968 the Wilmington Star News named him Citizen of the Year, then later awarding him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in the Wilmington community.


18 Containers (Contains 15 document boxes, 1 oversize folder, and 2 map case folders)

Language of Materials



The Committee For A New Hospital, headed by Seymour Alper, sought to plan and construct a modern hospital and to convince voters to approve the necessary bond issue through public campaigning.  After approval of the funds in November of 1961, the Committee began the process of site selection, architect selection, and obtaining approval of the blueprints. Materials in the collection include financial statements, committee records, personnel policies, and additional information pertaining to the funding, construction, and administration of the new hospital. This collection contains 15 manuscript boxes and 3 oversize folders.


The files are arranged chronologically, beginning with the James Walker and Community Hospital records. The 15 boxes contain information and plans for facility construction and management, as well as administrative documents for the day to day functions of the hospital. The end of the collection contains long-range plans and foundation documents for the Area Health Education Center. There are also three oversize folder containing blueprints, newspaper articles, and additional financial documents.

Acquisition Information

The collection was donated by Seymour Alper in April 2003.

New Hanover Regional Hospital Documents
Special Collections Staff
2003 May
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Randall Library Special Collections Repository