12 Feb About Us – History
The Twig is The Junior Auxiliary of Inova Alexandria Hospital–an organization of women dedicated to providing financial aid, volunteer service, and support to Alexandria Hospital – itself, originally established by volunteers.
For the City of Alexandria’s first hundred years, physicians cared for patients at home or in their offices. After the Civil War, however, when an outbreak of typhoid fever occurred on board a ship in the harbor, several sailors were brought to the home of a local doctor. Answering a plea for assistance, Miss Julia Johns, daughter of the Episcopal Bishop of Alexandria, called together a group of concerned women to “form a society to establish and control a hospital for the sick.”
After this small group of “charitably disposed friends” met in 1872, the Alexandria Infirmary opened its doors in a converted house on the southwest corner of Duke and Fairfax Streets. Miss Johns and the Board of Lady Managers continued to oversee the operation of the hospital, establishing a Nurses Training School, dispensary, surgery, and horse-drawn ambulance service. These first “volunteers” set the precedent for Alexandrians to rise to the responsibility of supporting and operating a community hospital.
In 1933, a group of twenty-four young women gathered at the home of Mrs. Julian T. Burke to form the Junior Auxiliary of the Alexandria Hospital. They took the name “The Twig” from a contest entry by Mrs. Nellie Sommers Blackwell; this described the new organization as a small branch of the “tree” which supported the hospital.
Alexandria Hospital joined the Inova Health Group in 1997, intent to maintain a community-based, non-profit health service.
The Twig and Inova Alexandria Hospital both have grown along with the city of Alexandria. Throughout the years, the Twig has remained true to the goals of its charter members by helping the hospital provide the highest quality medical service. Today’s members carry on that tradition of community support, having raised more than $4.5 million for hospital programs and equipment.
You can read more about The Twig’s current and past pledges under the “Inova Alexandria Hospital” tab on our home page.
The Twig is a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) organization. For additional information on our financial status, email Treasurer@thetwig.org.