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Community Spotlight: Manatee County Historical Records Library receives donation of papers on


Dr. Richard Conard and Cathy Slusser review some of the

files donated to the Manatee County Historical

BRADENTON – Dr. Richard Conard who along with Doctors E.P. Dickerson, Roger Meyer, Kenneth Schermer, Thomas Sprenger, and Harold Sutton and twenty four other community doctors as investors founded Blake Hospital in the early 1970s recently donated his collection of papers 

that tell the story of the hospital’s beginnings. 

Dr. Conard was responsible for the financing and construction of the hospital on almost 200 acres of vacant land in west Bradenton. The hospital, which opened on November 22, 1973, was a community hospital when it was founded. Dr. Conard described it as a “family affair” where everyone knew each other’s names and care was taken not only to make patients’ well being a priority, but that of employees as well. The papers describe the challenges of building a hospital from the ground up, construction and financing as well as hiring of employees and marketing. 

Dr. Conard fondly refers to the collection as “The Making of a Hospital.” Cathy Slusser, Director of Historical Resources, stated, “I am excited about the research possibility that these papers offer. Someday, a graduate student in history will discover the wealth of information in these files. There is enough here for an interesting paper on the formation of the hospital or the history of healthcare.” 

The papers are now housed at the Manatee County Historical Records Library, 1405 4th Avenue West, Bradenton, Florida, 34205. The library is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. For more information, call, (941) 741-4070 or email cathy.slusser@manateeclerk.com.


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