Heritage Hero: Herb Bercovitz
When Herb Bercovitz started working at the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) as director of Hospital Services, he had no idea what treasures lay hidden within its walls.
“It was 1988, the year before I retired. I was waiting for the elevator when a colleague told me she had come across some valuable objects,” recalls Bercovitz. “She wasn’t sure what to do with them and neither was I, so I told her to bring them to my office.”
This soon became Bercovitz’s line. “People just kept coming to talk to me about the things they found. I didn’t know what to do with everything, so I started cataloguing it. By the time I retired, my office was full.”
He mentions having found the first MGH admitting book dating back to 1822, an old pulmonary function device, a plethora of old photographs and more. “As I began to collect things, I started interviewing people. I met with physicians, administrators, even a woman who used to be a waitress at the hospital when it was on Dorchester!”
“All these objects represent the beginnings of the hospital,” says Bercovitz, who was so devoted to his task that when he retired he continued as the keeper of historical MGH art and artefacts as a volunteer. “We have such a rich history―we have to make sure to protect and share it.”
To learn more about Herb Bercovitz and the artefacts he’s found over the years: ow.ly/kKaO3