Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Jacob Zuslofsky, who became Dr. James Z. Naurison, was an immigrant from Kyiv, Ukraine living much of his life in Longmeadow. He led an exemplary life providing medical care to his community and left a lasting legacy to promote future education of its residents. Dr. Naurison was a prominent Springfield physician who established the Cardiology Department at Mercy Medical Center. Born Jacob Zuslofsky in Kyiv, Ukraine in 1888, he emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts in 1891 along with his parents and two siblings. Two additional siblings were born after the move to Boston.
Naturalization Record for Dr. Naurison
Dr. Naurison graduated from Boston English High School and Tufts Medical School. College premedical education prior to WWI was uncommon. He trained in Internal Medicine in Boston. At some point, he changed his name to James Z. Naurison. He married Helen Granstein from Chicopee in 1908 and eventually opened his medical practice in Springfield in 1910. A home on Roseland Terrace in Longmeadow was built for Dr. Naurison and his wife in 1919 where they raised three sons.
Naurison home on Roseland Terrace
Dr. Naurison did postgraduate training in cardiology at Johns Hopkins University in 1924. He was Jewish and was quite active in the local Jewish community and the Temple Beth El congregation. At this time there was significant antisemitism and Jewish physicians were looked upon as second or third-rate professionals. Local hospitals systematically ostracized them and denied them privileges. Organized medicine ignored them and denied membership. Their patients were primarily the poor and first-generation immigrants. It was against this backdrop that ten Jewish physicians, including Dr. Naurison, organized the Maimonides Medical Club in 1924 named after the preeminent 12th-century Jewish Spanish physician, philosopher and religious scholar, Moses Maimonides. Their mission was to integrate Jewish physicians into the mainstream medical community in Springfield. This goal was eventually achieved and the medical club was active for 90 years, holding its last meeting in October 2014. By the early 1930s, the first Jewish Pediatrician (Dr. Jurist) became an active staff member at Springfield Hospital and a major operation was performed by a Jewish surgeon (Dr. Glickman) at the same institution.
Maimonides Medical Club meeting 1930. Dr. Naurison circled
He was an active Springfield area physician focusing on Cardiology for 60 years retiring in 1970. Dr. Naurison eventually served as the president of the Hampden County Medical Society.
Helen Naurison died at age 75 in 1961 and Dr. Naurison died at 84 years old on October 14, 1972. In his will, he established a $3,000,000 college scholarship fund to provide $150,000 annually to “worthy young men and women from Western Massachusetts, Enfield, and Suffield, Connecticut.” At the time this was the largest scholarship fund in the area’s history and is still in existence.
contributed by Lenny Shaker, Longmeadow Historical Society Board Member
Originally published June 23, 2022
Maimonides Medical Club records