These Shoes Were Made for Surgery

Balkin ShoesDr. Samuel Balkin was known in the medical field for being a foremost plastic surgeon in the Upper Midwest and was Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital. But around the hospital, Dr. Balkin was known for his tattered white shoes. The cracked and torn oxfords with their frayed shoestrings were somewhat legendary since the doctor never performed surgery without them. After 25 years of wearing the same shoes, some nurses removed them from his locker, mounted them for display and presented them to him as a gift.

Dr. Balkin suffered a stroke in 1971 and passed away in 1973. After his death, the Metropolitan Medical Center and his family created the Balkin Memorial Library on the rehab floor for the families of stroke patients to have a place to read information and wait to for their loved ones.

See the shoes and other interesting items that tell a story.

"Dr. Balkin was a self-made man who is remembered by his family, friends and community as very intelligent, kind and generous." – Roberta Balkin Preston, daughter


Our permanent collections are operated by the Hennepin Health Foundation.

The collections are located in the lower level of the HCMC Blue Building – 915 S 8th St, Minneapolis, MN. MAP

Both collections are open:
Tuesdays and Thursdays
10am - 2pm and by appointment

The MMC Collection:
Is located in BL.227.

The HCMC Collection:
Is located in BL.226.


The Hennepin Medical History Center, a program of Hennepin Health Foundation (a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization), operates through the generosity of private donors.

Every gift matters. Please consider supporting our mission and activities today by clicking on the link below and choosing the History Center when filling out the Donor Designations Field.

Give to the History Center

If you experience difficulties donating online, please contact our office at 612.873.6090.

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