Late Advertising Executive Frankie Cadwell Bequeaths $9 Million to Hospital for Special Surgery

Bequest to benefit research for rheumatoid arthritis

New York, NY—March 2, 2005

The advertising community lost an integral member when Franchellie "Frankie" Cadwell passed away in May 2003. Yet almost two years later her legacy lives on at the hospital that treated her and her mother before her for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) – New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). Cadwell bequeathed the hospital $9 million, the largest bequest in the hospital’s history, to fund research in rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. At a ceremony today HSS celebrated Cadwell’s life and legacy and announced the allocation of the bequest.

The bequest will be allotted as follows:

* $1.35 million – formation of the Margaret R. Cadwell Endowment for Musculoskeletal Research, in honor of Cadwell’s mother, to advance rheumatology research through initiatives between HSS and Weill Medical College of Cornell University.

* $1.8 million – The Franchellie M. Cadwell Laboratory. The hospital’s fourth-floor laboratories within the Caspary Research Building will be named for Cadwell and to provide resources for all research needs.

* $5.85 million – creation of the Franchellie M. Cadwell Fund for Faculty Recruitment and Retention, including the establishment of various named positions including:

-Franchellie M. Cadwell Chair ($2 million) – to be held by Sergio Schwartzman, MD, one of Cadwell’s doctors, to further research in autoimmune ophthalmic illnesses.

-The Charles Christian Research Fellowship ($1 million) – to further arthritis research was presented to Ioannis Tassiulas, MD.

-Collette Kean Research Chair ($2 million) for research by a senior scientist; Jane E. Salmon, MD was named to this chair for her continued research in autoimmune diseases at HSS.

-The remaining amount will be used to support the recruitment and retention of faculty pursuing research related to the cause, prevention, and cure of arthritis.

Cadwell was an advertising pioneer. As one of the first women to own a national advertising agency, Cadwell helped to transform the image of women in advertisements no matter what products they were promoting – whether cosmetics or imitation fur or even toothbrushes – from unflattering depictions as merely mannequin or sex symbols to images of intelligent decision-makers faced with balancing the competing demands of family, work and personal issues. Cadwell, herself, epitomized the women in her advertisements: she balanced a successful, yet demanding, career while battling a debilitating disease for almost 40 years.

Cadwell was diagnosed with RA a decade after her mother received the same diagnosis. Soon after that, she became a patient, and eventually a close friend, of Charles L. Christian, MD, HSS Physician-in-Chief Emeritus. "I am indebted to Frankie for her friendship. I will remember forever her optimism, energy, determination, loyalty and, not least of these, courage," said Dr. Christian.

A constant picture of strength, Cadwell refused to let her RA define her. Even as she battled the disease, she was still able to ride her bike from her home on East 94th Street to Tribeca, where her advertising agency was located. This woman who was an icon of the advertising world, a major player on Madison Avenue, had also become something of role model to a much different crowd – her physicians.

"She was an incredibly independent person. And, despite a very crippling disease, she led as normal a life that could be led, successful in business and generous with her time and talent," Sergio Schwartzman, MD, her rheumatologist, said.

She formed Cadwell Davis, a boutique subsidiary of Compton Advertising, alongside Hal Davis as creative director in the early 1960’s. Despite many changes – Saatchi & Saatchi’s acquisition of the agency in 1982 and Herman Davis’ reacquisition of the agency and formation of Cadwell Davis Partners in 1994 – Cadwell remained a central player. She worked until the agency closed – more than a year after she became sick.

"Frankie had this aura of strength about her. No matter what she was going through, she never let on that she was struggling. She was an inspiration to all of us," recalled Dr. Christian. That inspiration will continue through her bequest as the money she bequeathed will be used to further crucial medical research.

About Hospital for Special Surgery
Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is the world’s leading academic medical center focused on musculoskeletal health. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics and No. 2 in rheumatology by U.S. News & World Report (2016-2017), and is the first hospital in New York State to receive Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center four consecutive times. HSS has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. HSS is an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College and as such all Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are faculty of Weill Cornell. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at


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