Nina Littlejohn was a hospital administrator raised in Cherokee County, South Carolina. She was the daughter of Emanuel and Alice Littlejohn who were landowning farmers.
Littlejohn moved to Spartanburg where she created the John-Nina Hospital in 1913. The hospital was the first medical facility established specifically for African American patients in Spartanburg, and the only one licensed in Spartanburg County. As a member of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Littlejohn had political influence regarding civic programs which were beneficial for the hospital’s improvement.
The hospital was a two-story building which was built next door to Littlejohn’s home. Between 1913 and 1932 the John-Nina Hospital provided medical services for the area’s black communities. Patients were housed in two wards, holding a total of twenty people, and eight rooms, with a maximum occupancy of sixteen. The facility also was designed with an operating room which was fitted with the most state-of-the-art surgical equipment and supplies available during that time. The patients were served nutritional meals prepared with home grown vegetables from the hospital’s garden.
Interested in better serving her patients, Littlejohn began taking business classes. classes at Claflin College in Orangeburg to improve her administration of the John-Nina Hospital. By 1932 Littlejohn’s hospital was absorbed by the Spartanburg General Hospital, which opened an annex for blacks. Although some denounced her support of this segregated wing, Littlejohn was not deterred and persisted in her work to improve community conditions.
The John-Nina Hospital building was purchased by Mr. M.S. Callaham in 1933. It was at this time, that Mr. Callaham founded his business. And it became the Callaham Funeral Home operated for the next 74 years; until August of 2007, when a fire destroyed the historic structure. Nina Littlejohn died on February 28, 1963.