The Heritage Center > About > The Ralph S. Sando, M.D. Room

The Ralph S. Sando, M.D. Room

The north room within The Sir John Templeton Heritage Center is a beautifully designed reading room known as The Ralph S. Sando, M.D. Room. This room was named by League member Joyce Sando in memory of her husband, Dr. Ralph S. Sando. The Foundations use this space for educational programs, meetings and many other events.

This unique space is available to rent for private gatherings for League members, their guests and other friends of the Foundations. It is the perfect setting for intimate dinners, cocktail receptions, board meetings and other events. For more information, please contact the Foundations at 215.587.5596 or


ralph _sandomd_mdAbout Ralph S. Sando

Born in Boulder, Colorado, Ralph moved to Merion, Pennsylvania, with his family when he was 12 years old. He graduated first in his class from Msgr. Bonner High School in 1965. He graduated from Yale in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and went on to medical school at Temple University. Dr. Sando completed a residency in ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital. Upon completion of his training, he immediately joined the staff at Wills and also at Bryn Mawr Hospital, where he eventually became Chief of Ophthalmology. Dr. Sando enjoyed an illustrious professional career as a leader in cataract and glaucoma surgery. He delighted in his membership at the Union League, where he belonged to many club tables: Colonel, Benson, Graduate and Lincoln. Dr. Sando was a Union League member since 1986 and became a life member in 1993. He passed in 2007, after a valiant fight against cancer.


Furniture & Art

The Ralph S. Sando, M.D. Room was designed to suggest the interior design of the late 19th century. The wallpaper pattern was derived from wallpaper in Queen Victoria’s Throne Room in St. James’s Palace. The carpet is a 1910 Persian Sarouk from the Dixon estate, Erdenheim Farm; it is a gift from Edith Dixon, wife of longtime Union League member, Fitz Eugene Dixon, whose grandfather was George D. Widener. The rug inspired the color choices for most of the Heritage Center. The Dixon gift also included the carpet in the Heuer Room. The Sando Room’s windows allow natural light into the space for the first time since 1911, when the windows were covered in a major renovation of the ground floor. The leaded glass has been restored for the first time since it was installed in the late 19th century. The design of the octagonal space from which one enters into the Heritage Center also dates from 1911.

The soffits—the decorative element at the ceiling in this room and the Heuer Room—were inspired by photographs of the space in the Chronicle of the Union League of Philadelphia, a history published in 1902; the same decorative element can be seen in 1887 views by the Philadelphia photographic firm Gilbert and Bacon. The art on display in the Sando Room is some of the finest in the Union League’s collection, including works by Peter Frederick Rothermel, Edwin Lord Weeks and William Miller.

Explore The Heritage Center


Sir John Templeton

Dr. Russell P. Heuer Room

Ralph S. Sando, M.D. Room

The Foundations



The Ralph S. Sando, M.D. Room custom-made mahogany bookcases house part of the Union League’s Civil War library. Bronze portraits of Civil War leaders are displayed on top of the bookcases.

The tall case clock is mahogany and is emblazoned with the League’s insignia inlaid in brass. The same motif appears in other spaces in the Union League, such as the iron railing of the marble staircase in the 15 Street Building. The clockworks are attributed to G.W. Russell of Philadelphia.