LaBudde | Children's Mercy Hospital Collection



Related Collections By Name

- Dr. Milton C. Lewis

Related Collections By Topic

- Kansas City
- Science & Medicine
- Women & Gender


Related External Resources

- CMH's Official Website

Scope and Content of Collection

LaBudde Special Collections became the repository for the Children’s Mercy Hospital Collection in spring 2015. The large assemblage of material is contained in 66 manuscript boxes and 24 photograph boxes. There is much background material, such as personal narratives and booklets, as well as biographical sketches of Dr. Katherine Berry Richardson and Dr. Alice Berry Graham, sisters and co-founders of the hospital. Another person of interest would be Elizabeth Martin, R.N., who came to Children’s Mercy in 1936 as Hospital Administrator and remained until 1955. In 1937 she adopted a three year old boy, Grover, who was then a patient at Children’s Mercy, making her the first single woman in Missouri to adopt a child. Series VIII has been dedicated to her memory.

The breadth of the collection is most extensive and encompasses all aspects required to develop and maintain such an institution: correspondence, board of directors’ activities, finances, reports, the former School of Nursing, pediatric residents, research and development, social services, ephemera, memorabilia, etc. In fact, the nucleus of Children’s Mercy Hospital was evolved through the hearts and souls of the doctors, nurses, staff, volunteers and board members. With the generosity of numerous donors they gather together in every sense a true family, demonstrating endless compassion for the young patients and their families throughout the years.

It started in 1897 Kansas City when physicians Richardson and Graham began with only one patient and one bed. The trials and tribulations that follow are recounted throughout this collection. What at one time seemed almost daunting was indeed attainable. A plethora of photographs with young patients of all ages and some of their families are both compelling and inspirational. For researchers in a number of fields of study, there are many stories to be told here, from many angles.


Collection Restriction
Medical records in this collection are governed by federal law, including HIPAA. Please be aware that access and use of this material may be restricted by Special Collections staff.

Historical Sketch

The founding of Children's Mercy Kansas City is traced to 1897 and two sisters, Dr. Alice Berry Graham, a dentist, and Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson, a physician.

As the story goes, a saloonkeeper in the Kansas City Stockyards had heard of the sisters' reputation for helping poor, sick children; and he told Dr. Graham of a woman he had seen in the streets trying to give away her crippled 5-year-old daughter.

Drs. Graham and Richardson found the girl abandoned, undernourished and poorly clothed. They arranged a bed for her at a small hospital on 15th and Cleveland in downtown Kansas City on June 24, 1897. The doctors established the Free Bed Fund Association and through painstaking care, they restored life to the orphaned child's crippled legs. With surgery and therapy, she walked again.

Their act of compassion and medical expertise was the beginning of what has become one of the leading children's hospitals in the world: Children's Mercy Kansas City.

Today, Children's Mercy includes two hospitals: a state-of-the-art hospital located at 2401 Gillham Rd. in Kansas City, Missouri, licensed for 301 beds, and 14 short-stay beds; and Children's Mercy Hospital Kansas, a 53-bed hospital in suburban Overland Park, Kansas. In addition, there are bustling outpatient clinics and urgent care centers throughout the metropolitan areas and many other communities in Missouri and Kansas.

Source: Children’s Mercy Hospital’s website


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