Children's Medical Center Collection
(Source: "A History of Children's Medical Center," by Michael V. Hazel, 1984)
Children's Medical Center (CMC) has been serving the pediatric needs of Dallas since 1948. The philosophy and spirit of the best possible care for children was established much earlier by institutions that could be considered the grandparents of CMC. These were:
Bradford Memorial Hospital for Babies, also Called the Baby Camp, established in 1913;
Richmond Freeman Memorial Clinic, also known as Presbyterian Clinic, established in 1921
Children's Hospital of Texas, chartered in 1928 as Texas Children's Hospital, opened in 1940 and also known as Children's Hospital.
A fourth hospital, Ivor O'Connor Morgan Hospital for Tuberculosis Children established in 1949, is also part of the founding of Children's Medical Center. Through the combined efforts of these facilities and the pediatricians in Dallas, infant and child care has grown from tents and basements to a national institution for the special care of children.
The history of CMC is tied directly to the histories of the above institutions. The paths of each cross in philosophy, staff, civic leadership and volunteers. All of these "charities" were organized by caring individuals who believed in the notion that a city is only as healthy as its children.
BRADFORD MEMORIAL HOSPITAL FOR BABIES
The Bradford Memorial Hospital for Babies was initially set up in 1913 by May Forster Smith, along with several other nurses, in four tents on the grounds of Parkland Hospital, and become known as the Baby Camp.(Ch. 1. p. 2) Originally the camp was open only during the spring/summer months. By 1917 the camp was open all year with May Smith as "nurse in charge." (Ch. 1, p. 7) As in all charity organizations money was always a problem. In 1923 the camp became a Community Chest recipient (United Way). (Ch. 1, p. 8) In 1929 Tom L. Bradford, Sr. donated money for the establishment of a "real hospital." Thereby the Bradford Memorial Hospital for Babies was established at the corner of Maple Avenue and Turtle Creek Boulevard, January 1, 1930, in honor of Tom L. Bradford's wife and daughter accepting patients from birth to 5 years of age. (Ch. 1, p. 9-11)
RICHMOND FREEMAN MEMORIAL CLINIC
The Richmond Freeman Memorial Clinic was originally established as a children's charity clinic in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church, downtown Dallas, (Wood and Harwood Streets) in 1921. Its founders, Reverend William M. Anderson, Jr., pastor, and Dr. Jack Perkins, pediatrician, recognized a need for a free clinic for children. (Bradford Hospital was for babies only.) The original clinic was known as the Presbyterian Clinic and was supported by the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church.
As need increased the basement soon became too small. At the same time, Percy Richmond Freeman was looking for a memorial for his son. In 1922 Percy Richmond Freeman donated money for a new building under the conditions that the building be called Richmond Freeman Clinic, and it continue to be free of charge. (Ch. 2, p 4-6) In June 1923 other Presbyterian Congregations began to help support the clinic financially, spiritually, and with volunteers. The new building was completed in February 1924 and named the Richmond Freeman Clinic, but the Presbyterian Clinic remained the official name until 1932. (Ch 2, p. 16)
The daily administration of Freeman Clinic was in the hands of Dora Beggs Foster from 1928 until 1955. Her dedication brought a great deal of support to the clinic. It remained "self-supporting" by donations, which meant it was not part of the Community Chest. (Ch. 3, p. 11)
CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF TEXAS (Texas Children's Hospital)
Bradford and Freeman had a working relationship. The area doctors volunteered their time at both places. Babies needing hospitalization went to Bradford. Older children, however, had to go the adult hospitals. A need was recognized for a children's hospital that could cater to the special needs of patients from ages 2 to 15 years. The institution to fill this gap would be the Children's Hospital of Texas and later Children's Medical Center.
On November 5, 1925 a campaign for funding a hospital for children began. Land was available behind the Freeman Clinic. (Ch. 3, p. 3) Fund raising efforts were successful and the Texas Children's Hospital was incorporated October 1, 1928. A year later the stock market crash stopped the hospital for ten years. (Ch. 3, p. 5)
In 1937 the idea was revived, spirited by George B. Little. The land behind Freeman was still available. A 55 bed hospital was opened, October 1940. (Ch. 3, p. 7-8) A contract agreement between Freeman Clinic and the Children's Hospital to work together yet remain separate was signed. (Ch. 3, p. 7) Medical Staff could serve both facilities and a passageway was built between the two buildings. Bradford closed its outpatient clinic and Freeman took over all those types of services. The cooperation between these three facilities began the foundation for Children's Medical Center.
IVOR O'CONNOR MORGAN HOSPITAL FOR TUBERCULOSIS CHILDREN
A fourth unit in the CMC family tree, the Ivor O'Connor Morgan Hospital for Tuberculosis Children, developed from a one million dollar trust fund, set up by Mrs. Morgan. The money remained untouched for nearly ten years until a series of articles appeared in The Dallas Morning News concerning the trust. The conditions for the money were to establish a TB hospital for children and a stray cat-dog shelter. R.B. George and the board of the fledgling CMC negotiated for administration of the hospital. (Ch. 4, p. 11-12)
The TB hospital opened January 26, 1945 under the direction of Dr. John S. Chapman. The Site was temporary until a new building was completed adjacent to Children's Hospital in 1951. The institution was the first children's TB hospital in Texas. (Ch. 4, p. 13)
CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER (CMC)
All medical care facilities for children worked together. The physicians and other medical personnel volunteered time at Bradford, Freeman, Children's Hospital, Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children, and Hope Cottage (orphanage). The pediatricians were the first to conceptualize a Children's Medical Center. The Boards of the separate entities, however, were reluctant to give up their own identities. As the buildings for Bradford and Freeman aged and the physicians grew tired of spreading themselves between separate clinics, the movement toward unity moved ahead. A board was established in 1947 with representation from the separate institutions. Originally Hope Cottage joined, but later dropped out. Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children, due to national restrictions, could not take part. New bylaws were created. This was once again a co-operation not incorporation between the members; each institution still retained its own board. (Ch. 4, p. 6-9)
A gradual process of combining staff administrators was the next step towards total unification. By 1954 the medical staff had one chief of staff for all three institutions. Chief Administrator James J. Farnsworth was hired controlling other operations. In 1955 the guiding force behind the Freeman Clinic, Mrs. Foster, became the public relations director for CMC. Earlier the superintendents of Bradford, Maude DeWar, and of Children's Hospital, Ola McCleskey, had also joined the CMC administration staff. (Ch. 4, p. 9-11)
The final step towards unity and the creation of Children's Medical Center was a building. A new building campaign drive began in 1961. The Women's Auxiliaries merged in 1962 and aided the fund raising efforts. The groundbreaking ceremonies were held December 6, 1964 and the grand opening of new facilities under one roof was July 30, 1967. (Ch. 4, p. 17-24) The individual corporations still exist due to the legal limits under which each was created; however, CMC still stands united and remains dedicated to the special needs of children. (Preface, p. 1)
Just as CMC is a unification of separate institutions, this collection reflects through photographs, correspondence and scrapbooks, each facility as well as the final formation of CMC. Large portions of the collection are news releases, newsletters and other public relations materials from 1965 - 1967. Construction of the building on Amelia Street is well represented by photographs and scrapbooks. Other photographs include patients, volunteers, staff and equipment. A small sampling of correspondence from each clinic, personnel records, budgets, financial records, and annual reports are also available. The 22 scrapbooks trace the involvement of CMC and its components in the growth of Dallas and the growth of pediatric medicine. The collection as a whole illustrates both the medical and non-medical communities who developed from tents and basements a nationally renowned center for special medical needs of children.
MA86-19 Children's Medical Center Collection Texas/Dallas History & Archives Division, Dallas Public Library
Processed by Gayle Alston. Edited by Cindy C. Smolovik, Archivist
Detailed Description of the Collection