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Records of the Babies' Hospital of Philadelphia I

 Record Group
Identifier: MSS 6/006-01

Scope and Contents

The records of the Babies' Hospital of Philadelphia, spanning 1911 to 1960, consist of minutes and committee reports; correspondence of Philip Dechert, President of the Babies' Hospital; a history of the Babies' Hospital with a typescript staff manual; and printed annual reports. The collection documents the history of the hospital from its inception in 1911 to its dissolution in 1948, and provides detailed records of its finances, activities, and programs.

Series 1.1 contains an minute book, spanning 1912 to 1916, from the Ladies' Committee of the Babies' Hospital.

Series 1.2 consists primarily of minutes from the Board of Managers, spanning 1912 to 1950, and minutes of the Executive Committee, spanning 1912 to 1921. These minutes contain reports from various committees, including the Finance and Property Committee, the Social Service Committee, and the Publicity Committee. Also present are reports and minutes of the Comprehensive Plans Committee, which was responsible for selecting and purchasing a lot for the construction of the new Health Center Building.

In January 1918, a Special Re Organization and Scope Committee elected to change the by laws and re structure the organization. New committees were formed, including the Finance and Purchase Committee, the Entertainment and Publicity Committee, the Medical Administration Committee, the Property and Building Committee, and the Business Administration Committee. Series 1.2 includes both minutes and reports from these committees.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the minutes of the Board of Managers become more extensive and highly statistical. The minutes from each month contain an extensive financial report from the treasurer, the Report of the Superintendent, and Hospital and Dispensary Reports, which provide detailed statistics on the hospital and its programs. Also included in Series 1.2 are minutes and notes from 1944 that probably belonged to Philip Dechert; the minutes are marked with Dechert's holograph notes.

Series 1.3 contains minutes from annual meetings of the corporation, always held in May, and typescript copies of the annual reports for the years 1939 to 1948.

Series 2 contains the 1944-1945 correspondence of Philip Dechert, President of the Babies' Hospital of Philadelphia. Included are original incoming letters and typescript carbon copies of Dechert's outgoing letters. Dechert corresponded with officers of the Babies' Hospital, including Superintendent Emily P. H. Talbot; Vice President Howard A. Loeb; Secretary and Treasurer George E. Nehrbas; Chairman of the Medical Administration Committee, Norris W. Vaux; and Henderson Supplee, Jr. In addition to general topics concerning the Babies' Hospital, the correspondence includes materials relating to a study of public health nursing services rendered in Southern Philadelphia.

Series 3 contains published annual reports (1916, 1922, and 1925) of the Babies' Hospital. The reports contain numerous manuscript notes; it appears that these copies were marked in order to plan the annual report for the following year. Series 3 also includes a typescript history of the hospital with a staff manual, probably designed for visiting nurses.


  • 1911 - 1960


Biographical / Historical

In May 1911, the Committee on Child Hygiene and Public Policy of the Philadelphia Pediatric Society held a meeting to address its concerns about the high infant mortality rate in Philadelphia. The committee recommended the establishment of a hospital designed solely for the care of infants. Two months later, on 11 July 1911, the Babies' Hospital of Philadelphia was opened at the Country Branch of Children's Hospital in Wynnefield, Pennsylvania. The hospital was incorporated in November 1911, and Charles A. Fife was selected to serve as its first president. The following year, the hospital secured the use of the Presbyterian Hospital's convalescent home in Devon for recovered babies who required additional care.

In 1913, the Babies' Hospital opened a clinic, dispensary, and milk station on 729 Lombard Street in the city of Philadelphia. The clinic provided numerous services, including instruction courses for expectant mothers. A Visiting Nurse Department was established to send trained nurses into city homes to examine babies and demonstrate proper hygiene and feeding procedures to their mothers. The Lombard Street Dispensary was enormously successful; the following year, another dispensary was opened at 609 Addison Street. By 1918, this dispensary had moved to larger quarters on Ninth and Pine Streets.

In 1915, a permanent home for the country hospital was established in Llanerch, Pennsylvania. 1920 marked the opening of the Ethel Burnham Worcester Memorial Cottage, a "seashore branch" of the hospital located in Beach Haven, New Jersey. Despite this expansion of hospital facilities, the main concern of the Babies' Hospital was its social services, which emphasized preventive medicine, good nutrition and hygiene, and the proper care of babies in the home.

The progressive programs of the Babies' Hospital continued to expand. To house its growing facilities, the hospital built a six story Health Center Building at 7th and Delancey Streets, which was dedicated in May 1921. The new health center contained a dispensary, health and developmental clinics, prenatal clinics, a dental clinic, and rooms for demonstrations and class instruction. In 1948, the funds and resources of Babies' Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Child Health Society were merged into the Fife Hamill Memorial Health Center for Southeast Philadelphia. The new organization was housed in the Health Center Building formerly occupied by the Babies' Hospital. When the Fife Hamill Memorial Health Center closed in 1960, the Corporation of Babies' Hospital was merged with St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.


3 Linear feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The records of the Babies' Hospital of Philadelphia were donated to the Historical Collections of the Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia on 8 March 1984 by United Hospitals, Inc., through John Butterworth, Chairman of the Board.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1992.
Records of the Babies' Hospital of Philadelphia I
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States