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Cincinnati Children's Archives

Hospital Beginnings

Early in 1883, Mrs. Robert (Nellie Phillips) Dayton saw the abysmal ways that children were treated in Cincinnati’s old city hospital, a place where they were exposed to a multitude of diseases and subject to being exploited by older patients. Dayton went to her friend, Isabelle Hopkins, to ask her help in starting a hospital specifically for children. As devout Episcopalians, they sought advice from Bishop Thomas A. Jaggar, who recommended that they solicit help from their friends in the diocese and come back to him with a plan.

By June, a group of civic-minded women representing parishes of the Episcopal Church in southwest Ohio met to discuss establishing a Diocesan Hospital for Children. Five months later, Bishop Jaggar and attorney Alexander McGuffey drew up incorporation papers. The Articles of Incorporation for The Hospital of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Diocese of Southern Ohio were signed and filed with Ohio’s Secretary of State on November 14, 1883.

From this modest beginning, Cincinnati Children’s has grown to become a national and international leader in pediatric healthcare services, research and innovation, education, and quality improvement. The journey wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of visionary leaders, talented staff, generous donors, and a supportive community.

The Archives Program at Cincinnati Children’s was established to preserve and document the history of the people and events that made the medical center what it is today. This website provides an overview and introduces users and researchers to some of the archive’s holdings.