St. Louis Children's Hospital Records

Photo of Homer G. Phillips Hospital staff, November 20-21, 1957.


Reference code


Level of description



St. Louis Children's Hospital Records


  • 1879-2011 (Creation)


85.75 Linear Feet

Name of creator


Administrative history

St. Louis Children's Hospital was founded in 1879 and is the oldest pediatric hospital west of the Mississippi River and the 7th oldest in the United States. St. Louis Children's Hospital (SLCH) opened in 1879 at 2834 Franklin Avenue, in a small building which could admit just 15 patients. Created through the efforts of a group of St. Louis women and homeopathic doctors, SLCH was one of the first hospitals dedicated to the care of children in the United States. Within five years of opening, a new, larger hospital building was constructed at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Adams Street in 1884. The hospital's growth continued as it affiliated with another children's hospital, the Martha Parsons Free Hospital for Children (previously the Augusta Free Hospital for Children), in 1910.

A large gift to fund a new hospital building and an affiliation agreement with Washington University prompted the hospital to move again in 1915. This new building was located at 500 South Kingshighway Boulevard near the new Barnes Hospital and the Washington University School of Medicine campus. SLCH would move once again just one block north to a new building at 400 South Kingshighway Boulevard in 1984. Throughout its years of operation, SLCH has shared staff, building space, and in other ways partnered with other local institutions including Barnes Hospital, Jewish Hospital, and St. Louis Maternity Hospital. In 1994, SLCH signed a merger agreement with BJC Health System.

Over the course of its history, SLCH has continually grown, offering new services and admitting more patients. From the two initial patients which the hospital admitted in 1879, total patient admissions at the main hospital building grew to 76 admissions in 1885; 1,800 admissions in 1915; 3,987 admissions in 1942; 7,360 admissions in 1977; and 15,500 admissions in 2009. The $551.34 of cash on hand which the hospital reported in 1879 had grown to net revenue of $4,556,000 in 1983, just before the hospital moved to its new 400 South Kingshighway building.

St. Louis Children's Hospital has achieved worldwide, national, and regional medical innovations and firsts, and provides national and regional leadership in multiple medical specialties. Among these achievements is the first treatment of a diabetic child using insulin in the United States in 1922. SLCH is consistently ranked among the best pediatric hospitals in the United States by U.S. News and World Report.

Scope and content

This collection includes items related to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, one of the first children’s hospitals in the country. The history of the hospital, beginning with its opening in 1879, is documented in a variety of material formats.

The collection includes hospital publications; photographs in various forms; tapes and film reels; scrapbooks; newspaper and magazine clippings; artifacts and printing blocks; administrative records; hospital contracts and legal materials; financial records; press releases and media queries; and hospital histories and chronologies. Also included are some departmental records, as well as records of institutions and organizations associated with the hospital.

Of note is the collection of hospital publications ( series 1), which includes serial publications and annual reports of the hospital, and photographs ( _series 2)of various hospital events, employees, patients, and building areas. Also included are records (series 11)_of the Martha Parsons Free Hospital for Children (previously the Augusta Free Hospital for Children), which merged with St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 1910. Of further note are early financial records of St. Louis Children’s Hospital (s _eries 9),_as well as early Board of Managers meeting minutes ( _series 12).Early contracts and written histories of the hospital (series 14)_and a variety of staff and departmental files ( _series 17)_are included in the collection.

System of arrangement

Conditions governing access

The collection is open and accessible for research.

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.

Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.

For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (

Preferred Citation:

Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

  • Latin

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"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."

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Archivist's note

© Copyright 2019 Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives. All rights reserved.

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