KC Today: 125 years of Children's Mercy
By KC Today
When we throw a birthday party, we are celebrating another year of life — in addition to the years already gone by. The older, the more impressive, right? Enter: Children’s Mercy. This integral Kansas City institution turns 125 this year.
There’s a reason Children's Mercy has been rated among the best child hospitals in the nation (more on that later), but did you know how it all got started? Here’s a shot of history + quotes and dates that will give you a healthy admiration for this KC institution.
1860: Origin story
Katharine Berry Richardson was born and was raised by her older sister, Alice Berry Graham, and their single father after their mother died young. Alice became a teacher and used her salary to put Katherine through medical school in Philadelphia — in a time where women were not commonly doctors. Katherine then returned the favor, paying for Alice’s degree in dentistry.
1897: Defining moment
The two moved to KC in the late 1890s. Then in 1897, a West Bottoms bartender told them about a woman who had a sick, starving child. The two sisters rented a bed at a maternity hospital on KC’s East Side and nursed the girl back to health.
During this experience, Alice said, “It’s time someone took a greater interest in helping children like this.
“I think you and I are the ones to do it,” Katherine replied.
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