Weill Cornell Medicine Samuel J. Wood Library

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Nursery and Child Hospital

The Nursery for the Children of Poor Women opened in 1854 on St. Mark's Place, specifically to care for the children of wet-nurses and of parents who worked away from home during the day. Originally, its purpose was to aid "worthy" working women, and proof of marriage and good character of the mother were required for admission of her children. Rates charged were a percentage of the mother's income, and any child not picked up at the end of the day was sent to the city's Alms House.

The focus of the institution shifted quickly from day care to medical care of neglected and abandoned infants and poor pregnant women, and the name was changed to Nursery and Child's Hospital in 1857. After a short stay in temporary quarters on Sixth Avenue, the hospital moved to its permanent location at 51st Street and Lexington Avenue in 1859, where pediatric and lying-in facilities were provided. A country branch for children on Staten Island was also maintained from 1870 to 1880.

The Nursery and Child's Hospital was known for hosting gala charity balls and benefits to raise funds. The archival records of the hospital include scrapbooks of clippings and memorabilia from these events.

The Nursery and Child's Hospital merged with the New York Infant Asylum in 1910, to form the New York Nursery and Child's Hospital, an institution that became part of the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in 1934. That center is now known as the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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