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Our History: Celebrating More Than 125 Years

Children's Mercy begins with two compassionate sisters


On the eve of the 20th Century, two sisters, each with a big heart and an indomitable will, set out to care for Kansas City’s neediest children. They began with one little girl. Then they helped a couple more children, and then a dozen … With no help from public subsidies or insurers, they treated all comers. That’s how Alice Berry Graham and Katharine Berry Richardson started an institution that has grown into a part of the soul of Kansas City: Children’s Mercy.

Significant dates and events

125th anniversary stories and videos

Science and heart

Published in 2019, “Science and heart: The triumph of psychosocial care in pediatrics” explains in detail the history and current day of the special brand of care offered at Children’s Mercy. In 184 pages, this is the story of the evolution of pediatric medicine and a prescription for the future, one that goes beyond basic medicine to touch the whole child and the whole family. It's about the growth of psychosocial care, an advance that leads to healthier children, stronger families and brighter tomorrows.

To order “Science and heart,” please call the Children's Mercy gift shop at (816) 234-3750.


For All Children Everywhere

"For All Children Everywhere" is the story of Children’s Mercy and a story of unending love and persistence on the part of two sisters – Alice Berry Graham, a dentist, and Katharine Berry Richardson, a surgeon - the people who followed them and of the community that took their mission into its heart. Today, 12 decades after its humble start as “The Hospital of the Little People,” Children’s Mercy still brings healing to the poor, but also hope to all children and all families of the city and the region.

About the title: The founders of Children’s Mercy declared their hospital to be for children regardless of their address, their religion or their families’ pocketbooks. In the 1920s, when racial segregation ruled in public life, the leaders of the hospital believed they needed to address the health needs of non-white children, too. They found a way to work toward that goal, and declared the hospital “For All Children Everywhere.”

Read this, and many more stories about Children’s Mercy, Kansas City and their children and families in “For All Children Everywhere.” The book is the most comprehensive and accurate history of Children’s Mercy compiled.

It features:

  • 224 pages

  • Hundreds of photos (some published for the very first time)

  • Dramatic details of troubles and triumphs over a century of caring

  • Dozens of stories of children in need

  • Stirring accounts of community support

  • Uplifting reports of doctors, nurses and philanthropists who knew no bounds when the cause was caring for children

To order “For All Children Everywhere,” please call the Children's Mercy gift shop at (816) 234-3750.

The Children's Mercy story

The Children’s Mercy Story is a three-dimensional museum-quality display designed to take visitors on a journey through the 120-year odyssey of one of the top pediatric medical centers in the United States.

It is located on the ground floor of Children’s Mercy Hospital on the Adele Hall Campus, Kansas City, Mo. Through pictures, words and a small sampling of historically-significant artifacts, the wall display describes the humble beginning of the hospital to the fully integrated regional clinical referral center, academic medical center and medical research hub that stands today.

Underpinning the entire story, and the display itself, is a foundation of philanthropic support and a devotion to the mission of never turning a child away.

Hospital archive at UMKC

LaBudde Special Collections at the University of Missouri – Kansas City became the repository for the Children’s Mercy Hospital Collection in spring 2015. The large assemblage of material is contained in scores of manuscript boxes and scores more of photograph boxes. There is much background material, such as personal narratives and booklets, as well as biographical sketches of Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson and Dr. Alice Berry Graham, sisters and co-founders of the hospital, and information about many other people and programs associated with the hospital throughout its history.