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Archives and Collections
Childrens Hospital Society of Los Angeles was established in 1901 by a small group of women who recognized the need for a hospital that could serve ill, crippled, and under-privileged children. The original hospital, opened in 1902, was a modest two-story, canary-yellow, clapboard house. It had nine beds, was served by one volunteer doctor and treated fourteen patients its first year. By 1905, the hospital had expanded to accommodate twenty patients, the kitchen pantry converted in to a surgery suite, and 229 children had received care. The hospital soon after received two generous donations- one of land, the other of real-property, which made possible a relocation and expansion of the hospital, and in 1913, Childrens Hospital opened a 100-bed facility in a remote, unincorporated part of the city at Sunset & Vermont Avenues. Subsequent years of tireless and ingenious fund raising efforts by all-female board of directors, managers, and auxiliaries produced steady income for the non-profit hospital. Today, CHLA is a national leader in pediatric care and research and serves over 300,000 patients annually at its four-acre facility. The Childrens Hospital Los Angeles Lillian Fellows Memorial Archive is named for the daughter of Emma Phillips, the donor who bequeathed the land upon which the current hospital is situated. Mrs. Phillips’ gift stipulated that her deceased daughter’s portrait hang for fifty years in the new hospital, and that portrait now serves as the cornerstone of the archive collection. Development of the archive began in 2000 with the collection and assessment of historical materials for research on the book, “Childrens Hospital and the Leaders of Los Angeles: The First 100 Years,” by Margaret Leslie Davis, published in conjunction with the CHLA Centennial Celebration. The archive is home to a variety of materials, including photographs, medical records, publications, scrapbooks, diaries, documents, artwork, and artifacts. Photographic images include hospital founders, patients, doctors, administrators, campus development, and regional images of general historic interest. The archive contains complete collections dating from 1901 through 1940 of annual reports, admissions logs, medical procedures summaries, and daily census reports, as well as monthly newsletters published since 1940. The records of Mrs. Gabriel Duque, long term Chair of the Associates & Affiliates and CHLA Board member, are preserved in the archive, as are generous donations of historic materials from various auxiliary groups including fund-raising records, annual Doll Fair, Fashion Show, and Debutante Ball scrapbooks, administration files, meeting minutes, 1940s Debutante Registers, publicity brochures, and a variety of World War II memorabilia. Also housed in the archive are oral histories of hospital administrators, doctors, nurses, and volunteers gathered under the auspices of the Centennial Celebration project.