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The Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children

Mrs. Harriet Lane Johnston, widow of Baltimore banker Henry Johnston, left a sum of over $400,000 at her death in 1903 to establish the Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children as a memorial to two sons who had died in childhood. She was the niece of President James Buchanan and served as First Lady of the White House during her uncle’s term of office.

In 1906 the Trustees of the Harriet Lane House elected to build the home at The Johns Hopkins Hospital with the hospital providing the land and supplying the medical and nursing staffs. In 1909 construction on the Hopkins site commenced. Clemens von Pirquet was appointed as the first Pediatrician-in-Chief of the Harriet Lane Home and Profe ssor of Pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He largely oversaw the planning and building of the facility. In 1912 John Howland succeeded Pirquet as Professor of Pediatrics of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and as head of the Harriet Lane Home.

In October 1912 the Harriet Lane Home officially opened. It was the first children’s clinic in the United States that was associated with a medical school. Eventually treating over 60,000 children a year, the Harriet Lane Home became a pioneer treatment, teaching, and research clinic. From 1930 to 1963 Helen Taussig, who helped to develop the blue baby operation, headed the pediatric cardiac clinic. Child psychiatrist Leo Kanner did studies of autistic children. Lawson Wilkins established an endocrine clinic that developed procedures used universally to treat children with certain glandular disorders, including dwarfism. John E. Bordley and William G. Hardy broke ground in detecting hearing impairments in very young children. Above all John Howland and Edwards A. Park, who directed the Home from 1927-1946, allowed the many specialty clinics to flourish and train pediatricians who became prominent throughout the country.

In 1972 the Harriet Lane Home closed giving way to the modern Edwards A. Park Building. The Harriet Lane Home building itself was demolished in 1974. In 2006 the Harriet Lane Clinic was relocated to the new David M. Rubenstein Child Health Building.


Scope of the Records
Few of the administrative records of the Harriet Lane Home have survived, particularly from the early years. Much of the early correspondence was destroyed in an effort to conserve filing cabinet space.

Most of this collection comes from the files of Edwards A. Park, who wrote articles on the history of the Home. It represents material which Park collected while doing his research. There are some administrative minutes, a couple of patient log books, biographical material on Harriet Lane Johnston, and notes, manuscripts and correspondence of Park concerning the Home. A separate Edwards A. Park Collection contains additional material related to his tenure as director.

Record Group 1. Founding Documents and Related Papers.
(6 inches).
This record group contains three items crucial to the establishment of the Harriet Lane Home. First, there are abstracts from the last will and testament of Harriet Lane Johnston giving money to the Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children. Second, there is a copy of “A Preliminary Report Concerning the Construction of Hospitals for Children” presented in 1906 to the Managers of the Harriet Lane Home by Charles P. Emerson of Hopkins. It is a survey of children’s facilities in hospitals in Canada, England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Italy. Finally there is a copy of agreement between the Harriet Lane Home and the Johns Hopkins Hospital to build the home on the grounds of the Hospital in East Baltimore.

Record Group 2. Records of Administrative Bodies.
(1 foot, 2 inches).
In this record group are the surviving items from the governing body and committees of the Harriet Lane Home. There is a minute book of the Board of Managers of the Home, material on the various funds which helped to support the Home-particularly the Robert Garrett Fund for the Surgical Treatment of Children, and minutes from the Harriet Lane Care Committee.

Series a. Board of Managers’ Minutes, 1903-1950.
1 volume (2 inches).
This volume contains all the minutes of the Board of Managers of the Harriet Lane Home for the above noted dates. Included are minutes of some executive committee meetings and a few supporting papers. The Board met annually, usually in May of each year.

Series b. Special Funds, 1946-1965.
1 box (6 inches).
This series contains items on funds which helped endow the Harriet Lane Home, such as the Jennie Beck Fund, Earle P. Charlton Trust Fund and the Howland Memorial Funds. In addition, this series contains documents on the Robert Garrett Fund for Surgical Treatment of Children founded by Mary F. Jacobs which contributed to the maintenance of the children’s surgical ward in the Halsted wing of the Hospital and helped finance the erection of the Children’s Medical and Surgical Building.

Series c. Harriet Lane Home Care Committee Minutes, 1962-1964.
1 box (6 inches).
These are the minutes of the Harriet Lane Home Care Committee which took up questions of patient care in coordination with the Hospital.

Record Group 3. Patient Related Records. 1939-1941; 1950-1951.
2 volumes (4 inches).
This small record group contains volumes 4 and 12 of Harriet Lane Home histories listing simply the patient’s name, date and history number. No mention is made of the type of treatment. These are the only two volumes of these books that have survived.

Record Group 4. Historic Materials Assembled by Drs. Park and Taussig.
(6 feet).
From 1927 to 1946 Edwards A. Park directed the Harriet Lane Home. After he retired he collected historical material on the Home with the intention of writing a history. This record group is composed of items Park assembled for his study. There is biographical material on Harriet Lane Johnston and Park’s historical notes. In addition, this record group contains material on Park himself which Helen Taussig collected.

Series a. Biographical Material on Harriet Lane Johnston.
1 box (6 inches).
This series contains material on Harriet Lane Johnston. Most of the items are photostats printed material Park collected on Harriet Lane from such places as Harper’s Weekly and the Ladies Home Journal to be used for his history.

Series b. Park’s Notes on His History of the Harriet Lane Home.
5 boxes (2.5 feet).
This series contains notes and drafts, both handwritten and typed, that Park wrote for his history of the Harriet Lane Home. There are notes on individuals associated with the Home, particularly John Howland, as well as on the major events which led to its creation.

Series c. Helen Taussig’s Notes on the History of the Harriet Lane Home.
6 boxes (3 feet).
After Park died in 1969, Helen Taussig added to and edited his historical work. Her revised drafts are part of this series. Much of Taussig’s additions are material she collected on Park including drafts of addresses on his career and recollections of colleagues who knew the distinguished pediatrician.