Dr. Alice Berry Graham · Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson
Dr. Alice Berry Graham
Born: Warren, Pennsylvania 1850
Died: Kansas City, Missouri 1913
Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson
Born: Flat Rock, Kentucky 1860
Died: Kansas City, Missouri 1933
This bridge honors the lives and legacies of Dr. Alice Berry Graham and her sister, Dr. Katharine Berry Richardson, founders of the Children's Mercy Hospital. In an age where very few women were in the medical profession, Katharine attended medical school in Pennsylvania while her sister, Alice worked as a teacher and paid her expenses. After graduation, Katharine supported Alice as she went to dental school. Katharine moved to Wisconsin to start her practice. They both married. After Alice became a widow, she moved West to be with her sister. They moved to Kansas City about 1893.
In 1897, after rescuing and caring for an abused crippled child, the sisters devoted themselves to treating children no matter if there was payment for services or not. They established a "Free Bed Fund" to rent bed space at the Women's and Children's Hospital at 15th and Cleveland. Alice raised money [f]or the Fund and Katharine provided surgical and medical care. In 1904, they opened their own hospital at 414 Highland with the official name of "Mercy Hospital."
After Dr. Graham died in 1914 her sister continued the work they had started. Dr. Richardson placed the following citation on the cornerstone of the new Mercy Hospital building which opened in 1916 at 1710 Independence Avenue: "In 1897 Dr. Alice Berry Graham founded this hospital for sick and crippled children, to be forever non-sectarian, non-local and for those who cannot pay." Dr. Richardson ran the hospital, raised money for its operation, and treated patients there, acquiring a staff of physicians and surgeons who volunteered their time. Dr. Richardson lived on Clinton Place in the northeast area of town and probably used this bridge on her trips to and from the hospital.
Dr. Richardson also established a pediatric training program for black doctors and nurses at the Wheatley-Provident Hospital, a hospital for black patients. She died in 1933.
Children's Mercy Hospital moved to 2401 Gillham Road in 1970.