Children’s Was Started By a Nurse’s Vision

Founder Nurse May Smith with a nurse today
In celebration of National Nurses Week, we would like to share the story of our founding nurse.

Someday, the Dallas Baby Camp will be a great hospital. Watch us grow!”

These are the words of Nurse May Smith, Dallas Baby Camp Superintendent, in 1913. That was the year the Dallas Baby Camp, which would eventually become Children’s Medical Center, was born.

In the spring of 1913, as many as 15 infants were dying every day of diarrhea and dehydration – complications of gastroenteritis and malnutrition. With the support of the community and three volunteer physicians, Nurse Smith and the Dallas Graduate Nurses Association launched the first free “baby camp” in the Southwest to address this heartbreaking situation.

The baby camp started as an open-air tent hospital dedicated to the care of babies born into families of little means. After a successful summer, the City of Dallas replaced the tents with a new wooden cottage that opened in 1914. For more on our history, visit


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