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Book and Media Reviews
July 13, 2011

Hope on the Hill: The First Century of Seattle Children’s Hospital

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, History & Social Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (

JAMA. 2011;306(2):215-216. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.971

In the Introduction to Hope on the Hill, Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, describes every parent's most horrifying fear, relating how she and Bill were faced with their 2-year-old daughter becoming seriously ill in the middle of the night. Seattle's Children's Hospital, however, provided them with hope and reassurance as it has done for thousands of others throughout its hundred years of existence.

Founded in 1907 by a woman who had lost a child to “inflammatory rheumatism,” the Children's Orthopedic Hospital became the first facility in the Pacific Northwest to focus entirely on pediatric medical care. The history of Anna Herr Clise's “Children’s” is a truly remarkable account of the ingenuity, dedication, and courage of many diverse Seattle communities—but none more so than the women who found ways to create, fund, build, and run this pioneering institution. As a community, such women often remain hidden in history or frequently are condescended to by historians, who describe them as “ladies bountiful.” However, these women—and their economically poor cousins, “volunteers”—dedicated their skills, labor, and preciously saved extra baking flour to organize at a level of ingeniousness and energy that would match that of a brilliantly strategic military campaign.

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