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December 1974

George Armstrong: An Early Activist

Author Affiliations

From the University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Am J Dis Child. 1974;128(6):824-826. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110310072013

The accompanying "General Account,"1 published in about 1772, outlines the efforts of George Armstrong to establish and maintain an outpatient clinic for the infant poor in London, the first such facility ever devoted to the care of children. Armstrong's clinic antedated the establishment of separate hospitals for children by at least a decade. The Vienna Children's Hospital was first established in 1787, the Hôpital des Enfants Malades in Paris in 1802, and in our own country the first children's hospital was opened in Philadelphia in 1855. Because of this singular effort, George Frederick Still2 wrote in 1931 that Armstrong's dispensary was "the most important step ever taken in this country [England] towards the care of sick children." Surprisingly, Armstrong's efforts were not widely acknowledged at the time, and indeed are not much better known at present.

What do we know about George Armstrong and his dispensary? Some information

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