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February 1989

George Armstrong (1719-1787): Founder of the First Dispensary for Children

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, State University of New York, NY Downstate Medical School, Kings County Hospital Medical Center, and Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, New York.

Am J Dis Child. 1989;143(2):239-241. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1989.02150140133035

An intractable aspect of human behavior in every stage and structure of society has been inhumanity to children.1-7 England's social form in the 18th century, distinguished by a swiftly accelerating industrial revolution, evidenced human violence toward children in the inordinate incidence of sickly and deformed infants, illegitimacy, an infant mortality that reached 75% before the age of 2 years, abandonment of unwanted infants, and infanticide and a mortality in London's Foundling Home so depressingly high that William Cadogan (1711-1791) proffered his treatise as a guide to better care.7-10

English society in the 18th century included factory and mill owners dehumanized by profit and greed; the aristocracy of blood dehumanized by idleness and frivolity; and the lower classes abandoned to squalor. The cheap and obedient labor—children, women, and men—were forced to work long hours with little rest, comfort, food, or recompense. They suffered poverty, deprivation,

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