1920 Established as the Harry M. Evan’s Children’s Home Finding Society, in a 3 story brick building at 520 Woodland Ave.
June 19, 1920 It was announced that the following Wednesday, the Harry M. Evans Home Finding Society would be opening. The facility at 520
August 1920 A baby was received at the home with whooping cough. As a precaution, the other babies were sent to private homes.
September 13, 1920 Eighty-six women from the Beta Sigma Omicron Sorority sewed clothing for the children at the home.
December 20, 1920 A steam heater was provided for the home by the Harmony Chapter of the Eastern Star increasing the capacity of the home to 40 babies. Each child wore their prettiest dress when meeting prospective parents, so they would know the death of a mother or father doesn’t make the child less attractive. Never less than 15 babies were placed a month across the Mid-West, sometimes as many as 20. It was noted that it has never been necessary to separate twins.
December 23, 1920 A Christmas program was put on by the Beta Sigma Omicron Sorority. A tree was decorated with rattles and candy.
April 6, 1921 An open house was held from 2p-5p. Beta Sigma Omicron Sorority sisters were each assigned a week at the home to tell stories.
April 14, 1921 The Evans home phone number was
December 23, 1921 Two other babies went to the hospital from the home December 16, and 6 more were admitted December 22. All were suffering from malnutrition. The homes attending physician, Dr. G.M. Polk stated this was a situation that might rise in a home for children where medical facilities were not the best. An unnamed nurse was responsible for preparing the formula for the babies. The doctor believed she did it as instructed. Mrs. Hill also stated there’d been an epidemic of colds in the home lately. Four of the eight babies were in homes, being considered for adoption. They’d been returned to the home within the last five days. Dr. E.H. Shorer stated the six babies brought to the hospital were each four to five pounds underweight and suffering acute intestinal disturbance. All were in dangerous condition. Mrs. Hill couldn’t say how long the babies had been in the home, as records on that hadn’t been kept.
December 24, 1921 A third baby from the Evan’s home passed away. This baby was born November 11, 1921 and was admitted to the hospital December 22, 1921. The seven babies still alive in the
December 27, 1921 By this date, five babies from the home had died. Of the original 11 taken to the
The head of the home, BF Moore, made a statement on this date that the superintendent, Mrs. TW Hill, was trying to supervise everything, and that was a mistake.
There was a charge of exposure by the homes attending physician, who stated on several occasion the home was not being kept warm enough for the babies.
The Physicians at general hospital could not agree what the cause of death was. One said bottle babies are not as vigorous as naturally fed babies, and a change in the weather may be responsible. A second said it was the milk, and the third said it was malnutrition.
Mr. Moore also emphasizes this is a home for children, not a medical facility. That being said, a doctor visited three times a week and prescribed a formula diet for each baby.
For a time after it’s founding, the Home Finding Society was just a name. There was not an actual facility. It tried to function by boarding the babies. This was the policy for about two years before Mrs. Hill conceived the idea of the home. She was responsible for finding the home on 520
While she was doing all of those repairs, and fundraising, she was also finding homes for babies. Mrs. Hill was credited with doing more for the home, physically, than all of the board combined.
BF Moore stated the claims against Mrs. Hill pained him and that if anything, Mrs. Hill was responsible for just trying to do too much in trying to run all aspects of the home on her own, including placing 15 babies a month.
The board hired a nurse and doctor, but could not afford a full time matron for the home, so Mrs. Hill acted in this capacity. She did all of the cooking, cleaning, laundry, nursing and assistant.
The public was advised the board was doing it’s best to find the actual cause of death in these babies. Two of the babies were diseased and could never become well.
Dr. Shorer felt three of the six remaining babies gained strength and may be adopted out. Two were improving, and one would not recover.
The committee investigating the home had been chosen. 30 applicants applied for the matron’s position.
December 28, 1921 Ray Tate, born October 16, 1921, died this day. He’s the sixth baby to die in two weeks.
December 30, 1921 Mrs. T.W. Hill, Superintendent retires today due to the death of babies at the home. The directors of the home hoped to select a new superintendent before Harry M. Evans, left
Three of the babies improved, the fourth was still in critical condition. One of the babies had shown some improvement and might be able to go home with its mother.
December 31, 1921 A report of a committee regarding fund management of the how has been issued, and will remain private.
January 1, 1922 Board members will be added. A case worker will be added. The head of the home should be a nurse, who lived on the property. A physician should be employed and only well babies should be accepted. Help should be hired to aid the head in a “fully scientific manner”. Until the new executives and staff are picked, the two remaining babies, aside from the one there with it’s mother should be placed in
Seven women actively involved in the home have been invited to join the board. They are as follows:
Mrs. W. N. Collins
Mrs. B.J. England
Mrs. A.S. McCreary
Mrs. Joseph Havens
Mrs. George Kumpt
Mrs. B.J. Hart
The board exonerated Mrs. Hill but did not take blame. The committee was working on a report that would be due to the Chamber of Commerce
One baby was reported as still being in critical condition, the other two were holding their own.
January 8, 1922 New rules for the Evans home issued. The board of 15 directors will meet once a month. The director will be chosen based on their humanitarian efforts. There is to be a superintendent, nurse, janitor, home finder, laundress, housekeeper, & cook will be in the home at all times. The superintendent is to make a monthly report to the board. The board approved the new plan 1/7, and released it 1/8. No suggestion for the superintendent position were to be made until the report was review by the Chamber of Commerce, Charities Committee Five of the seven women invited to join the committee had accepted as of this day, and four were present the day before. They were Mrs. Collins, Mrs. McCleary, Mrs. Maben, Mrs. Hart, Mrs.
January 9, 1922 A seventh baby, Sarah, was taken to the hospital December 22. Two babies are still in the hospital and none are in the home.
January 10, 1922 The Evans home is being probed by the State. The homes license is being held up. The children’s bureau was created to issue licenses and close homes that could not be issued a license. It was created the previous spring. The Evans home “needed several things very badly”.
“The Superintendent, Mrs. T.W. Hill, impressed me as being an excellent home finder for homeless children, but she wasn’t an efficient executive. From what I’ve seen, I believe Mrs. Hill tried to do too much and consequently some phases of the work were neglected.”
January 23, 1922 The Eighth Evans baby, Eugene Brady, dies. He was taken there by his mother, Luin Brady.
April 22, 1922 A benefit Tea was held for the Evans home by the Beta Sigma Omicron on April 25, 1922, at the Jack-O-Lantern at the intersection of
June 2, 1922 Maternity
No hospital can advertise it will procure the adoption of babies, according to the board’s requirement for license. Other states already had this policy and the feeling was that it was urgently needed here in
An additional regulation will require truth in advertising in the statement that some maternity hospitals that “patients may work for room and board.” The board requires that such advertisements to state that if at any time the woman is unable to work because of illness or for any other cause, the patient will have to pay for their room and board.
June 23, 1922 It was announced that a week from the day, an open house would be held.
The entire interior was painted, a new diet kitchen, an electrically heated baby bath table, a water spray was installed over each awning in the baby ward to help cool the room, a new refrigerator in which each baby has a numbered bottle, and a store room has been converted into a playroom.
June 28, 1922 An informal reception and inspection of the home was planned for the following Friday from 2p to 6p. The children were to act as guides and serve punch. The purpose was to show the new accommodations and furnishings.
1929 Harry M. Evans announced a $50,000 building fund, provided the trustees were able to match that amount. That was never done.
1934 Negotiations to purchase 3118 the Paseo for the home. Property owners protested the rezoning
January 25, 1935 Harry M. Evan’s Children’s Home Finding Society changed its name to the Kansas City Cradle. The Cradle at this time was located at
May 7, 1936 4319-4325 Wornall had to be rezoned with a 100 foot property frontage. The home has to be set 50 feet from
May 17, 1936 A fireproof brick building, adjoining the nurse's home, will be erected at the cost of approximately $40,000. Keene & Simpson designed the building. This building will allow the housing of about 30 babies. The current home (520
July 2, 1936 Mrs. Mary J Weaver retires as super. Nurse, Miss Laura Gilmore assumes the role.
November 26, 1936 New Superintendent, Mrs. Pearl S. Matthews. Hoping to move into Wornall address by 12/15/1936. Retired when the facility closed 7/31/1945.
November 28, 1936 The site at 4321 Wornall Rd had been chosen. Hoping to open it by Dec 15, 1936.
November 29, 1936 Adoption was done by filing an application with three letters of recommendation which are passed by the board. Mrs. Brace stated they tried to find homes the babies would fit in. They would refuse to permit an adoption unless the history of the child’s biological parents indicated the child would measure up to the advantages the adoption would offer.
December 18, 1936 Application forms must be filed and investigations completed before the Cradle and the Jackson Co Juvenile Courts are satisfied. The history of every baby and its ancestors are investigated. For example, if a baby comes from a musical family, every effort is made to place it with an artistic family. There’s never been a problem adopting a child over the age of two. The finances of the adopting family weren’t first priority, although of course, they had to be able to provide. The permanence and moral influence are important.
January 15, 1937 Open house was held this week. Requests fir babies came from
May 8, 1938 Typical foster parents were home owners, with income sufficient to assure security and education, and in good standing in their community. “We take into consideration the racial, cultural & educational background of the child and try to place him in a home where these same conditions exists”. Most applications have already been investigated by the Jackson County Juvenile Court and approved.
Each baby is in isolation until examined by Dr. Thomas L. Draney. Adoptive parents had to fill out an info blank that requested information such as name and age of husband and wife, church affiliation, number of children already in the home, amount of real estate owned, amount of insurance carried, education of both, number of times married, what education they plan to give the child, occupation and income of the husband, number of rooms in their home, whether they prefer a boy or a girl, and if one is not available, whether they will take the other, and the distance they live from the school and the church.
Before any baby was accepted, it had to pass a rigid mental and physical exam. Its mother must have had a negative Wasserman test.
The next step is to get letters of reference (two copies each) from their minister, doctor, and a businessman of their community and send these in. When those are received, the adopting parents would be turned over to the Juvenile court for investigation. The process took several weeks.
The cradle was not a maternity home. The babies came from hospitals, maternity homes, private homes, and upon recommendations of doctors.
Babies were accepted from any race they thought they could place.
The average age of the bio-mothers is 21 and the average length of schooling is a junior in high school.
In many instances mothers tried to keep their babies in unendurable circumstances. When they find they can’t, they reluctantly give them up. In cases where the children were given up at birth, the mothers thought the whole situation through.
When possible Mrs. Matthews would meet with the mother, learned everything possible about its ancestors, why it’s being put up for adoption, and what educational or artistic talents it may develop. Every child had to be acceptable to Mrs. Matthews and the placing committee.
“The Cradle is the only institution of its kind so far as I know that gives the adopting parents a detailed history of the baby.”
Mr. & Mrs. Brace were credited as the “Spirit of the Institution”
A board of 18 KC men and women governed the institution, which was supported by the Charities fun and was not a branch of any other institution of any other institution of the same name in any other city.
There is a 3-6 month probationary period for foster parents.
October 20, 1940 There were 20 good homes for each baby. All babies were given a birth certificate which differed in no way from other children. Biological mothers had to produce a negative Wasserman test and sign a legal release of her rights to her child. Foster parents are advised to tell their children they’ve been adopted, sing the word “chosen”. The Cradle is not an orphan's home, but exists solely for the purpose of finding homes for babies. If a child weren’t adopted by age two, the child’s mother or relatives must make arrangements for it.
Applicants for adoption needed references from physicians, clergymen, friends & neighbors. They had to be in good standing in the community. They preferred applicants had no other children, and had desired children for 5 years of their marriage, but have not had them and would not be likely to do so. The Juvenile court was also required to inspect the home before an adoption could be completed. The cradle was one of two social agencies in KC to act as home finding societies. It placed Protestant babies, while St. Anthony’s placed Catholics.
October 9, 1944 Open house. The babies wore white dresses with pink or blue booties. The boys had their hair combed regulation style, but the girls had hair bows, some pink, and some baby blue. More than 200 people came to see the babies. On average, 100 children a year were being placed.
The babies are all born in
The Cradle was one of 76 agencies included in the Kansas City War Chest & United Community Fund Campaign, Oct 18-27.
July 12, 1945 It’s announced that it will close 7/31/1945, and become an affiliate of St Luke’s hospital as a children’s hospital. It won’t be sponsored by the Kansas City War Chest after the change.