A room with a table, chairs, and beds, with adults and children.

Ward 23, 1888

Notice that the patients in this picture include both children and adults. In the late nineteenth century, as the medical care of children began to emerge as a specialty, whether it was better to care for children in a separate ward or alongside adults was a frequent topic of discussion. The hospital’s 1881 annual report states: “The interest and sympathy [children] excite among the adult patients, their own buoyant spirits, if suffering is even for a moment allayed, and the power they exert in banishing from their fellow sufferers that listlessness and depression which are often the worst foes to recovery — constitute sufficient reasons why they should always be welcome as among the best of curative influences. They become the petted and indulged favorites of the ward; and the kindly attention they receive reacts upon their own condition and encourages their recovery.”