Only one week until Thanksgiving! Today’s Throwback Thursday photograph captured the sweet excitement on the children’s faces as they help prepare the Thanksgiving turkey. Omaha photographer Nathaniel Dewell took these special moments on November 28, 1928 at the Hattie B. Munroe House for Convalescing Crippled Children. At the time of the photograph, the home was located at 2824 North 66th Street, Omaha. Unfortunately, the names of the children and Munroe House worker are unknown.
The story of the Hattie B. Munroe House begin in 1919 when a group of Omaha doctors recognized the need for corrective orthopedics and many local women interested in charitable work. The group created the Society for the Relief of the Disabled “to make it possible for all disabled and crippled people in Omaha and vicinity to receive the benefit of orthopedic treatments.” They partnered with the Visiting Nurses Association and began providing weekly clinics. In 1922, they held a summer camp for 24 children.
At the end of the summer camp, John Munroe and his sister-in-law Clara E. Elder offered an amazing gift to the Society. They had purchased a 10-room house with 2 acres from a private owner. The home was given in the name of Hattie B. Munroe, Mr. Munroe’s wife and Miss Elder’s sister. Before passing away in 1921, Mrs. Munroe had been unwell for some time. According to her sister, helping care for handicapped children was cause close to Hattie’s heart.
The Hattie B. Munroe House opened on September 1, 1922 for twelve children. Donations from the Omaha community generously furnished the home as well as filled the pantry with food and the cellar with coal. Two additions to the building quickly brought the homes normal capacity to forty children, with cases mostly of rheumatic fever, post poliomyelitis, cerebral palsy, congenital heart disease, and osteomyelitis. During the 1950s, the patient population reached in all time high with the increase of polio.
In 1956, the home accepted a 99-year lease at 4420 Dewey Avenue on the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus and new larger home was built four years later. In 1968, the Munroe House entered into an operating contract with the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and the home was renamed the Hattie B. Munroe Pavillion. Today, the Hattie B. Munroe Foundation continues its work to provide service and support for people with genetic disorders and developmental disabilities. To learn more about the Munroe-Meyer Institute, please visit their website at: http://www.unmc.edu/mmi/index.htm.