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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. Annice Baldwin Tracy

Mrs. Annice Baldwin Tracy, is the woman to whom credit is due, for the establishment of the first hospital in Des Moines, and one of the first in the state of Iowa.  Her father, Capt. James W. Davis, was a manufacturer of pig iron in Portsmouth.  In 1861, on the outbreak of the Civil War, every man in his employ, several hundred in all, enlisted in the army.  He closed his business and in November, 1861, came to Des Moines with his family, including Mrs. Tracy and her two children, her husband having died in 1854.  Mrs. Tracy was a graduate of Steubenville Female Seminary, and a woman of marked ability.  In 1863 her children died of diphtheria;  this sorrow opened her heart to see the sorrow of others, and she gave much of her time to the relief of unfortunate people.  For years Des Moines had felt the need of a hospital, and 1876 Mrs. Tracy called a meeting of a number of women of the Episcopal Church.  As a result of this meeting, Cottage Hospital was opened, with Mrs. Tracey in charge of it.  Generous contributions were made by the citizens and a five room house at 929 Seventh street was bought for $1,000.  On May 27, 1877, a terrific storm swept away a bridge near Des Moines, causing the wreck of a passenger train, to which was attached one of P. T. Barnum's show cars.  The injured were taken to Cottage Hospital, among them a number of Barnum's employees.  So grateful was he for the care given them that he gave several thousand dollars to the hospital.  A $10,000 hospital was then erected, which was used until it was supplanted by the Mercy and the Methodist hospital.  Later she established the "Tracy Home," a private hospital.  She died Aug. 24, 1899.



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