King's Daughters Organization


the Past, Present, & Future of KDO

The 1916 Infantile Paralysis Epidemic

What exactly is Infantile Paralysis and what does it have to do with the history of KDO? 

In the early nineteenth century Polio was often known as Infantile Paralysis. With Polio being eradicated in the U.S. in the late 1970’s, we often forget or are not aware of the impact this disease had on the Sangamon County community. 

In 1917 a children’s clinic was opened to serve the needy children of Sangamon County. There were many families who could not afford to provide healthcare to their crippled or ill children. With the help of expert Dr. East, St. John’s hospital offered free care to many needy children in Sangamon County. 

The King’s Daughters Organization declared the year of 1918 “Child Welfare Year” and encouraged their circles to support the newly formed clinic at the 25th Corporation meeting.

Although our mission is to serve the seniors of Sangamon County, the history of KDO shows this as one of the many ways the organization practiced a strong love and compassion for helping anyone in need.

Special thanks to Brian C. Blasco, Director of Communications and Provincial Archivist for the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis and Stephanie Martin, Lincoln Library, Sangamon Valley Collection with their help with articles and information.

Jennifer Sylvia