Pediatrics is a relatively new medical specialty, developing only in the mid19th century. Abraham Jacobi (1830–1919) is known as the father of pediatrics because of his many contributions to the field. He was born in Germany, where he received his medical training, but later practiced in New York City.
Soraneus in Greece in the 2nd century AD wrote the first known manuscript devoted to pediatrics. Rhazes (865–925) in Persia wrote a work entitled The Diseases of Children. The first printed book on pediatrics was in Italian (1472) – Bagallarder’s Little Book on Disease in Children.
In the Western world, the first generally accepted pediatric hospital is the Hôpital des Enfants Malades (French: Hospital for Sick Children), which opened in Paris in June 1802 on the site of a previous orphanage. From its beginning, this famous hospital accepted patients up to the age of fifteen years,and it continues to this day as the pediatric division of the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital, created in 1920 by merger with the physically contiguous Necker Hospital, founded in 1778.
This example was only gradually followed in other European countries. The Charité (a hospital founded in 1710) in Berlin established a separate Paediatric Pavilion in 1830, followed by similar institutions at Saint Petersburg in 1834, and at Vienna and Breslau (now Wrocław), both in 1837. The English-speaking world waited until 1852 for its first pediatric hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, some fifty years after the founding of its namesake in Paris. In the USA, the first similar institutions were the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which opened in 1855, and then Boston Children’s Hospital (1869).