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LT Weaver
Journal Issue: 
Volume 38: Issue 2: 2008




Laura  Smith  was  sister-in-charge  of  the  Children’s  Dispensary  in Glasgow  from  1897  to  1922.  In  1911  she  established  Sister  Laura’s  Infant  Food Company to market a special milk formula of her own invention. The directors of the  Dispensary  were  not  amused.  As  the  ‘outdoor’  department  of  the  Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Yorkhill), the Dispensary was at the forefront of efforts to  combat  child  ill  health  and  malnutrition. This  paper  considers  Laura  Smith’s initiative  within  the  context  of  the  health  and  care  of  infants  of  the  time  –  high infant mortality, public and professional concerns for infant welfare, technological advances  in  food  science,  changing  recommendations  and  practices  of  infant feeding and ambiguous relations between medicine and commerce.