Dolph Smith: The Le Bonheur Story: A History Written In Steel

Published On 07/11/2011

Location: Le Bonheur Club Resource Center

Dolph Smith has a deep connection with the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare family. He was born at a Methodist hospital, as were all of his children, and his wife was a head nurse in the Memphis institution when they met.

Having worked as an artist in the region for more than 60 years, Smith was already well-acquainted with Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital before he was asked to work on two historical pieces for the first floor. Having recently worked with books as a form of kinetic sculpture, Smith used his knowledge of Le Bonheur’s history to create “The Le Bonheur Story: A History Written in Steel.”

In this one-of-a-kind piece, created to honor the legacy of the Le Bonheur Club, the charitable group who raised funds for the first building in 1952, the hospital’s history is etched onto the pages of a grandiose steel book. The letters were laser cut and words look as though they are sliding off the pages and into a rendering of the new Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Smith collaborated with the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis to fabricate the work. The open page of the book reads:

On a June day in 1952, women in the Le Bonheur Club, a sewing circle devoted to the well-being of children, gathered with community leaders to realize their dream of opening a new children’s hospital.

The keys to the front door were tied to balloons and released to symbolize that the hospital would always be open to any child in need. With the opening of the new Le Bonheur in June 2010, the dream continues.


If you would like to inquire about underwriting any of the other pieces in the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Art Collection, please call the Le Bonheur Children's Hospital Foundation at 901-287-6308.