Mary Chiles General Hospital had its modest beginnings in the old Mission House of the Disciples on Azcarraga St., (now Claro M. Recto) in 1911, a few years after the Spanish-American War. It was during the height of the bubonic plague in Manila that a boarder in a house where several American missionaries were living was stricken with the disease. An American missionary named Dr. W. N. Lemmon saw the need and benefit of a hospital and established a small clinic with a capacity of four beds. Thousands died during the epidemic. As more people sought the services of the hospital, it soon became apparent that expansion was inevitable. He brought this to the attention of an old friend, Miss Mary Jane Chiles of Independence, Missouri. Miss Chiles, a “devoted disciple”, donated a substantial amount for the project. A historic building in Gastambide where Dr. Jose Rizal used to have meetings with his friends was purchased.
The year 1913 marked the beginning of the Mary Chiles Nurses Training School. Dr. W.N. Lemmon, the first Hospital Director, established the school with the intention to augment the personnel of the hospital and to provide more personalized care to female patients, since the staff then was predominantly composed of male workers.
The Great Depression during the 1930’s had adverse effects on the hospital’s management. The School of Nursing was closed temporarily due to financial reasons. The United Christian Missionary Society decided to withdraw from the Philippine mission. However, Dr. Florendo, who enjoyed the full trust and confidence of his employees and co-workers, assumed full rights over the hospital in August 15, 1934 as Director-Proprietor. The hospital ceased to be an evangelical institution, although Dr. Florendo decided to retain its name. The School of Midwifery was opened in 1936 but was closed during the outbreak of World War II in 1941.
The end of the war brought significant developments in both the hospital and the school. This was largely credited to the profoundly devoted wife of the director, then a public school teacher, Dr. Bibiana Aragon-Florendo. She helped envision the construction of a bigger and more modern Mary Chiles Hospital. The School of Midwifery also re-opened in 1952 with Dr. Bibiana Aragon-Florendo as the first Registrar and Ms. Fidela B. Braga as the first Principal. In 1954, Dr. Baltazar Solis wrote and composed the Alma Mater Song of the school. That same year, Mrs. Josefina N. Escaro took over as Principal of the School of Midwifery.
It was in 1960 when the construction of the modern edifice began. Unfortunately, it was also the year of Dr. Bibiana’s untimely passing. The new building was inaugurated on March 28, 1965, complete with the latest modern facilities and equipment.
Dr. Vanessa Florendo-Santos took over the position of her mother as Registrar and later as Principal of the School of Midwifery . It was in 1964 when Mrs. Josefina Escaro was tasked to reopen the School of Nursing and became its first Principal. The school, after being granted by the Bureau of Private Schools a permit to operate, had an initial population of 27 students. Later, it registered an annual enrolment of 500 with an average annual graduates of 150. In 1965, Ms. Josefa Tambalo became the first Librarian.
In 1977, Mary Chiles School of Nursing produced a second placer in the Nurse Licensure Examination in the person of Ms. Mercedita Bartolome.
In 1978, the Registrar position was delegated to Mrs. Angelina Cater who had served the College for 41 years.
It was in 1980 that the Baccalaureate Program in Nursing was offered hence it became Mary Chiles College and making Mrs. Josefina Escaro the first Dean of the College of Nursing after serving 10 years as Principal of the School of Midwifery and 16 years as Principal of the School of Nursing. It was also in 1980 that Mary Chiles College pioneered the offering of the two-year Respiratory Therapy Course in the Country with Mrs. Josefina N. Escaro as its first Principal. In 1981 the School of Widwifery produced an eight placer in the Midwifery Licensure Examination in the person of Ms. Nortenia Sagsagat.