Historical Nurses

  • Dorothea Dix

    Dorothea Dix
    Dorothea Dix was an american activist who sought ways to help the indigent insane, and created the first generation of American mental asylums. She was proficient in the founding of the Harrisburg State Hospital, which was the first public mental hospital in Pennsylvania, and in establishing its library and reading room in 1853. In 1856, the Dorothea Dix Hospital was opened in Raleigh, North Carolina, in order to care for mentally ill patients.
  • Mary Ann Bickerdyke

    Mary Ann Bickerdyke
    Mary Ann Bickerdyke was a hospital administrator for Union soldiers during the American Civil War (1861–1865). By the end of the Civil war, Mary had built three-hundred hospitals and aided wounded soldiers on nineteen battlefields. Once the War ended, Mary worked for the Salvation Army in San Francisco, California, and soon became an attorney, continuing to help union soldiers, only this time with legal issues.
  • Linda Richards

    Linda Richards
    Linda Richards was the first professionally trained American nurse. In 1874, she became superintendent for the Boston Training School for nurses, turning it into one of the best nurse training programs in the country. In 1885, she helped establish Japan's first nurses training program, and supervised the school in Kyoto for five years.
  • Clara Barton

    Clara Barton
    Clara Barton established an agency to distribute supplies to wounded soldiers during the American Civil War, after the first Battle of Bull Run in April, 1862, and was soon appointed lady in charge of hospitals at the front of the Army of the James. After years of dedicated work, Clara took ill, but while she rested, she researched the International Committee of the Red Cross, and worked to recognize the ICRC in the United States, becoming president of the American Branch, founded May, 1881.
  • Isabel Hampton Robb

    Isabel Hampton Robb
    Isabel Hampton Robb's most notable contribution to nursing education is the establishment of a grading policy for nursing students. Her other notable accomplishments include being a co-founder of the American Journal of Nursing, serving as president in both the National League of Nursing and American Nurses Association, and being appointed the head of Johns Hopkins school of Nursing in 1889, where she continued to teach and published, Nursing: It Principles and Practice.
  • Lavinia Dock

    Lavinia Dock
    Lavinia Dock compiled Materia Medica for Nurses in 1890, which remains an important drug manual for nurses. She strove to improve the profession of nursing and improve the health of the poor through her teachings. Lavinia also played an important role as a co-editior for the American Journal of Nursing, and also contributed a vast majority of work for, A History of Nursing, 4 vols, 1907-1912
  • Lillian Wald

    Lillian Wald
    Lillian Wald is the founder of the Henry Street Settlement, which was establised in 1893 in order to provide nursing care and aid to the poor and immigrants. Lillian also wrote two books, The House on Henry Street (1911), and Windows on Henry Street (1934), both based off her work with the Henry Street Settlment. Another notable accomplishment by Lillian was the recognization of her as a seminal founder of the NAACP in 1909.
  • Annie Goodrich

    Annie Goodrich
    Annie Goodrich viewed nursing and medical professions as equal. During her time, nurses received their training in hospital schools of nursing, and Annie sought to introduce nursing into the university, leading the inclusion of community nursing and preventative medicine into the course curriculum. In 1918, she left the Henry Street Settlement to become chief inspecting nurse of the United States Army's hospitals, and she soon originated the plan for the Army school of nursing, becoming dean.
  • Margaret Sanger

    Margaret Sanger
    Margaret Sanger was a defender of free speech founded the American Birth Control League, later known as Planned Parenthood, in 1921. Margaret was an American birth control activist and an early contributor to Relationship Counseling in the United States. Though she eventually recieved more support for gaining contraception for women, she remained a controversial figure and was arrested at least eight times for speaking publicly in favor of birth control and other contraceptions.
  • Mary Breckinridge

    Mary Breckinridge
    Mary Breckinridge founded the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, which later became known as the Frontier Nursing Service, in 1925. Mary joined the American Committee for Devastated France after the sudden death of her two children and divorce from her husband, and came to believe she was discovering her true calling.
  • Mary Eliza Mahoney

    Mary Eliza Mahoney
    Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African-American registered nurse in the United States. In 1908, she co-founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN), eventually merging it with the American Nurses Association (ANA), in 1951. In recognition of Mary to nurses of all races, the NACGN established the Mary Mahoney Award in 1936, still bestowing it today to nurses who significantly contribute to advancing equal opportunities in nursing for members of minorities.
  • Ida V. Moffett

    Ida V. Moffett
    Ida V. Moffett was a nurse for more than seventy years, spending the majority of that time at an exective level at the Baptist Hospital system in Birmingham, Alabama. She was a pioneer in arranging standards for healthcare, and became the first women involved in licensing practical nursing, forming univeristy level degree programs for nursing, and junior college level degree programs for nurses. In 1943, she organized Alabama's first unit of the Cadet Nurse Corps.
  • Mary Adelaide Nutting

    Mary Adelaide Nutting
    Mary Adelaide Nutting is remembered for her role in raising the quality of higher education in nursing, other related fields, and hospital administration. In 1934, Mary was named honorary president of the Florence Nightingal International Foundation. In 1944, the National League for Nursing Education created the Mary Adelaide Nutting Medal, modeled by Malvina Hoffman,in her honour, and awarded the first one to her.
  • Lillian Holland Harvey

    Lillian Holland Harvey
    Lillian Holland Harvey used her knowledge and expertise to help advance the cause of black nurses and the nursing profession, and started the first baccalaureate of nursing program in the state of Alabama at Tuskegee Institute in 1948. In 1978, she was the first person named Dean Emeritus by Tuskegee Univeristy.In 1982, she was presented the Mary Mahoney Medal by the American Nurses Association.
  • Hildegard Pepla

    Hildegard Pepla
    Hildegard Pepla, also known as the mother of psychiatric nursing, is the only nurse to serve the American Nurses Association (ANA) as executive director, and in later years, as the president. She was also the founder of modern psychiatric nursing and sought advanced education for nurses. One of her most famous works, the Interpersonal Relations in Nursing, was published in 1952, and it focused on the nurse-client relationship as a leading foundation of the nursing practice.
  • Dorothea Orem

    Dorothea Orem
    Dorothea Orem was a leading nursing theorist, founding the Self Care Deficit Nursing Theory, also known as the Orem model of nursing, developed between 1959 and 2001. The central philosophy is based on the independence of patients, noting that the patients can recover more quickly if they are allowed freedom for self care to the best of their abilities.
  • Virginia Henderson

    Virginia Henderson
    Virginia Henderson is famous for her definition of nursing, which she stated in her book, Nature of Nursing. Nature of Nursing was published in 1966, and not only did it define nursing, it expressed her belief about the essence of nursing and influenced those who read it. On June 1985, The International Council of Nurses presented her with the first Christianne Reimann Prize.
  • Martha Rogers

    Martha Rogers
    Martha Rogers is best known for developing the Science of Unitary Human Beings and her book, An Introduction to the Theoretical Basis of Nursing, which was published in 1970. Between 1952 and 1975 she was a Professor at New York University, and was appointed Head of the Division of Nursing in 1954.Soon after, she was recognized as a Professor Emeritus in 1979.
  • Madeleine Leininger

    Madeleine Leininger
    Madeleine Leininger, also known as the "Margaret Mead of nursing", developed the concept of transcultural nursing, which combined cultural factors with the nursing practice, in 1974. She has also written and helped to edit twenty-seven books, and founded the Journal of Transcultural Nursing to help support her ongoing research.
  • Jean Watson

    Jean Watson
    Jean Watson is the founder for the original center for Human Caring in Colorado and previously served as the dean of nursing at the University Health Sciences Center. She holds six honarary doctoral degrees, which includes three international honarary doctrates. Her Theory of Transpersonal Caring, also known as the Theory of Human Caring or The Caring Model, was developed in 1979, emphasizing the humanistic aspects on nursing with scientific knowledge.