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Margaret Arnstein. Right, with Secretary of HEW Oveta Culp Hobby. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (A018286).

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Arnstein, Margaret (27 October 1904–08 October 1972), public health nurse and educator, was born Margaret Gene Arnstein in New York City, the daughter of Leo Arnstein, a successful businessman, and Elsie Nathan, a volunteer social worker. She was exposed to public health nursing at an early age by her parents, both second-generation Jewish Americans of German heritage, who were involved with ...

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Mary F. Beard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103743).

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Beard, Mary (14 November 1876–04 December 1946), public health administrator, was born in Dover, New Hampshire, the daughter of Ithamar Warren Beard, an Episcopalian minister, and Marcy Foster. At the age of twelve she contracted diphtheria and was confined to her home for an extended convalescence, during which she was cared for by a kind visiting nurse. Deeply moved by the experience, she determined to devote her own life to nursing. She eventually dropped out of high school and then worked for several years as a private tutor in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1899 she enrolled in the New York Hospital School of Nursing. She graduated in 1903 and the next year began caring for sick people in their homes as a staff nurse for the year-old Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Waterbury, Connecticut....

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Dock, Lavinia Lloyd (26 February 1858–17 April 1956), nurse, suffragist, and social reformer, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Gilliard Dock and Lavinia Lloyd Bombaugh, landlords. Dock, who later came to think of herself as a feminist, received what she called an “oldfashioned and conventional” education at a local female academy. Her life was basically carefree until her mother died when Dock was eighteen, leaving her and her older sister with the responsibility of raising their four siblings....

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Fitzgerald, Alice (13 March 1875–10 November 1962), nurse and public-health administrator, was born Alice Louise Florence Fitzgerald in Florence, Italy, the daughter of Charles H. Fitzgerald and Alice Riggs Lawrdson. Her parents, both from Baltimore, Maryland, were independently wealthy and chose to live in Florence. Alice was taught by governesses, became proficient in English, French, German, and Italian, attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Florence, and then went to a finishing school in Switzerland....

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Gardner, Mary Sewall (05 February 1871–20 February 1961), pioneer of public health nursing, was born in Newton, Massachusetts, the daughter of William Sewall Gardner and Mary Thornton, a descendant of Matthew Thornton, who had signed the Declaration of Independence. Gardner graduated from Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, in 1890. Years later, she attended Newport Hospital Training School for Nurses, in Rhode Island, and graduated cum laude in 1905....

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Hopkins, Juliet Ann Opie (07 May 1818–09 March 1890), Civil War nurse and hospital administrator, was born on a plantation, “Woodburn,” in Jefferson County, Virginia, the daughter of Hierome Lindsay Opie, a planter and U.S. senator, and Margaret Muse Opie. English tutors prepared her for Miss Ritchie’s private school in Richmond. She returned home at age sixteen, after her mother’s death, to manage her father’s vast estate, including two thousand slaves....

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Pinn, Petra Fitzalieu (09 February 1881–21 February 1958), nursing administrator, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, the daughter of William H. Pinn and Lizzie Hicks. She attended the John Andrews Memorial School of Nursing at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and graduated on 24 May 1906. She later organized an alumni association, of which she served as president for many years. She returned to Tuskegee every April to participate in the Free Clinic, a community health fair. After graduation Pinn went to Montgomery, Alabama, as head nurse of the Hale Infirmary; she remained in this position for three years....