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Bradley, Amy Morris (12 September 1823–15 January 1904), educator, Civil War nurse, and school founder, was born in East Vassalboro, Kennebec County, Maine, the daughter of Abiud Bradley, a shoemaker, and Jane Baxter. As a child Bradley suffered from bronchial problems, a vulnerability that plagued her throughout her life. When she was six, her mother died. Her seven older siblings and elderly father cared for her until she was thirteen; her father then moved away, and her married brothers and sisters took turns boarding her in their homes. From this experience she developed self-reliance and disinclination to marriage....

Article

Hawes, Harriet Ann Boyd (11 October 1871–31 March 1945), archaeologist and nurse, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Alexander Boyd, a manufacturer of fire-fighting equipment, and Harriet Fay Wheeler. She lost her mother before her first birthday and was raised by her father and four older brothers. She studied Latin, Greek, and economics at Smith College from 1888 to 1892. Not yet considered old enough to study nursing, an early and lifelong avocation, she taught classics at boarding and finishing schools until her father died in 1896....

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Mary Adelaide Nutting. Reproduction of a painting, early twentieth century. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113019).

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Nutting, Mary Adelaide (01 November 1858–03 October 1948), nurse educator, was born in Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Vespasion Nutting, a county clerk of the circuit court, and Harriet Sophia Peasley (earlier Peaselee). Before her birth the Nutting family had moved from Massachusetts to Quebec, joining the other New England Loyalists who had relocated in Canada after the American Revolution....

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Robb, Isabel Hampton (26 August 1860–15 April 1910), nursing educator and leader, was born Isabel Adams Hampton in Welland Ontario, Canada, the daughter of Samuel Hampton, the owner of a tailoring business, and Sarah Mary Lay. Young Isabel (nicknamed “Addie”) preferred reading to almost anything and was a good student in the local public school. After graduation she taught in a rural public school, where she was very successful at controlling unruly students and getting them to work together. While teaching, she also studied with a Mr. Henderson, the headmaster of the Collegiate Institute at St. Catherines, Ontario. He tutored her in the liberal arts or perhaps mathematics. Isabel was ambitious; she felt “wound up” much of the time and confided to a sister, “If I were a man I would stop at nothing; I would be prime minister of Canada.”...

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Betty Shabazz wife of the late Nation of Islam leader Malcolm X, shown in 1972. Associated Press

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Shabazz, Betty (28 May 1936?–23 June 1997), civil rights activist, educator, nurse, mother, was born Betty Dean Sanders, the daughter of Shelman Sandlin, a construction worker, and the teenager Ollie Mae Sanders from Pinehurst, Michigan. (Because her birth certificate is lost, scholars are uncertain about her place of birth.) Her young parents were unmarried—this was a social stigma in 1930s America—and her relationship with her mother was stormy. When she was eleven years old, she was adopted by Helen and Lorenzo Malloy, affluent, middle-class African American Methodists from Detroit, Michigan. Providing Shabazz with many social and material advantages, the Malloys also valued educational attainment, and they pushed her to excel in her classes and study hard. After graduating from high school, Shabazz enrolled in Alabama's Tuskegee University, then known as Tuskegee Institute, one of the nation's most distinguished places of higher education for African Americans. However, she was not happy there. Unaccustomed to the blatant racism of Jim Crow laws, she quickly decamped to New York City in 1956 to continue her studies....