Wald, Lillian D.

Wald, Lillian D.

(wôld), 1867–1940, American social worker and pioneer in public health nursing. In 1893 she organized a visiting nurse service, which became the nucleus of the noted Henry Street Settlement in New York City. The U.S. Children's Bureau (founded 1912) was suggested by her, as were other public health services and social reforms.

Bibliography

See her autobiographical books The House on Henry Street (1915) and Windows on Henry Street (1934, 4th ed. 1937); biographies by R. L. Duffus (1938) and B. W. Epstein (1960).

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Wald, Lillian D.

(1867–1940) public health nurse, settlement leader; born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Among the greatest of a generation of outstanding social workers, she was a gifted fundraiser, a pacifist, and a child welfare activist, and is best known as a founder of public health nursing and related services through establishment of the Nurses' Settlement at 265 Henry Street, New York City (1895). She created the first public school nursing program in the United States (1902), assisted in establishing a nursing program for industrial policyholders by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and was a prime mover (1910) in the establishment of a nursing and health department at Teachers College of Columbia University. At her initiative, the American Red Cross established the precursor to the Town and Country Nursing Service (1912). She was the first president and one of the founders of the National Organization for Public Health Nursing (1912). Equally influential in social service, by 1913 her Henry Street Visiting Nurses Service had a staff of 92, making 200,000 visits annually, along with first aid stations and convalescent facilities. Concerned for children, she was a founder of the National Child Labor Council (1904). Optimistic, warm, unselfconsciously tolerant, she is also known for her realistic understanding of the complexities of community life.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.