Anna Caroline Maxwell – Nurse Corps, United States Army

Anna Caroline Maxwell (March 14, 1851 – January 2, 1929), nurse nicknamed the American Florence Nightingale.

Her pioneering activities were crucial to the growth of professional nursing in the U.S.


With no formal training, she first entered the nursing field as a matron at New England Hospital in 1874. She left in 1876 and spent two years in England before enrolling at Boston City Hospital Training School for Nurses.

In 1880 she was hired to start a training school at Montreal General Hospital. In 1881 she was offered the superintendency of the Training School for Nurses at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

In 1889 she moved to New York to be director of nursing at St. Luke's Hospital, and from there became superintendent of nursing at Presbyterian Hospital of New York from 1892-1921, and was the first director of the hospital's nursing school, which later became the Columbia University School of Nursing.

In the Spanish-American War she organized nurses for the military. Through her actions the Army Nurse Corps was established and nurses were later given officer rank. She helped design the uniform for U.S. army nurses.

During World War I, France awarded her the Medaille de l'Hygiene Publique (Medal of honor for Public Health).

With Amy E. Pope she wrote a textbook: Practical Nursing.

The first building to open at the new Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in 1928 was the home for the university's nursing school and was named Anna C. Maxwell Hall in her honor. Maxwell Hall was razed in 1984 to make room for a new hospital building, and the university established an endowed professorship at the nursing school in Maxwell's name.

She is one of the early women buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Columbia University awarded her an honorary master of arts degree.

Full Honors To Be Paid American Florence Nightingale In Arlington
Men and Women Associated With Famous Nurse Act As Honorary Pallbearers

WASHINGTON,  January 5, 1929 – Full military honors will be paid to the woman often called the “American Florence Nightingale” when funeral services for Anna Maxwell take place in Arlington National Cemetery herea t10:30 A.M.on Monday.

Miss Maxwell, who died in New York, is entitled to burial in Arlington and to military honors, the War Department announced today, on account of her service during the Spanish-American War. He age prevented her entry into service during the World War, but she made several inspection trips to France and rendered valuable service in the training of nurses, the department said.

The chapel of Union Theological Seminary was crowded yesterday at the funeral services for the dean of American nurses.  The Rev. Dr. Henry Sloan Coffin who officiated, paid an eloquent tribute in a prayer, to the character and career of Miss Maxwell, who established and for thirty years directed the nursing school of the Presbyterian Hospital.

The honorary pallbearers, all men and women who had been associated with Miss Maxwell in one way or more phases of her many activities as a teacher and organizer of nurses, including Drs. William Darrah, George E. Brewer, Linsley Williams, William P. Northrup, Ellsworth Eliot, Mrs. William K. Draper, Miss Adelaide Nutting, Miss Emily Clatworthy, Robert W. deForest, Dean Sage of Columbia and Frederick C. Sturgiss.

An earlier service was held in Anna C. Maxwell Hall at the Medical Center by the chaplain oft he hospital for physicians and nurses especially.

DATE OF DEATH: 01/02/1929

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