Jane Arminda Delano – Director of Army Nurse Corps

Born at Townsend, New York, on March 12, 1862, she graduated from the Bellevue Hospital of Nursing, New York City, in 1886.

She worked as Superintendent of Nursing at a hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, 1887; at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital School of Nursing, 1891-96; Director, Girls Department, House of Refuge, Randall’s Island, New York, 1900-02; Director, Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing, 1902-06; Chairman, National Commission, American Red Cross Nursing Service (the reserve of the Army Nurse Corps) and President, American Journal of Nursing, 1909-12; in charge of the selection and assignment of all military nursing units, World War I, 1918.

She went to France during World War I and died at the Saveny Base Hospital in that country on April 15, 1919. She was buried in Section 21 of Arlington National Cemetery.

Jane Delano

  • Born:March 12,1862, near Townsend, Schuyler County, New York
  • Died: April 15, 1919

Jane Delano had numerous encounters with wars. Her father had died in the civil war, and during the Spanish-American War, she became involved with the Red cross as a volunteer nurse. In 1909, Miss Delano was appointed superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps. For so dynamic a woman, one challenge is not enough. The same year, she was named chairman of the National Committee on Red Cross Nursing Service and worked simultaneously as president of the American Nurses’ Association and as chairman of the board of directors of the American Journal of Nursing.

Twenty years of innovative nursing had given Miss Delano an understanding of the country’s need for more trained nurses, particularly for service in isolated areas and in emergencies. She urged a plan that would place responsibility for recruiting nurses–for emergency service with the Red Cross– entirely in the hands of nurses themselves. State and local committees were set up under the plan, which worked so
well that by 1911 there were 1,300 nurses enrolled.

From 1909, when the Red Cross Nursing Service was founded, until 1917 when the United States entered the first world war, Miss Delano created programs of powerful significance in American life. The Red Cross course in elementary hygiene and home care of the sick for which Miss Delano and Isabel McIssac wrote the first textbook, gained great popularity. Classes in home dietetics followed. In 1912, the Red Cross Town and Country Nursing Service was established to provide skilled nursing care and health instruction in remote rural regions. The same year, Miss Delano resigned from the Army Nurse Corps to devote herself full time as a volunteer to the Red Cross.

Miss Delano remained on the home front during the war to handle the administration of the overseas nursing operation and to design an expanded postwar domestic Red Cross nursing program. Following the Armistice in November 1918, she went to Europe to make a tour of inspection and to attend an international nursing conference. Exhausted as she was by years of hard work she nonetheless set about, immediately upon her arrival in France, to make visits to the hospitals where American nurses were serving. In the severe weather of January 1919 she became ill with an ear infection. After treatment, she rallied briefly and continued her work. Later, several mastoid operations were performed, but her condition steadily worsened and she died on April 15, 1919. Her last words were, “I must get back to my work.”

Miss Delano was buried in the American military cemetery at Savenay, France. Seventeen months later her body was brought home for interment on a hillside in Arlington National Cemetery. Her grave is surrounded by the white markers of other nurses, who share honors with America’s soldier dead.

The Above Exert was taken from Jane Delano; Innovator in Nursing.

Jane Delano was posthumously awarded the Red Cross Distinguished Service Medal in gold, and A monument was constructed in her honor, which stands in the Arlington National Cemetery over the nurses section.


  • DATE OF DEATH: 04/15/1919
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 09/18/1920








“September 18, 1920 — Grave of Miss Jane Delano – One of the last of the gold stars to be added to the Service Flag of the American Red Cross Department of Nursing in memory of nurses who lost their livesin war service, it that of Miss Jane A. Delano, director-general of the department, who died at Savenay, France, April 15, 1919.  She was buried temporarily in the military cemetery at Savenay, among the American soldiers who fell in France, and when miltiary regulations permitted, her body was brought back to America.  She had expressed a wish to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Photo From the American Red Cross – A 43983

NOTE: The information stenciled on the side of the casket reads: “From Zone Commander France – A.G.R.S. in Europe.”

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