A nurse and leader, first chairman of the National Committee on Red Cross Nursing, and mobilizer of nurses recruitment during WWI.
Born in 1862 at Montour Falls, NY, Jane Arminda Delano’s life was devoted strictly to the profession of nursing. She studied at Cook Academy of her hometown and later graduated Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing in New York City.
Her career included working and volunteering in various States, taking on leadership roles as nurses superintendent in hospitals and the US Army Nurse Corps, eventually chairing the American Red Cross Nursing Service. She worked intensively, at one point fulfilling four different positions, only taking two years off to treat her dying mother.
Her life was largely informed by wars – losing her father without knowing him in the Civil War, joining the New York Red Cross during Spanish-American War, and her most notable achievement for US history: recruiting more than 20,000 nurses to serve in World War I.
She was considered a pioneer in raising public health awareness – with initiatives such as a popular course and the textbook Elementary Hygiene and Home Care of the Sick.
Her efforts are also noted in advancing and dignifying the professional status of nurses in her capacity as president of the Board of Directors of the American Journal of Nursing and president of the American Nurses Association.
She died at the age of 57 from illness while on a mission to visit nurses in post-war France. Five hundred nurses attended her funeral in Savenay, France. The following year her body was relocated to Arlington National Cemetery in the US, where a memorial with a statue in her image was erected.
The public records of her story include almost no mentioning of personal life, such as loves, children, or hobbies.
“I can’t say that anything romantic or sentimental determined me to be a nurse… I think the nurse’s profession is a fine one, and I like it”
More Interesting Anecdotes:
- She was accepted to Nurse Corps reserve based on a minor forgery: together with two colleagues, she applied despite being older than the maximum 45 year age limit.
- In her position of superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps, she traveled to Hawaii, the Philippines, China, and Japan to supervise the working conditions of nurses.
- While working in Bellevue Hospital School, she insisted that students will be called ”nurses” instead of the custom calling them “girls”.
- She was honored with a stamp of her image issued by the Republic of Mali in the year 2000.
- When serving as a superintendent of nurses in Florida, she introduced the use of mosquito nets to prevent the spread of yellow fever, before it was proven that mosquitoes carry the disease.
- She studied to become a physician but quit before graduating to go back to nursing.
- She is a distant relative of US 32nd President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.