Courtesy of Library of Congress

Lillian Wald 1867-1940

A national leader for social reform, Lillian Wald is known as trendsetter in public health and social welfare. She was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and at the age of 22 moved to New York to study nursing. Hoping to provide health care to residents of the Lower East Side, Wald founded the Visiting Nurse Service and then the Henry Street Settlement. By 1903, she was directing eighteen nursing centers that treated 4,500 patients. She wrote several books, including The House on Henry Street (1915), which is now a classic for students of nursing, sociology, and social welfare. Wald led the fight to provide public playgrounds, cultural institutions, and employment for low-income and minority communities, and was active in the conference that led to the founding of the NAACP.