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Nurses: On the Job

What do we see when we look closely?

Examine this photograph produced as a postcard to document a meeting of the National Organizations of Nurses in New Orleans, 1916.
Roll over different areas of the postcard to discover answers to the questions below.

    • Q1Can you identify the social class of the women in the front row (left)?
    • A1A wide brimmed, highly decorated hat was an indication of a woman's middle-class, respectable status in society. The leaders of the public health movement, such as Lillian Wald who founded the National Organizations of Public Health Nurses in 1912 (unidentified in this photograph), were members of this group in society.
    • Q2Can you spot any men at the meeting?
    • A2Men are virtually invisible in nursing by the early 20th century due to the variety of other work available to them. Only a very few men became involved in the public health movement.
    • Q3Can you see any African American nurses?
    • A3Although only a very few African American women are visible in this photograph, women such Jessie Sleet, Elizabeth Tyler, and Edith Carter pioneered community health nursing in New York's African American community. The National Organizations of Nurses was the only professional association to admit African American nurses at this time.
Large room filled with several dozen White women looking forward.
1 2 3

A Meeting of the National Organizations of Nurses, New Orleans, LA, 1916

    • Q1Can you identify the social class of the women in the front row (left)?
    • A1A wide brimmed, highly decorated hat was an indication of a woman's middle-class, respectable status in society. The leaders of the public health movement, such as Lillian Wald who founded the National Organizations of Public Health Nurses in 1912 (unidentified in this photograph), were members of this group in society.
    • Q2Can you spot any men at the meeting?
    • A2Men are virtually invisible in nursing by the early 20th century due to the variety of other work available to them. Only a very few men became involved in the public health movement.
    • Q3Can you see any African American nurses?
    • A3Although only a very few African American women are visible in this photograph, women such Jessie Sleet, Elizabeth Tyler, and Edith Carter pioneered community health nursing in New York's African American community. The National Organizations of Nurses was the only professional association to admit African American nurses at this time.
  • 1Can you identify the social class of the women in the front row (left)?
  • 2Can you spot any men at the meeting?
  • 3Can you see any African American nurses?