Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Philanthropy, Social Services, Human Rights > 81. Lillian D. Wald

81.  Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940).  The House on Henry Street. Autograph manuscript, ca. 1915. RBML, Lillian Wald Papers

One of the most influential and respected social reformers of the 20th century, Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940) founded the Henry Street Settlement in 1893. She focused her energy on improving the health and hygiene of immigrant women on the impoverished Lower East Side. Wald devoted herself to the community full-time and within a decade the Settlement included a team of twenty nurses offering an astonishing array of innovative and effective social, recreational and educational services.

Wald pioneered public health nursing by placing nurses in public schools and with corporations. She founded the National Organization for Public Health Nursing and Columbia University's School of Nursing, becoming an international crusader for human rights and a labor activist. The Lillian Wald Papers focus on the administration of the Henry Street Settlement that she directed until 1932, and her involvement in numerous philanthropic and progressive causes. Her office files trace the founding and growth of the Settlement from 1895-1933. Other papers detail her activities on behalf of child welfare, civil liberties, immigration, public health, unemployment, the peace movement during World War I. The House on Henry Street • with Illustrations from Etchings and Drawings by Abraham Phillips and from Photographs was published by Henry Holt and Company in 1915. The book became a classic, influencing generations of nursing, sociology, and social welfare students.

Gift of the Visiting Nurse Service, through Mrs. Eva M. Reese, 1967

Columbia University Libraries / Butler Library / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-7309 /