Columbians Ahead of Their Time
 Anna Caroline Maxwell
Anna Caroline Maxwell

"Can a higher service be rendered mankind than is in our power to give?"

Anna Caroline Maxwell (1851–1929)
Faculty 1892–1921
AM 1917 (hon.)

The founder of Columbia's School of Nursing, Maxwell dedicated her career to elevating the nursing profession's educational standards. During the Spanish-American War, she trained nurses to serve American troops at a Georgia field hospital, improving sanitary conditions and reducing the number of typhoid fatalities. During World War I, she prepared nurses for active military service and visited hospitals at the military front in Europe. Her efforts led to the establishment of the Army Corps of Nurses and the awarding of military rank to nurses. She also was honored by the French government for her wartime work.

As superintendent of nurses and the guiding spirit of Presbyterian Hospital Training School for Nurses from 1892 to 1921, Maxwell steadily expanded the program. The school became affiliated with Teachers College in 1917 with the establishment of a five-year program that led to a bachelor of science degree from Columbia University and a nursing diploma from Presbyterian Hospital. The school became a department of the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1937. Maxwell retired from active nursing in 1921, but Columbia called her out of retirement to help make the nursing school's new home a reality. She ultimately raised half a million dollars for Anna C. Maxwell Hall, which opened in 1928 as the first building of the new medical center. Generations of nurses received their educations there until it was demolished in 1984 to make room for the Milstein Hospital Building. The School of Nursing now resides on 168th Street.

The School of Nursing

Nursing's place at Columbia

Wartime nursing

Columbians in the two world wars.

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Columbians Ahead of Their Time

Columbians have changed the world and how we see it.

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