America’s first trained nurse born in Potsdam

America’s first trained nurse, Linda Richards (1841-1930), was born Melinda Ann Judson Richards, the daughter of an itinerant preacher. The family moved from Potsdam to Wisconsin and eventually to Vermont when Linda was very young. In 1873, she received her diploma from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury, Massachusetts, becoming the first graduate of an American training school. Working in England with Florence Nightingale, establishing the first nursing school in Japan, and introducing home care for the poor in slum areas of Philadelphia are among Richards’ many accomplishments. Her diploma is in the archives at the Smithsonian Institution. 1873. Potsdam, NY. Painting by Cordelia Loring Brooks.

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