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.