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COLLECTION Identifier: A/H747

Papers of Lydia Holman, 1914-1990


Reports, letters and biographical information documenting the work of public health nurse Lydia Holman.


  • 1914-1990

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals closed; use digital images.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lydia Holman as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


5 folders

The papers of Lydia Holman document Holman's work as a public health nurse in North Carolina. The collection is mostly composed of excerpts of letters and reports Holman sent to the "Boston Committee," an organization which supported her work. These letters and reports detail the finances of her infirmary, requests for items such as clothing and toys, community activities, and often contain graphic illustrations of poverty, particularly during the Great Depression. Also included are photocopies of articles about Holman, and biographical information including obituaries, medical records, and a death certificate.


Lydia Holman, public health nurse, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 5, 1868. She graduated from the Philadelphia Training School for Nurses in 1895 and served as a nurse during the Spanish-American War. In 1900, Holman traveled to Ledger in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to care for a typhoid patient. She became interested in the rural community there and addressing its public health needs. After receiving additional training in caring for children and midwifery, she returned to Ledger and began practicing as a nurse and social worker. She eventually opened an infirmary in Altapass, North Carolina. Committees in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York supported her work with donations. Holman died February 25, 1960.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 73

The papers of Lydia Holman were given to the library by Eleanor W. Allen in 1960 and Phoebe Pollitt in 1992.

Processing Information

Re-processed: June 2020

By: Paula Aloisio

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by gifts from the Radcliffe College Class of 1957 Schlesinger Library Fund and the Gerard Schlesinger Library Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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