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COLLECTION Identifier: A-137

Papers of Mary Sewall Gardner, 1902-2000


Correspondence, school notebooks, articles, speeches, etc., of Mary Sewall Gardner, nurse.


  • 1902-2000

Language of Materials

Materials in English, French, Italian, Polish, or Chinese.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Mary Sewall Gardner is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. 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.


1.88 linear feet ((4+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio folder, 1 photograph folder, 2 folio photograph folders)

The collection includes correspondence, Mary Sewall Gardner's school notebooks for 1902 and 1904, manuscripts relating to public health nursing, and materials for a study during the 1930's of public health nursing throughout the world. Additional material (accession number 2001-M51) was added to the collection in January 2017. This material is located in #66-79.


Mary Sewall Gardner was born in 1871 in Newton, Massachusetts, to William Sewall Gardner and Mary Thornton Gardner. She was raised in Providence, Rhode Island. Gardner attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, graduating in 1890. Near the age of thirty she enrolled in the Newport Hospital Training School for Nurses. Following graduation (1905) she became director of the Providence District Nursing Association where she served until her retirement in 1931. In 1912, she helped to organize the National Organization for Public Health Nursing with Lillian Wald and others in order to insure that properly-trained nurses were available with the increased interest in public health during the early part of the twentieth century. She served as its president (1913-1915). In 1916 she published Public Health Nursing, which was revised and republished several times and translated into several languages. During World War I she served in the Red Cross in Europe, eventually serving in the Commission for Tuberculosis of the American Red Cross in Italy. In the post-war years she helped to organize public health nursing internationally. Gardner died in 1961 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Updated and additional material added: January 2017

By: Mark Vassar

Accession number: 552. Accession number 2001-M51 was added in January 2017.

Gift of the Providence District Nursing Association of Providence, Rhode Island received February 1963, and of the Visiting Nurse Association of Rhode Island, March 2001.


The following item has been removed from this collection and cataloged as part of the monograph collection at the Schlesinger Library:

  1. Report of the Commission for Tuberculosis, American Red Cross in Italy, an Attempt to Establish a Method of International Cooperation in Public Health and Welfare Work ... Supplementary Report on Nursing, Mary L. [sic] Gardner. Rome, 1919.


  1. Box 1: 1-24
  2. Box 2: 25-37
  3. Box 3: 38-58
  4. Box 4: 59-71v
  5. Box 5: 72v-79
Gardner, Mary Sewall. Papers of Mary Sewall Gardner, 1902-2000: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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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