Lillian Wald, 1867 - 1940
Lillian D. Wald was a practical idealist who worked to create a more just society. Her goal was to ensure that women and children, immigrants and the poor, and members of all ethnic and religious groups would realize America's promise of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
As a young nurse, Wald hoped to provide decent health care to residents of New York's Lower East Side tenements. Her work as the founder of the Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service demonstrated her masterful administrative talents, deep regard for humanity and skill at fundraising and publicizing. Championing the causes of public health nursing, housing reform, suffrage, world peace, and the rights of women, children, immigrants and working people, Wald became an influential leader in city, state, and national politics. Her tireless efforts to link the health of children with the health of nations made her a model of achievement, caring, and integrity throughout her lifetime. Although Wald achieved international recognition, her efforts were always grounded in the belief that the world was simply an expanded version of the culturally diverse neighborhood.