Women of Valor


WWI Work

Lillian Wald, 1867 - 1940

"The House made every effort to mitigate the sufferings of war. Though their load of work increased, our nurses took part in the parades; and there were always cheers and bouquets for the blue-clad women as we marched with the Red Cross. We carried no war standards. We were conservers of life."

During the war, Wald spent her time shuttling back and forth between New York and Washington. In New York, Wald volunteered Henry Street as the headquarters for wartime Red Cross and Food Council drives and spearheaded the NYC arm of the Children's Bureau Baby Saving Campaign. In Washington, Wald served as chair of the Committee on Home Nursing for the Council of National Defense. The Spanish influenza epidemic outbreak of 1918, however, captured Wald's undivided attention. Flying home to NYC, Wald recruited and rallied support for treatment centers that she established throughout the city. "A form for a handbill was drawn up, and given to the printer in a small shop in the neighborhood of Henry Street. He worked all night to print these. In the morning, dignified and discerning women stood on the steps at Altman's and Tiffany's Fifth Avenue shops and accosted passers-by. Before the day was half spent, hundreds of men and women came to the office to volunteer their services. At headquarters we were quick in sizing up, accepting, and assigning to their posts those who seemed competent." Wald and other nurses noted how the epidemic demonstrated the desperate need for trained nurses.

  1. "The House made every..." Lillian Wald, Windows on Henry Street. (New York: Little Brown and Company, 1934) 306.
  2. "A form for a handbill ..." Lillian Wald, Windows on Henry Street. (New York: Little Brown and Company, 1934) 97.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Lillian Wald - WWI Work." (Viewed on April 17, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/wald/wwi-work>.