Lillian D. Wald Biography

Activist, Children's Activist, Women's Rights Activist, Nurse(1867–1940)
As a social worker, nurse and settlement leader, Lillian D. Wald committed her life to helping others.

Synopsis

To help the poor, Lillian D. Wald started the Visiting Nurse Service in 1893, and two years later she opened the Henry Street Settlement. Wald also worked on behalf of women’s rights and the welfare of children, establishing the Women’s Trade Union League and spearheaded a federal organization to help children. After years lobbying for this idea, the Children’s Bureau was established in 1912.

Profile

Public health advocate, nurse, and social worker. Born on March 10, 1867, in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a social worker, nurse, public health advocate, and settlement leader, Lillian D. Wald committed her life to helping others. A firm believer in pacifism, she helped lead the first women's peace march in 1914.

Soon after graduating from the New York Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1891, Lillian D. Wald experienced first-hand the poor living conditions of those residing in the city's tenements. To help this struggling population, she started the Visiting Nurse Service in 1893. Two years later, she established the Henry Street Settlement to further aid those in need.

In addition to public health, Lillian D. Wald worked on behalf of women's rights and the welfare of children. To help women in the workforce, she helped establish the Women's Trade Union League in 1903. Two years later, Wald came up with the idea of establishing a federal organization to help children and to end the practice of child labor. She spent years lobbying for this idea to become a reality--the Children's Bureau was established in 1912.

With the outbreak of World War I in Europe in 1914, Lillian D. Wald was moved to action. With social reformer Jane Addams and others, she formed the American Union Against Militarism that year. Wald and Fanny Garrison Villard led a march of more than 1,000 women in New York City to protest the war on August 29, 1914. She also joined the Woman's Peace Party around that time. Wald later helped create the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Lillian D. Wald died on September 1, 1940, in Westport, Connecticut. Her accomplishment in the fields of health and public service show what how large a difference one person can make. Some of the programs she started are still running today, such as the Henry Street Settlement and her visiting nurse service in New York.

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