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ExhibitionThe Power of Medicine

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  • White female nurse stands with Chinese woman and seven children.
    A Henry Street nurse with a Chinese family, 1930s

    A nurse from the Henry Street Settlement with a Chinese family in the Bronx, New York, 1930s

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Public health nurses, often hired by community organizations, provided care and instruction to immigrant and poor families in both urban and rural areas.

  • Chart showing nurse visits. Units represented as outline of nurse in hat and cape.
    “Visits 1905–1935”

    The number of patient visits from the Henry Street Visiting Nurse Service greatly increased between 1905 and 1935

    Courtesy Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries

    By the 1930s, the demand for visiting nurses in New York City increased significantly. Nurses were especially in demand due to the rise of chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

  • 16 White immigrant women and children stand with White female nurse.
    “Mother’s club,” 1930s

    A nurse from the Henry Street Settlement with a parent education class known as a “mother’s club,” New York, 1930s

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Neighborhood women organized in Mothers’ Clubs to share experiences and hear advice from the professional nurses of the Henry Street Visiting Nurse Service.

  • White female nurse stands over a baby lying on a table.
    A nurse teaching infant care, 1930s

    A nurse from the Henry Street Settlement teaches proper infant bathing techniques to new mothers, New York, 1930s

    Courtesy National Library of Medicine

    Visiting nurses from the Henry Street Settlement demonstrated hygiene and baby care techniques to new mothers in the surrounding neighborhoods.