Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science


American history, biography, Julia Catherine Stimson, nursing, women


Little is known or written about one of nursing's most enduring and productive leaders, Julia Catherine Stimson. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the life and character of Miss Stimson and to identify the many, diverse contributions which she made to the profession of nursing and to humanity. Additionally through an analysis of her leadership qualities, a profile of an effective nursing leader evolved. The historical method was used in this investigation. Data was collected for the study from the National Archives, the Center of Military History, the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center Archives, the New York Historical Society, the Yale University Archives, the Washington University Medical Archives, the Nursing Archives at Boston University, the Brearley School, Vassar College, Mount Holyoke College, the American National Red Cross and the Military Personnel Records Center. Articles in the professional and lay literature also provided rich data. Further biographical information was collected through interviews with individuals who were closely associated with Miss Stimson. Data analysis entailed organizing, integrating, and synthesizing the collected information into a logical sequence which was presented in the form of biography. Findings revealed that Miss Stimson was blessed with a superior ancestry, an ideal childhood, an excellent education, and an inherent drive to succeed. They further disclosed that she excelled in a multitude of roles. Nurse, social worker, soldier, educator, administrator, organizational activist, ethicist, economist, musician, writer, speaker, historian, prophet, humanitarian, patriot, and early feminist, Miss Stimson was a multi-faceted professional whose lengthy career was characterized by strong leadership and significant contributions. The study of Julia Stimson's life from her early years through her Army career, to her tenure as president of the American Nurses' Association has the potential to teach contemporary nurses much about effective leadership. Moreover, the investigation provides a model of a prolific life which modern nurses might emulate. It suggests that the preparation of detailed biographies of other successful nursing leaders might yield substantial benefits for the future.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons