This site is being developed as a virtual museum/archive and tribute to the amazing women who received their professional training as nurses at the Knoxville General Hospital School of Nursing between the years 1902 and 1956.

We hope you will share your memories or the memories and treasures of women in your life who were among 900 or so graduates of KGH School of Nursing.  Physical artifacts and documents are deposited at the KGH permanent exhibit in the Museum at Mountain Home (VA Medical Center), Johnson City, Tennessee.

Because KGH was influential in the training and practice of nursing regionally and nationally, we decided to include historic information about other nursing schools and individuals when the information is relevant to KGH, Knoxville, or nursing in East Tennessee.

With great respect for the amazing women who became trained nurses during the early 20th Century, and on their behalf, we welcome you.

Often in historical research, scholars are required to answer the question of “so what? — why is this research important?”  The answer in this instance is simple: 

These women existed. 

They pursued and practiced a relatively new profession in a time when social standards said women weren’t supposed to work.  These pioneer nurses were every bit as important as the suffragettes who were their contemporaries. 

They persisted and excelled in the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers. They established legacies, scholarships, protocols, and more. They set the standard for public health provision in rural Appalachia. Many volunteered for military service. One was regionally and nationally active in women’s suffrage.

Most overcame significant challenges and were on the forefront of social change, but they did not think of themselves as members of a cultural movement. Instead, they unanimously proclaimed their focus was on individuals who needed care.

Graduates of Knoxville General Hospital School of Nursing changed the world, one act at a time.

And for that reason, they should be remembered, individually and collectively.


This site is administered by (Ms.) Billie R. McNamara.  Please click here to send all comments and questions to her.

We regret we are unable to assist you with research into individuals associated with KGH School of Nursing.  However, we will gratefully receive all information you can provide about students and others for our pages.