Welcome to the American Association for the
History of Nursing! 

The American Association for the History of Nursing (AAHN) is a professional organization open to everyone interested in the history of nursing. 


A Message from the AAHN President

January 2020

Photo credit: American Red Cross

Yes, winter is officially here! And today, with snow accumulating rapidly in my driveway, I could not help but think of this image of a 1927 public health nurse digging out her car in this rural setting.[1] Clearly, reaching patients in remote regions of the United States in the 1920s was no easy feat! In Nursing Rural America, historian Sandra Lewenson documents the history of the Town and Country nurses and the challenges that Red Cross nurse Christine Higgins faced in her work in rural Maine. Writing to her supervisor, Higgins described her unconventional uniform and her travel issues as she made her way from island to island to provide health teaching: 

. . . My uniform consists of rubber boots, army breeches, short skirt, flannel shirt and a sheepskin-lined coat.  The mud is very deep. . . and the highways and byways of Cranberry Isle are not yet paved. . . Still we do have a Ford. . .  I am going to Islesford next week and then hope to have a horse for transportation. . . [2] 

If you’re feeling snowbound, or just hibernating with the winter doldrums, you might read Lewenson’s chapter.  It will certainly help you appreciate your circumstances.  :)

And, if you’re itching to get away from it all, plan now to attend our AAHN conference in Chester, UK, in September of this year – and perhaps join us for the post-conference tour to Scotland!  Reserve your space in the conference now with a refundable deposit! In the meantime, “whilst” you are deciding, write that abstract and submit it as soon as possible.  Having it accepted for presentation or poster will certainly help you decide. 

Warm wishes for a wonderful, healthy and productive New Year! 

Arlene W. Keeling PhD, RN, FAAN
email: [email protected].

[1] See cover:  John Kirchgessner and Arlene Keeling, Nursing Rural America: Perspectives from the Early 20th Century, (New York: Springer Publishing, 2015)
[2] Sandy Lewenson, “Chapter 1: Town and Country Nursing,” in Kirchgessner and Keeling, Nursing Rural America, pp. 5-6.

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The Benefits of Membership

History provides current nurses with the same intellectual and political tools that determined nursing pioneers applied to shape nursing values and beliefs to the social context of their times. Nursing history is not an ornament to be displayed on anniversary days, nor does it consist of only happy stories to be recalled and retold on special occasions. Nursing history is a vivid testimony, meant to incite, instruct and inspire today's nurses as they bravely tread the winding path of a reinvented health care system.
To find out about these nursing pioneers and their efforts, join the American Association for the History of Nursing.
Click here to join

Thank You to Our 2019 Conference Sponsors! 

Thank you to all who helped make the AAHN 36th Annual Conference a success and a huge thank you to our sponsors!

Click here for photos from the 2019 Conference.






We look forward to the 2020 Conference in Chester, England.
September  10-12, 2020
Click here for more information.


            BREAKING NEWS             

The American Association for the History of Nursing is proud to support The U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Recognition Act in honor of the thousands of Cadet Nurses who studied and served under the U.S. Cadet Corps program in World War II.

About Friends of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps World War II

This group was formed to pass the 2018 bipartisan legislation, "U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps Service Recognition Act." It was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives as HR7258 and in the U.S. Senate as Senate Bill 3729.  There is no financial or VA benefits. These women of the Greatest Generation only request to be honored as Veterans of WWII with an American flag and a gravesite plaque forever marking their proud service to our country during wartime in the United States Cadet Nurse Corps.  

Action Needed:  Be a  "Friend" of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps WWII.  
How:  Simply let your U.S. Senators and House Representatives know that passing this new bill is important to you by going to their website and clicking on the button.