Durham County

County History: 
Quick Facts
  • County seat: Durham, NC
  • Population: ~327,306 (2020 census estimate)
  • Home of Research Triangle Park, Duke and NC Central Universities
  • Durham county website
People and Biographies
Notable individuals from nursing history.
  • Patty H. Carter (1910s): Carter was a graduate of Lincoln School of Nursing, and administrator of Lincoln Hospital for several years. (Photograph of Patty H. Carter, source unknown).
  • Donna Allen Harris (1949- ): First African American graduate of Duke University School of Nursing, 1971.
  • Johnea Kelly (1928-2021): NCCU faculty member and nursing educator, named outstanding educator by the Black Women's Professional Association.
  • Julia Latta Tinnin (Tinnen) (1867-1939): First African American public health nurse in Durham County, and Director of Nursing at Lincoln Hospital from 1903-1910. She served the county during the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918.
  • Lucille Zimmerman Williams (1907-1971): Williams was a public health and field nurse throughout her career, and Director of Nursing at Lincoln Hospital.
Additional resources for further research.

Health Care Institutions


  • Durham Historic Photographic Archives images related to "nursing" available through Durham County Public Library digital collections.
  • "Negro Durham Marches On" [film by Don Parisher]. Held by Durham County Public Library's North Carolina Collection. A 1948 movie highlighting African American accomplishments and life in Durham.  The film includes footage of nurses at Lincoln Hospital and at NC College (now NC Central University). An article about the preservation of the film, written by Laura Brache, was published in The News & Observer on December 21, 2021 (PDF copy available).
  • Oakley, Maxie [interview] (1979). Available from UNC's Southern Oral History Program. Oakley was a nurse at Watts Hospital.
  • Thorpe, Elizabeth William [photograph] available from CHAAMP Resources. Description: Delivery of babies at Lincoln Hospital of Durham, North Carolina, usually occurred in the operating suites under the direction of an obstetrician and a surgical nurse. Newly delivered infants would stay in the newborn nursery until they were determined to be healthy to go home.
  • Watts Hospital. Ambulance & Nurse. ca. 1940 [photograph]. Gleaming white ambulance (a Rolls?) with Red Cross insignia, is parked in front of main entrance of the hospital. Nurse stands beside the side door. Available through Durham County Public Lirbary digital collection.
  • WTVD Moving Images Collection, 1963-1992 and undated [Finding aid, Collection number 04929]. Available from NC Central University James E. Shepard Memorial Library collections. Includes two videotapes (VT) of interest to nursing history:
    • VT 4929/217: "Black Nurses" aired April 20, 1985
    • VT 4929/522: "The Nursing Shortage" aired May 20, 1990

Newspaper Clippings

Compiled by: 
Phoebe Pollitt