Guilford County



Learn more about the history of nursing in Guilford County

Greensboro Daily News   August 21, 1922  pg 6

Photo and document collections about nursing from UNC-G -


2LT Helen J Henley, 26--was assigned to the 803rd MAES. She was born in March 1920 and raised in Greensboro, NC. Helen attended Greensboro College and received her nurses training at St Leo's Hospital there. She volunteered for duty with the Army Nurse Corps in October 1943. Helen's first duty station was at Drew Field in Florida. Next she was sent to Will Rogers Field in Oklahoma City, OK. Helen visited her mother and three sisters in November 1944 before going overseas in December to the China-Burma-India theater of war. First she went to Karachi, then to Ledo in February. Helen volunteered to go on flight missions for emergency evacuation of the wounded. That's what she was doing this time also. The plane crashed only a mile from its take-off near Ledo on what was called the Stilwell Road. Helen's family was residing in New Castle, DE at the time of her death but returned to Greensboro after learning of her death. Her remains were returned to the family in May 1948 and they had her buried in the family plot in Greenhill Cemetery. Helen was survived by her mother Beulah Spencer and three sisters. Her father Edgar Henley had already passed away. 
Clara Peck, public health nurse (1914). -
  • Powell, W.S.  Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 5.  Pg 55 is about Clara Peck, the first Supervisor of the Nursing Department of the Guildford County Health Department.
  • Clara Peck, the first Nursing Supervisor of the Health Department in Guilford County.
  • Clara Peck
  • "Mother Peck:  tributes from those who knew her." (July 4th, 1926),  Greenboro Daily News:
  •   In 1909 a group of public spirited women in Greensboro organized the District
    Nurse and Relief Association and employed Clara Peck as the first public health
    nurse in town.  She made 7,750 visits in her first three years caring for anyone
    of any age with any condition who sought out her services.  Soon she focused her
    attention to the prevention and care of tubercular residents of the town.  The
    Greensboro Chapter of the Tuberculosis Association, using funds acquired from
    the sale of Christmas Seals, supplemented Peck’s income so she could devote more
    time to visiting Greensboro residents with tuberculosis in their homes to help
    them follow recommended treatments.  When Guilford County established a Health
    Department she served as the first Nursing Supervisor.  During the Spanish
    Influenza pandemic of 1918, Peck worked closely with the American Red Cross to
    care for victims of that disease.  When she died in 1926, the local papers
    remembered her with gratitude for her work among the sick and “fallen” of

Nurse Hannah Bullock was probably the first African American public health nurse in Guilford County:
  •  -

Anna Hill Cotton was the 2nd African American commnity nurse in Greensboro -

  • Bernice Whiteside Vietnam era nurse
  • The Smith Family Archives has a photograph of the grave marker and information about Laura Wesson, a Civil War nurse who died of small pox she contracted while taking care of patients at the Wayside Hospital in High Point.
  • Johnson, G. (1926).  The Samaritan of Elm Street: an unsolicited testimonial".  Greensboro Daily Record. Article about Nurse Clara Peck.
  • Clara Peck's obituary in the Greensboro Daily News.
  • Hannah BUllock, community health nurse

  Agnes Louise Kellam, a Knoxville General Hospital School of Nursing graduate (class of 1947), member of the WWII Cadet Nursing Corps, and retired Army Colonel was born in Guilford County.  Her tenant-farmer parents were killed in a car wreck when Agnes was 7, and she was raised by an older sister.  Agnes has fascinating stories about why she wanted to be a nurse, how the Cadet Corps was a golden opportunity, and all she saw in her military nursing career around the globe.  She saved patients with tetanus and gas gangrene.

Geneva Collins Hunt - Mrs. Hunt was born in 1907 in Asheville.  In 1929 she graduated from the St. Agnes Hospital School of Nursing.  Later, she received a Rosenwald Scholarship to study hosptial administation at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  From 1935 to 1948 she was Director of Nursing at L.Richardson Hosptial. In 1949 she becme a 1rst Lt in the US Army Nurse Corps at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C and later was in supervisory positions in Norfolk, Philadelphia and Welfare Island, NY.


1937 photo of Flora Blanchette who later became President of the NC Association of Negro Registered Nurses, Inc., and later the President of the Negro Nurse Association of the Carribean

 History of the Guilford County Health Department

Guilford County Hospitals

  • Elkins, W. (1969) The history of L. Richardson Memorial Hospital.  Journal of the National Medical Assn 61(3). pp 205-212.    Nursing Supervisors and superintendents included Mrs J. Reid (first Director of Nurisng), 1927 -1928,  Ruby Woodbury (Scarlett) 1928-1934,  Geneva Collins (Hunt) 1935-1948 and Mrs. T.C. Cobb.  The first class graduated in 1930 and one graduate, Mrs. Lillie Forte Barber joined the Health Department upon graduation and stayed 38 years, until her death in 1968. 
  • Sebastian, S.P. (1930).  The L. Richardson Memorial Hospital. Journal of the National Medical Assn 22(3).  142-144.   There are 5 graduate nurses, 20 nursing students and a new Nurses Home (thanks in part to Ruby Woodbury working with the Rosenwald Founation).
  • Sebastian Medical Museum exhibit about L. Richardson Memorial Hospital.
  • African American Hospitals in North Carolina: 39 Institutional Histories, 1880-1967




The Norlina Headlight 
Norlina, North Carolina
09 Jul 1920, Fri  •  Page 2


Schools of Nursing

  • Archival papers of the UNC-Greensboro School of Nursing, housed in the UNC- Greensboro Library.
  • Newspaper article about a capping ceremony at NC A&T school of nursing.
  • Information about St. Leos Hospital and School of Nurisng
  • Article and photographs of St. Leo's Hospital and School of Nursing found in the Greensboro Daily News May 3, 1936 page 7-C.
  • Historical information about High Point Memorial and the School of Nursing.
  • Elkins, W(1969). The history of L. Richardson Memorial Hospital: Greensboro, NC. J Natl Med Assoc. 1969 May; 61(3): 205-212
  • Information about the history of L. Richardson Memorial Hospital in the Journal of the National Medical Association.
  • Information about the history of L. Richardson Memorial Hospital provided by the Sebastain Medical Museum.
  • Photograph of the 1941 graduating class at L. Richardson Hospital in Greensboro.   
  • Photograph including an RN at the dedication of an expansion at L. Richardson Memorial Hospital.        



A Bennett College nurse assisting a student in 1939

 Unpublished speech about the early nursing history of Guilford County given by Dr. Eloise Lewis found in the Guilford Co. Medical History Library.

Reynolds, P. (1997).  Hospitals and Civil Rights 1945-1963Annals of Internal Medicine126(11). 898-906.  This article discusses the Simkins V. Moses Cone Memorial Hospital case which desegregated hospitals and health care facilities in the 4th judicial circuit of the United States.

1937 report of the Greensboro Nursing Council found in the NC State Archives.

1945 letter about industrial nurses in some textile plants in Greensboro.


African American Nurses living in the L. Richardson Hospital Nurses Home according to the 1930 US Census:

R A F Woodberry32
M E Smith36
C E Stokes29
L A Dennis28
A C Brown25
M N Steadman29
Ever Eaton22
R L Smith22
L B Forte20
Sadie Creek27
B Newton20
E C Horry21
Edna Baldwin20
Evon Brown20
Ruth Searty22
Inez Donnell25
Kathleen Whitehead19
Ruby Gillon19
Lenora Ransom19
Emily Johnston19
Mildred Moye19
Oneal Hayward20
Allo Martin21
Julia Chambers19
Malisa Chambers21







The Albemarle Press
Albemarle, North Carolina
17 Aug 1922, Thu  •  Page 2




From the Greensboro Daily News




The Twin-City Daily Sentinel 
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
19 Aug 1920, Thu  •  Page 14



Rocky Mount Telegram
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
02 Oct 1968, Wed  •  Page 6


Public Health Nurse for High Point 1917

The High Point Enterprise
High Point, North Carolina
11 Jan 1917, Thu  •  Page 5


Rocky Mount Telegram
Rocky Mount, North Carolina
30 Jan 1953, Fri  •  Page 1


The High Point Enterprise
High Point, North Carolina
15 Aug 1965, Sun  •  Page 37