ANA Hall of Fame Inductee
Upon graduation from the Newport Hospital Training School for Nurses, Rhode Island, Mary Sewall Gardner became superintendent and later director of the Providence District Nursing Association. During her 26-year leadership, the association became one of the most progressive public health agencies in the nation.
Gardner remained with the association until her retirement in 1931, although she took several leaves of absence to engage in professional activities in the U.S. and abroad. Gardner urged the establishment of the National Organization for Public Health Nursing, where she later served as president. In 1918, she accepted the wartime position of chief nurse of the American Red Cross Tuberculosis Commission for Italy to direct Red Cross efforts during the war. She is perhaps best known for her book, Public Health Nursing, the first American text on the subject. In recognition of her pioneering efforts in public health nursing, she received an honorary master's degree from Brown University, Rhode Island. She also received the Walter Burns Saunders Medal for distinguished service to nursing.