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Mary Gross Finney was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She was a member of the first class of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses, receiving her diploma in 1891. She married Dr. John M. T. Finney, a Johns Hopkins surgeon and instructor in 1892. During World War I she organized Red Cross workers to provide aid to Base Hospital 18 where her husband was stationed. During World War II she organized groups of women to supply dressings and clothing for Britain. For this work she received a civilian gallantry medal from the British government in 1948. She was the only American woman to be awarded the “King’s Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom.”

Scope and Content

The Mary Gross Finney Collection consists of her nursing diploma and a student notebook on nutrition. Notes are from a course taught in the Diet Kitchen by Miss Mary Boland in 1890. This was the first course of this kind to be offered in a school of nursing. The notebook contains mainly recipes to be used by nurses in the care of patients. Miss Boland, a graduate of Boston Cooking School, published a book based on this course in 1893, A Handbook of Invalid Cookery.

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