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Nursing- Legacy: History of Nursing

Created by Health Science Librarians

History of Nursing

This guide will direct you to some general resources on the history of the nursing profession, as well as some documents that the Health Sciences Library has in our special collections. If you're doing a project or a paper on this topic, these resources will help you get started, and direct you to other resources as well. You can also find more books on the topic by searching the UNC Online Catalog. If you're having trouble finding what you need, come by the Health Sciences Library or use the HSL's Ask a Librarian page. We'll be happy to help!

General Sources on Nursing History

UNC has all of these books in our libraries, some online as well as in print. They provide good overviews of the history of nursing practice.

Nurse Biographies

The UNC libraries have many biographies of well-known or important figures in nursing history, and quite a few nurses have published their own memoirs and stories, as well. Here are just a few of these books--to find more, search the library catalog for "nurse biographies" or something similar.


Guide authored by Chana Kraus-Friedberg

UNC Special Collections

The Lady with the Lamp

"Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East"


These two journals are dedicated specifically to the history of nursing.


These are databases you can access through the UNC libraries with your Onyen. They include short biographies and articles about well-known figures--including many nurses.


These websites contain quite a bit of information on nursing history, and many will direct you to additional web resources on the topic.