Lavinia Dock

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Lavinia Lloyd Dock

Lavinia Lloyd Dock (February 26, 1858 – April 17, 1956)[1] was a nurse, feminist, author, pioneer in nursing education and social activist.[2] Dock was an assistant superintendent at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing under Isabel Hampton Robb. With Robb and Mary Adelaide Nutting, she helped to found the organization that would become the National League for Nursing. Dock was a contributing editor to the American Journal of Nursing and she authored several books, including (with M. Adelaide Nutting as co-author) a four-volume history of nursing and what was for many years a standard nurse's manual of drugs.[3] She campaigned for women's rights for many years.

Early life and career[edit]

Lavinia Dock was born one of six children in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on February 26, 1858. She received nursing training at the Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1886. By 1888, Dock was working with Jane Delano at a Florida hospital during a yellow fever outbreak.[4] Delano was a young nurse who later founded the American Red Cross Nursing Service. Dock wrote and published (with help from her father and brother) a book on therapeutic medicines in 1890.[5]


Dock went to Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in 1890, where she was assistant superintendent of the school under Isabel Hampton Robb.[4] In 1893, Dock, with the assistance of Robb and Mary Adelaide Nutting, founded the American Society of superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses of the United States and Canada, which became the National League for Nursing.

Later life[edit]

After her retirement from nursing, her activities included membership in the National Woman's Party, led by Alice Paul. Dock campaigned for woman suffrage by leading several protests, including pickets at the White House; she was arrested after militant demonstrations in June 1917, August 1917 and August 1918.[4] She participated in protest movements for women's rights that resulted in the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote. In addition, she campaigned for legislation to allow nurses rather than physicians to control their profession.

Dock died on April 17, 1956, after suffering a broken hip in a fall.[4]


The American Association for the History of Nursing has named an award in honor of Dock. The Lavinia L. Dock Award for Exemplary Historical Research and Writing recognizes outstanding writing and research in a book by an experienced scholar of nursing history.[6]


  • A history of nursing; the evolution of nursing systems from the earliest times to the foundation of the first... 
  • Text-book of Materia Medica for Nurses. 
  • Hygiene and Morality: A Manual for Nurses and Others, Giving an Outline of the Medical, Social, and Legal Aspects... 
  • History of American Red Cross Nursing. 


  1. ^ Biography of Lavinia Lloyd Dock.
  2. ^ Philips, Deborah (1999). "Healthy Heroines: Sue Barton, Lillian Wald, Lavinia Lloyd Dock and the Henry Street Settlement". Journal of American Studies. 33 (1): 65–82. doi:10.1017/S0021875898006070. 
  3. ^ Text-book of Materia Medica for Nurses in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
  4. ^ a b c d "Lavinia Lloyd Dock 1858 - 1956". American Association for the History of Nursing, Inc. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ Ogilvie, Marilyn (2000). The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science. Routledge. p. 362. ISBN 0-415-92038-8. 
  6. ^ "AAHN Research Awards". American Association for the History of Nursing, Inc. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 

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