Alma E. Foerster
Alma E. Foerster (1885–1967) was an American nurse who worked in both civilian and military care. She began her career as a public health nurse in Chicago and during the First World War helped establish hospitals in Kiev, for which she received the Cross of Saint Anna. She worked in Romania, receiving the Order of the Cross of Queen Marie for her service, before being sent on a humanitarian mission to Archangel, Russia. As one of only two American Red Cross nurses in Archangel, she provided assistance at the military surgical hospital, while the other nurse assisted with civilian nursing. She was one of the inaugural recipients of the Florence Nightingale Medal in 1920. After her return to the United States, she worked in the United States Public Health Service as a nurse, instructor and director of nursing in Chicago, Mobile, Ann Arbor and Racine, before returning to Chicago where she ended her career.
Alma E. Foerster
|Died||August 1, 1967 82) (aged|
|Known for||An inaugural recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal, who had service in Archangel, Russia during the Russian Revolution.|
Alma E. Foerster was born on 25 July 1885 in Ontarioville, Cook County, Illinois to Friederike (née Boerner) and Rev. Paul Foerster, who were German immigrants. Foerster obtained a diploma from Presbyterian School of Nursing in Chicago in 1910.
Foerster's career began as a public health nurse working with the Infant Welfare and Jewish Aid Societies of Chicago. In 1911, she enrolled as a relief nurse with the American Red Cross and began working at Michael Reese Hospital. She joined the disaster relief nurses of the Red Cross to help with the 1913 Ohio flood. In September 1914, Foerster went with a contingent of Red Cross nurses from Chicago to establish a hospital in Kiev. In June, 1915, Foerster, along with Charlotte Burgess, Alice Gilbourne and Rachel Torrance were transferred from the Kiev units to the Serbian Units. They returned in August to the United States and Foerster was recognized by the Russian government with the Cross of Saint Anna for her service. Forester began working at the Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago, where she remained until 1916. Simultaneously, she was working at the Rush Medical Dispensary, where she served as head nurse. In 1917, the Red Cross sent her to Romania and after serving for a year, she was awarded with a brevet order third class for her service from the Romanian government. The following year, she was awarded the Order of the Cross of Queen Marie by the Romanian government.
From Romania, Foerster was sent to Archangel, Russia where she served until 1919. The Russian assignment, included a party of eleven members, two of whom were nurses, Forester and a New Jersey nurse, Beatrice M. Gosling. Their task was to deliver 4,200 tons of food and medical supplies to civilians in Archangel, but when they arrived, they realized the conditions were much worse than had been anticipated. Intense fighting between the Bolshevik forces, White Army and Allied troops from the British and U.S. Armies during the Russian Civil War had left a dire situation. Civilians, cut off by ice and conflict had to depend on the humanitarian aid provided by the small Red Cross and YWCA units. The nurses who were serving at the hospital were facing starvation and were willing to care for the troops in exchange for food. Gosling ended up helping with civilian relief while Forester assisted in the operating room of a small "Annex" hospital set up in a chapel by the Red Cross to care for wounded and sick soldiers. When the ice finally broke in the spring of 1919, Gosling and Foerster were returned to the U.S. and the American Red Cross Hospital was closed. Upon her return, Foerster became one of the inaugural winners of the Florence Nightingale Medal, first awarded in 1920, for exemplary nursing service.
Foerster was appointed as supervisor at Michael Reese Hospital and worked there until she accepted a position to work at the U.S. Public Health Service in Mobile, Alabama in 1922. Foerster was placed at Marine Hospital Number 13. In 1927, she became an instructor and the Supervisor of the Outpatient Department of the University of Michigan Hospital. She was tasked with teaching public health practices to student nurses. In 1934, Foerster moved to Racine, Wisconsin to serve as the Director of Nursing Activities of the Red Cross chapter of Racine and was in charge of the Public Health Nursing Service for the area. While working in Racine, she oversaw the four "well baby stations", located throughout the city, which allowed women to bring children up to five years old for a medical consultation and evaluation. She also oversaw conferences which covered parenting and prenatal care, which the Red Cross sponsored in conjunction with the local Junior League.
- U.S. Census 1900, p. 4B.
- National Archives and Records Administration 1917, p. 102.
- Illinois Public Board of Health Archives 1925, p. 552.
- National Archives and Records Administration 1907, p. 287.
- Dock 1912, p. 677.
- University of Michigan 1928, p. 263.
- The Chicago Daily Tribune 1915, p. 5.
- Dock 1912, p. 158.
- The Chicago Daily Tribune 1919, p. 15.
- The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review 1917, p. 236.
- The American Journal of Nursing 1920, p. 40.
- Wilkes-Barre Evening News 1918, p. 5.
- Dock 1912, pp. 678-682.
- Dock 1912, p. 684.
- The British Journal of Nursing 1920, p. 334.
- The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review 1922, p. 442.
- Titus 1928, p. 88.
- The Racine Journal-Times 1934, p. 20.
- American Journal of Public Health 1936, p. 87.
- Foerster 1935, p. 44.
- U.S. Census 1940, p. 11A.
- Social Security Death Index 1967.
- Dock, Lavinia L., ed. (1912). A history of nursing: from the earliest times to the present day with special reference to the work of the past thirty years. IV. New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons. OCLC 951101915.
- Foerster, Alma E (April 17, 1935). "4 Baby Clinics Open Doors to Little Citizens". Racine, Wisconsin: The Racine Journal Times. Retrieved 10 September 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Titus, Shirley C. (1928). "The Years Development in the Department and School of Nursing". Scalpel. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Student Nurses of the University of Michigan Hospital School of Nursing: 86–88. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- University of Michigan (1928). General Register. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Libraries. UOM:39015071517802.
- "1900 U.S. Census: Cook County, City of Chicago". FamilySearch. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. June 4, 1900. microfilm publication T623. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "1940 U.S. Census: Cook County, City of Chicago". FamilySearch. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. April 12, 1940. microfilm publication T627. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
- "Alma Foerster - Death Record". MooseRoots. Washington, D.C.: Social Security Administration. 1967. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
- "Association News". American Journal of Public Health and the Nations Health. Washington, D.C.: American Public Health Association. 26 (1): 85–87. January 1936. ISSN 0090-0036. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "Chicago Nurses Back from War Tell of the Horrors in Hospital". Chicago, Illinois: The Chicago Daily Tribune. August 29, 1915. Retrieved 9 September 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Chicago Nurses Honored". Chicago, Illinois: The Chicago Daily Tribune. January 16, 1919. Retrieved 9 September 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "The Florence Nightingale Medal" (PDF). The British Journal of Nursing. London, England: Royal British Nurses Association. 64 (1679). 5 June 1920. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- "Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths: Friederike Foerster". FamilySearch. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois Public Board of Health Archives. January 30, 1925. GS Film #1487769, Reference ID rdn 6303 cn 3. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "New Deal Sweeps Democrats Into Power". Racine, Wisconsin: The Racine Journal-Times. December 31, 1934. Retrieved 9 September 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Overseas". The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review. New York, New York: Lakeside Publishing Company. 59 (4): 193–254. October 1917. ISSN 0893-3251. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "Passport Application: Alma E. Foerster". FamilySearch. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. July 19, 1917. Cert. no. 60101-60400, M1490, Roll 385. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
- "Passport Application: Paul Foerster". FamilySearch. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. January 29, 1907. Cert. no. 25601-26300, Series M1490, Roll 28. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "Public Health Service". The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review. New York, New York: Lakeside Publishing Company. 68 (5): 397–458. May 1922. ISSN 0893-3251. Retrieved 9 September 2016.
- "Six American Nurses Recipients of Florence Nightingale Medals" (PDF). The American Journal of Nursing. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 21 (1): 38–41. October 1920. doi:10.2307/3406491. ISSN 0002-936X. JSTOR 3406491.
- "(untitled)". Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania: Wilkes-Barre Evening News. August 29, 1918. Retrieved 9 September 2016 – via Newspapers.com.