Martha M. Russell

Martha Montague Russell (September 28, 1867 - July 16, 1961)[1] was an American nurse in World War I. She was one of the first six American nurses to receive the Florence Nightingale Medal when it was awarded by the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1920.

Martha M. Russell
Martha M. Russell, from a 1921 publication.
Martha Montague Russell

September 28, 1867
Pittsfield, Massachusetts [Berkshire County]
DiedJuly 16, 1961
Front Royal, Virginia [Warren County]
EducationMount Holyoke College
Known forAmerican nurse in World War I

Early life

Martha Montague Russell was from Pittsfield, Massachusetts.[2] She graduated from Mount Holyoke College, and graduated from training at the New York Hospital School for Nurses in 1894.[3][4]


Russell was superintendent of nurses at hospitals in Pittsburgh, New York, Louisville, Kentucky, and Providence, Rhode Island. She also worked for a time at the Henry Street Settlement.[5] She was superintendent of nurses at Sloane Maternity Hospital in New York for twelve years before she joined the war work of the American Red Cross.[3][6]

Russell was a member of the New York Hospital Unit at U. S. Army Base Hospital No. 9. In 1917, she was selected by Jane Delano as Chief Nurse of the American Red Cross Commission in France,[3] to supervise American Red Cross nurses working in France during World War I.[7][8] She was one of the first six American nurses to receive the Florence Nightingale Medal in 1920.[4]

After the war, Russell was superintendent of University of Colorado Hospital School of Nursing in Boulder, Colorado,[4][9] and was involved in leadership roles in the National League of Nursing Education.[10] In 1930 she was superintendent of the municipal hospitals in Trenton, New Jersey.[11]

Russell wrote several articles for the American Journal of Nursing, including "Fads: Their Value to Nurses" (1902),[12] "What Social Insurance Will Mean to Nurses" (1917),[13] and "Prevention of Bed Sores" (1930).[14]


A loan fund was established in the name of Martha M. Russell by the University of Colorado Nursing School Alumnae Association.[15]


  1. Martha Montague Russell January 19, 2019
  2. "Given Red Cross Post in France" The Official Bulletin (September 21, 1917): 6.
  3. History of American Red Cross Nursing (Macmillan 1922): 379, 540-541, 544-545.
  4. Nelson McDowell Shepard, "The Florence Nightingale Medal" Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine (November 1921): 644-645.
  5. "Miss Russell to Represent Nursing Service in France" Red Cross Bulletin (September 21, 1917): 4.
  6. "Personals" The Trained Nurse and Hospital Review (March 1904): 199.
  7. Mary T. Sarnecky, A History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps (University of Pennsylvania Press 1999): 99. ISBN 9780812235029
  8. "Woman in Charge of Red Cross Nurses at Battle Front" Evening Star (December 9, 1917): 50. via
  9. "University of Colorado Hospital and University of Colorado Training School for Nurses" Catalogue of the University of Colorado" (1921-1922): 304.
  10. Proceedings of the 28th Annual Convention of the National League of Nursing Education (1922): 23.
  11. "Our Contributors" American Journal of Nursing (October 1930): 1290.
  12. Martha M. Russell, "Fads: Their Value to Nurses" American Journal of Nursing (February 1902): 355-358.
  13. Martha M. Russell, "What Social Insurance Will Mean to Nurses" American Journal of Nursing (February 1917): 388-393.
  14. Martha M. Russell, "Prevention of Bed Sores" American Journal of Nursing (October 1930): 1284.
  15. "Establishing Loan Fund" Biennial Report of the Regents of the University of Colorado (1928-1930): 43.
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