Anna Dean Murphy, WWI Red Cross Nurse

Anna Dean Murphy (1893-1989) was one of the few nurses who were sent overseas to aid the Allied soldiers during World War I.

Anna was the daughter of George Dean Murphy (1860-1927), who owned the most productive farm in the Centre Square section in Whitpain Township. Her father purchased that farm from the Phillips family in 1897 where Anna grew up in.

Montgomery County 1893, Whitpain and Worcester Townships, Bethel Hill, Fairview, Cedar Hill, Washington Square, Broad Axe Left; J.L. Scott, Publisher
Montgomery County 1935 Vol B, Plate 8; Franklin Survey Company, Publisher

Anna received her education at Whitpain High School, and graduated in 1911. She then continued her education at the Chestnut Hill Hospital School of Nursing with honors. Then she attended the University of Pennsylvania and studied anesthetics.

She was offered the position at the Chestnut Hill Hospital, but turned it down to support her country by volunteering in the military as a nurse for the Red Cross in France.

She, along with other nurses, were enlisted to the US Army Base Hospital No. 10, organized by Pennsylvania Hospital.

"During World War I, the federal government’s Department of Military Relief formed a number of Red Cross Base Hospitals in Europe. Each participating hospital was asked to raise funds to equip a 500 bed facility and provide trained staff. In 1917, Pennsylvania Hospital established U.S. Hospital Base No. 10, attached to the British Expeditionary Force in Le Treport, France."

- Section I, Series 10. Pennsylvania Hospital Nursing Collection, 1876-1995

Clipping from Ambler Gazette (October 25, 1917): Page 1
"RED CROSS NURSE SEES WAR IN FUTURE — Miss Anna Dean Murphy has returned to her home, Centre Square, Montgomery county, after nearly two years' service as a Red Cross nurse in France ... Miss Murphy states that frequently the hospital handled 1,000 operations a month, and the nurses at times work as high as 15 hours a day ... 'There is a lot of talk about an enduring peace, and the League of Nations,' she said, 'but from my experience I am convinced that so long as human beings in the world are of various stages of intelligence there will be wars, because I am firmly convinced that man was made to fight.'"

- Souderton Independent (May 9, 1919)

Anna Dean Murphy "Anesthetizing a Patient"; Source: PA Hospital Archives


"ARRANGEMENT: Section I, Series 10. Pennsylvania Hospital Nursing Collection, 1876-1995." Penn Medicine. Accessed February 24, 2021.

"DEPARTMENTS & PROCEDURES (Patient Care): Anesthetizing a Patient." Penn Medicine. Accessed January 15, 2021.

Franklin Survey Co. Montgomery County 1935 Vol B, Plate 8, 1935.

Keeler, Bob. "In Retrospect: News from the May 9, 1919 & May 8, 1969 Souderton Independent." Souderton Independent. Last modified May 7, 2019.

"Local Nurse Now in France." Ambler Gazette. October 25, 1917. Page 1.

Roberts, Ellwood. Biographical annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, containing genealogical records of representative families, including many of the early settlers and biographical sketches of prominent citizens. (New York: T. S. Benham, 1904): 141.

Smith, J. L. Montgomery County 1893, Whitpain and Worcester Townships, Bethel Hill, Fairview, Cedar Hill, Washington Square, Broad Axe Left, 1893.

"The American Journal of Nursing." The American Journal of Nursing 17, no. 7 (April 1917): 1230.

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