Mary Lewis Wyche

Mary Lewis Wyche was born on February 26, 1858 near Henderson in Vance County. As a young woman, she wanted to become a nurse but was thwarted by both family obligations and the absence of any schools of nursing in North Carolina. Her calling to become a nurse was so great that when she was able, she moved to Philadelphia to study nursing and graduated from Philadelphia General Hospital Training School in 1894. Upon graduation, she returned to the Tarheel State and revolutionized the nursing profession (Rogers, 1949). Wyche should be fondly remembered by NC nurses for four primary achievements: the establishment of the first school of nursing in NC, the creation of the first professional nursing organization in the state, the passage of the first nurse registration law in the country and for writing the only book about the history of nursing in North Carolina.