Lena Angevine Warner is rightfully known as Tennessee’s pioneer nurse, working with Walter Reed to discover that mosquitos were the carriers of Yellow Fever.
Lena Angevine Warner is rightfully known as Tennessee’s pioneer nurse. Lena Angevine, born in Grenada, MS, in 1869, was the only member of her immediate family to survive the yellow fever epidemics of 1877 and 1878.
Raised by her grandmother, Lena attended St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, and, in 1887, became the first student accepted at the Memphis Training School for Nurses. She studied further in Chicago, was briefly married to E.C. Warner, and, in 1898, became the first superintendent of nurses at the new City of Memphis Hospital.
During the Spanish-American War, Mrs. Warner volunteered for service, survived cholera, and became the chief nurse in Cuba during the campaign. She later returned to Cuba as part of Dr. Walter Reed’s team, which successfully discovered that the Aedes Aegypti mosquito was the carrier of yellow fever.
Mrs. Warner returned to Memphis, where she was a powerful advocate for professional nursing, holding numerous important and influential positions in the field of public health until her retirement in 1945. Lena Warner died in 1948 at the age of eighty.
To learn more about our region's history, visit the Pink Palace Family of Museums.