Ancestral legacy honored as family members visit Mary Gladwin Hall


Mary Gladwin Hall, home to the College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) and the School of Nursing, hosted two special guests last week when Mary Gladwin's ancestors paid a touching visit to the building that now bears her name.

CHHS Dean Dan Friesner, Marya Hunsicker, Jennifer Grey and Dr. Timothy Meyers, executive director of the School of Nursing

Pictured left to right - CHHS Dean Dan Friesner, Marya Hunsicker, Jennifer Grey and Dr. Timothy Meyers, executive director of the School of Nursing.

Mary Elizabeth Gladwin (Dec. 24, 1861 - Nov. 22, 1939), an English-born American Red Cross nurse whose dedication spanned three wars, moved to the United States as a child and graduated from Buchtel College in 1887. Her nursing journey began in Boston, culminating in 1902 after extensive field experience.

Gladwin's niece, Marya Hunsicker, age 90, and her daughter, Jennifer Grey, toured Mary Gladwin Hall and the University of Akron Archives and Special Collections to reminisce about their aunt and to see artifacts documenting her exciting nursing career.

Gladwin's remarkable career included serving as a science teacher in Norwalk, Ohio, and as a war nurse during the Spanish-American War, where she treated soldiers with typhoid fever. Her Red Cross contributions extended to Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, earning her the Spanish War Service Medal. Recognized for her service during the Russo-Japanese War, she received the Imperial Order of the Crown from the Japanese emperor.

Superintendent at various hospitals, including Beverly Hospital and Woman's Hospital, Gladwin played a crucial role during the Great Dayton Flood of 1913. In World War I, she served in Serbia and Greece, earning the Serbian Cross of Charity and the prestigious Florence Nightingale Medal in 1920. Post-war, she contributed as a hospital administrator and nursing instructor, leaving a lasting impact on the field. Her words, "If the fathers and mothers could have seen what I have seen on the bloody battlefields, there never would be another war," continue to resonate, emphasizing the enduring importance of her work.

Mary E. Gladwin Hall was dedicated in 1978 in her honor and has served as the primary location for the School of Nursing since. Her papers, diary, photographs and an unpublished memoir are part of the Special Collections in the UA Archives.