Guide to the Papers of Lt. Col. Rachel Diane (Rae) Landy (1884-1952)
undated, 1913-2000

Processed by Evelyn Rosenblum

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160



© 2019  American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Evelyn Rosenblum as an MS-Word document. 2000. PDF created by Adina Anflick. 2002. Electronic finding aid converted to EAD 2002 by Tanya Elder. Dec. 2003. Description is in English.
May 2005. Finding aid was updated and reconverted in order to match other online finding aids by Dianne Ritchey Oummia. January 2006. Entities removed from EAD finding aid.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Lt. Col. Rachel Diane (Rae) Landy (1884-1952)
Title: Lt. Col. Rachel Diane (Rae) Landy Papers
Dates:undated, 1913-2000
Abstract: Lt. Col. Rachel Diane (Rae) Landy was a nursing pioneer in the development of health services in Palestine under the auspices of Hadassah from 1913-1915, and served as a U.S. Army nurse in World War I through World War II. The collection documents hospital care in Palestine and the history of Hadassah; career women in the early 20th century, particularly military personnel and profession innovators; and the Cleveland, Ohio Jewish community, school system, and George Crile U.S. Army Hospital. Documents include correspondence, reminiscences, legal documents, newspaper and magazine clippings, and photographs.
Languages: The collection is in English.
Quantity: .25 linear ft. (1 manuscript box)
Accession number: P-785
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
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Biographical Note

Lt. Col. Rachel (Rae) Landy

Ms. Landy was a nursing pioneer in the development of health services in Palestine under the auspices of Hadassah, 1913-1915, and a U.S. army nurse who served in World War I through World War II, eventually achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel.

She was born in 1884 in Sirvintai, Lithuania, the fourth of seven children of Jacob and Eva Trotsky Landsman. Her father, one of eleven brothers from Kovna, Lithuania, was a sofer (scribe). When he learned in 1888 that a sofer was needed in northern Ohio, he left for America to escape the crushing burdens of persecutions and economic deprivation. He brought Eva and his children to Cleveland, Ohio in 1890, where he established himself as a sofer, teacher, and religious leader. Eva helped to organize the Cleveland Hebrew Orthodox Old Age Home (now Menorah Park), and together, Eva and Jacob founded the first Hebrew book store in Northern Ohio.

The family name had been changed to Landy from Landsman by Jacob's older brother when he arrived in America. He advised his brothers to do the same as they emigrated so they would be more accepted in America and hopefully encounter less anti-semitism.

Rachel attended Brownell Elementary School and Central High School in Cleveland. She began nurse training at Cleveland City Hospital, completing her studies in 1904 at the newly founded Jewish Women's Hospital (became Mt. Sinai Hospital). One year of study at the Cleveland College of Physicians and Surgeons either proceeded or followed her nursing education.

After graduation she worked in Cleveland with Dr. George Crile as an operating room nurse and served on several of his private cases. In 1907 she began her association with Harlem Hospital in New York City where by 1912 at age 28, she became the assistant superintendent of nurses.

In 1913, Ms. Landy was recruited by Henrietta Szold, the founder of Hadassah, to begin a visiting nurse program in Palestine to be sponsored by that newly organized women's organization. She was joined by nurse Rose Kaplan, and together they established a program in Jewish schools in Jerusalem that would treat Trachoma, a serious eye disease then common among the children of Palestine.

The nurses created a training program for midwives and a settlement house and clinic to teach nursing skills and provide medical treatment. The visiting nurse program took them into the homes of the impoverished Jews of Jerusalem. After Landy and Kaplan were able to prove that they were not the missionary nun nurses that these families had encountered, they were able to offer counseling, medical treatment and when needed, food, milk, and clothing for the new born infants they had helped deliver.

Working under very difficult conditions with limited supplies, equipment, funds, and personnel, the two nurses were able to lay the foundation of Hadassah's medical work in Palestine. World War I and the blockade of Palestine temporarily ended the program, and in November 1915 Rae Landy returned to Cleveland to nurse her seriously ill parents.

Moving to New York City in 1916, Landy became assistant superintendent of nurses at Fordham Hospital and in 1917 she was appointed superintendent of nurses at the Montefiore Home County Sanitarium in Bedford Hills, New York.

In July 1918, during World War I, she entered the United States Army Nursing Corps. During her career in the army she was stationed in Coblenz, Germany and Antwerp, Belgium. She served at the White House in 1924 during the serious illness of President Calvin Coolidge's son. From 1935 to 1938 she worked as chief nurse at the army base in the Philippine Islands, and at various army installations throughout the United States. In 1940 Landy became one of four assistant superintendents of the Army Nurse Corps and was stationed on Governors Island in New York Harbor. She was eventually promoted to Lt. Colonel.

Her final assignment in 1943, at her own request, was in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio as the chief of nurses at the newly established Crile Army Hospital in Cleveland. Landy noted that she had come full circle. Her first nursing position was with Dr. George Crile and her final one was at a hospital named for Dr. Crile. She retired from the army in 1945 but continued with her work in nurse recruitment.

Rachel Diane Landy died in Cleveland on March 5, 1952 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

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Scope and Content Note

The Papers consist of correspondence, reminiscences, legal documents, a journal, newspaper and magazine articles, original photographs, and color copies of photographs.

This collection is of value to researchers studying the history of Hadassah and the living conditions and state of medical care in Palestine during the second decade of the 20th century. It is also of interest to researchers studying women in America during the first half of the 20th century who were able to pursue challenging and productive careers and to become leaders and innovators in their chosen fields. In addition it will be of interest to those researching the graduates of Cleveland public and professional schools at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, the Cleveland Jewish community, and the George Crile U.S. Army Hospital in Cleveland during the 1940s.

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Arranged by subject.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Collections and Engagement of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

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Related Material

Additional material is located at the Hadassah Archives:
Record Group 2/ Hadassah Medical Organization/ Box 146/ Folder 28
Record Group 17/ Printed materials/ "Hadassah Bulletin"/ 1914-1915

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Donated by Ms. Landy's niece, Evelyn Rosenblum in 2000.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Lt. Col. Rachel Diane (Rae) Landy Papers; P-785; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY.

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Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.


Box and Item List, undated, 1913-2000

The collection is in English.
.25 linear ft. (1 manuscript box)

Collection is arranged by subject.

Scope and Content:

See collection Scope and Content Note.

11Biographical and Genealogical Materials
A. Summary of Landy's education and professional positions from 1890 to 1918, 1920
B. Citizenship paper, 1951
C. Color copies of photographs, pre-1913 and 1917
D. Red Cross Nurse Certificate, 1917
E. Landy's early years and portion of army career as depicted in a social studies textbook, 1940
F. Genealogy chart of Landy's family, 1977
1913, 1917, 1920, 1940, 1951, 1975, 1977, 2000request_box
12Journey to Palestine
A. Journey to Palestine, newspaper articles and color copies of Photographs, 1913
B. Extracts from letters written by nurses Landy and Kaplan from Jerusalem, 1914-1915
1913, 1915request_box
13 Correspondence and reports regarding Palestine
A. Reports and letters written by those who visited the nurses in Palestine, 1914-1916
B. Correspondence from Henrietta Szold concerning financing the Palestine project, 1916
14Recollections and speech for Hadassah
A. Landy's reminiscences of her 1913-1915 experiences in Palestine, 1937
B. Landy's speech presented on the 25th anniversary of the founding of Hadassah as it was broadcast via overseas phone from the Philippine Islands to New York City, 1937
C. Copy of the photograph taken during the broadcast, 1937
D. Talk given by Landy at Hadassah convention, 1944
1937, 1944request_box
15Articles covering the Palestine Health Project1968-1977request_box
16Army Career
A. Army service record, 1918-1945
B. Medical records, 1939-1945
C. Letters of commendation, 1939
D. Editorials and articles covering Landy's World War II career at Crile Army Hospital in Cleveland, 1944-1945
E. Color copies of photographs taken during Landy's army career, 1921-1945
17Speeches for recruitment and Hadassah
A. Recruitment talks delivered by Landy for the United States Army Nurse Corps, undated, 1941-1944
B. Talk presented to Hadassah members at Bond Rally, undated
undated, 1941-1944request_box
18Honors, Obituaries, Memorials, Map of Grave
A. Honors, obituaries, memorials and reminiscences, 1937, 1944, 1952, 1990, 1999
B. Map of Arlington National Cemetery with Landy's grave indicated and photograph of grave marker, undated
undated, 1937, 1944, 1952, 1990, 1999request_box
19Photographsundated, 1938, 1943, 1945, 1951, 2000request_box
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