Dr. and Mrs. E.L. Trudeau and the 1915 graduating class of the D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses in front of the Inslee Cottage at the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium. Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 15, 2007 Mrs. Charlotte Beare Trudeau and a graduating class of the School for Nurses, c. 1917. Mary McAfee Pinkney is seated to the left of Mrs. Trudeau in the front row.
Scan courtesy of a family member.
The D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses was established at the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium in 1912 with generous funding from Mrs. Whitelaw Reid.

Previously Mrs. Reid had provided funds to establish innovative hospitals in California and in 1911 gave $10,000 for the nurses cottage at the Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium. Caring for tuberculosis sufferers was viewed as a thankless task. Nurses trained for the sole purpose of treating TB were nonexistent. The school began with just three students and had an unusual requirement for admission: an arrested case of tuberculosis. Dr. Trudeau believed that young women who had endured the disease and gradually regained their health would have a greater understanding of patients' needs and care. The purpose of the nursing school was twofold: to provide well-trained and much needed staff for tuberculosis sanatoria and to give former patients the opportunity to pursue an independent and meaningful career. The Nurses' Cottage, named in honor of Mrs. Reid's deceased father, had the capacity to house six students. The cottage featured a south facing porch and private bedrooms as well as amenities such as a fireplace and dressing closets with running water. The first three students were all former patients of the Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium. Their studies were supervised by Miss Edith Wadland and required two years to complete. In 1913, the number of student nurses increased to eight.

In 1921 the D. Ogden Mills Training School received its accreditation from the New York State Board of Regents. In the early 1920's the first year of training consisted of 248 hours of instruction ranging from the History of Nursing to Anatomy and Physiology. In addition to sciences such as Chemistry and Bacteriology, other first year courses included Nutrition and Cookery and Hospital Housekeeping. The study of tuberculosis began in the second semester and incorporated classes in Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Massage and Ethics. The second year of study covered advanced topics such as Internal Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology and Obstetrics and X-ray.

The requirements for admission at this time included a clean bill of health certified by a physician and a year of high school studies or comparable schooling as mandated by New York State. Admission to the school was limited to those women between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. With acceptance to the school students received a monthly stipend of $10. Housing and meals were provided as well as laundry service for the requisite two caps, twelve bibs, eight aprons and three uniforms worn by the student nurses.

At the end of two years of successfully completed course work and final exams, students received a Trudeau school pin and a diploma. Graduation ceremonies included photographs, taken with Dr. and Mrs. Trudeau until 1915. Mrs. Trudeau continued the tradition, following her husband's death. After the installation of a memorial sculpture of Dr. Trudeau in 1918, the newly minted nurses began a tradition of placing flowers in the lap of the reclining statue. Students were eligible to take the State Board Exam only after continuing their studies at an affiliated general hospital.

Frances Higgins (fourth from left) and her classmates three months into their program, after receiving their caps. Frances and her fellow nurses graduated in 1926, and she went on to a lifelong career in nursing.
Historic Saranac Lake Collection, 2022.8.1. Gift in Memory of Frances Higgins.
In 1930, again with a generous $150,000 donation from Mrs. Reid, the school was expanded to accommodate twenty-three student nurses. The newly built Reid Nurses Home was equipped with a library, lecture hall, diet and demonstration kitchens as well as a living room and reception room. As of 1935, 157 young women had graduated. The school continued to educate young women for nursing careers until graduating its final class in 1936.


  • Rinehart, Victoria E. Portrait of Healing Curing in the Woods. Utica, NY: North Country Books, 2002.

Canadian surgeon and medical innovator, Dr. Norman Bethune, was one of the instructors during his time at Trudeau Sanatorium. 1

The D. Ogden Mills Training School for Nurses was established at the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium in 1912, while Dr. Trudeau was still living.  In 1915 Dr. Trudeau attended graduation, where he, in a wheelchair, and Mrs. Trudeau were photographed with the graduates. After his death, Mrs. Trudeau took the place of honor in the photos, often with her son, Francis. After Mrs. Trudeau's death in 1923, her place was taken by Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, the primary patron of the nursing school. As of 1935, 157 young women had graduated. The school graduated its final class in 1936. What follows is intended to be a comprehensive list of the graduates of the program. The photos probably include their superintendent of nursing.

The class of 1914 was the first graduating class. The photograph in Portrait of Healing, by Victoria Rinehart (Utica, NY: North Country Books, 2002), p. 126, shows three graduates and the superintendent of nursing, Miss Wadland, who was succeeded during their course of study by Miss Roberts. In a note in Volume I of A History of the Adirondacks (New York: Century Co., 1921), page 257, the historian Alfred L. Donaldson wrote, "On October 1, 1914, the first nurses ever to be trained especially for the care of tuberculosis patients were graduated from the pioneer school in that field at the sanatorium. . . . The course consisted of two years of practical and theoretical work. The first graduates to receive certificates from this school were:

  • Miss Julia F. Colgate of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
  • Miss Ina R. Van Heckle [or Hekle] of Athens, Pennsylvania
  • Miss Mary A. Kane of Saranac Lake.

Dr. Trudeau was fortunately able to present the diplomas and make a brief address, although he had been in very poor health all the preceding summer."

Class of 1915. Dr. Trudeau attended graduation, where he, in a wheelchair, and Mrs. Trudeau were photographed with 12 nurses. These 12 may have included:

  • Miss Schwartz
  • Mrs. Smith
  • Miss Lake

Class of 1917. Photo in Portrait of Healing,107. Six nurses are pictured.

Class of 1924Photo in Portrait of Healing, 108. Four nurses are pictured with Mrs. Whitelaw Reid.

Class of 1927. [Source for this class is a graduation photo in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 23, 2014 (a pay site)]


Class of 1929 Twenty-one  nurses were photographed on the steps of Baker ChapelPhoto in Portrait of Healing, 133.



See also: Lost Trudeau Sanatorium Buildings


1. Recollection of Mary Hotaling, 2010.