Skip to main content

Lt. Col. Rachel Diane (Rae) Landy Papers

Identifier: P-785

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.


  • undated, 1913-2000

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Use Restrictions

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at

For reference questions, please email:

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.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box)


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.


Arranged by subject.

  1. Box and Item List, undated, 1913-2000


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

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

Guide to the Papers of Lt. Col. Rachel Diane (Rae) Landy (1884-1952), undated, 1913-2000 P-785
Processed by Evelyn Rosenblum
© 2003
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Landy.xml

Revision Statements

  • 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.
  • December 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States