Adele Poston, distinguished psychiatric nurse during after WW1. Following the war she continued to advocate for psychiatric patients through out her life time. She died May 15, 1979.

Adele Poston- WWI Psychiatric Nurse


It is thought Adele Poston’s decision  to enter nursing was influenced by Florence Nightingale.  Upon graduating from Passavant Memorial Area Hospital School of Nursing in 1906, she was the first woman to take and pass the civil service exam in Illinois. She was hired as the Superintendent of Nurses Training at Jacksonville State Hospital, which is the same hospital started by the social reformer, Dorothea Dix.  Adele Poston became known for her work in the area of Pyschiatric/Mental Health Nursing.

In 1918, she was recruited to recruit and train a hundred nurses from around the country to serve in meeting the emotional needs of soldiers.  She sailed from Ellis Island in 1918 to her commission as the Chief Nurse of Army Base Hospital 117 in LaFauche, France. This was the closest hospital to the front lines to provide psychiatric care. Adele Poston described this closeness when she wrote “we could hear the big Berthas.” In recognition of her war service she was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

A list of her writings and  additional references about this distinguished nurse are available on

Jane Early