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Anna Louise Gliem
School of Nursing

B. 1889 St. Clair, Michigan | D. 1976 Pittsfield Township, Washtenaw County, Michigan

University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, & the Arts, 1908-1909; diploma, Battle Creek Sanitarium-Hospital Training School for Nurses, Battle Creek, Michigan, 1917; B.S., Columbia University, New York (Education and Practical Arts department, Superintendent of Nursing and Principal of Schools of Nursing curriculum), February 1922; course work in techniques for treating lepers, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, summer session, 1950.

World War I. Enlisted March 11, 1918 into the United States Army Nurse Corps. Stationed at Walter Reed General Hospital, Takoma Park, D.C. and at Base Hospital No. 114 at Beau-Desert, France, which specialized in orthopedic care and at which Gliem worked as a surgical nurse. She was released from the Army on July 1, 1919.

Nurse in Battle Creek, Michigan, 1920-1921; general ward supervisor, replacing Augusta Nieusma who resigned, and assistant to the superintendent of nurses, University of Michigan Hospital, April to September 1922, and acting superintendent of nurses and principal of school for nurses, University of Michigan Hospital, September 1922 to September 1923; assistant superintendent of nurses, acting superintendent of nurses, and dean, Battle Creek Sanitarium-Hospital Training School for Nurses, 1923-1926.

While Gliem was at the University of Michigan an article she wrote, “Financial Value of Nursing Service Performed by Student Nurses” appeared in the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF NURSING (AJN 24: 402-3, February, 1924). Under Gliem’s leadership at Battle Creek, the Sanitarium developed a five-year combined course leading to a scientific degree from Battle Creek College as well as a nursing diploma. The three-year diploma curriculum continued to be offered also, as at University of Michigan.

Gliem, as guest speaker at graduation exercises of the Traverse City Training School for Nurses, May 21, 1925, told the nurses: “You are clothed with the armour of education and carry the shield of education for health. With this shield you are especially equipped having learned the art of community health education, which means that you can go out to minister unto and to teach prevention from the youngest infant to the oldest man or woman in the community.”

In 1926, Gliem married Henry Wellen Fisher, a well-to-do grocery store owner and Rotarian from Georgetown who had three grown children from a previous marriage. Gliem Fisher lived in Washington, D.C., with her husband until his death in January 1934. While there, she served as vice-president of the U of M Alumnae Association of Washington, D.C. (1928).

In 1934, as a new widow, Gliem Fisher attended a motivational lecture by a woman her age, Lucille Picken, who had worked twenty years as a Christian missionary in India. She was inspired to devote the rest of her life to such work and left for India a short time later.

In Satara, India, Gliem Fisher and Picken opened one of the first village Infant Welfare Centers in the country to teach literacy and healthcare to mothers of young children. They also established a position of Health Visitor who would make home visits to the families of schoolchildren. Gliem Fisher’s main contribution was to establish leprosy control clinics, which brought the latest treatment techniques to hundreds of patients. Further details about her work in India may be found in the senior thesis of Alexandra C. Feldberg, Department of History, Columbia University, 2008.

Anna Louise Gliem Fisher retired in 1958 to a missionary home in Auburndale, Massachusetts. In 1975 she returned to Ann Arbor, Michigan, residing at 1315 South Seventh Street. In 1976 the city directory lists her address as 1422 West Liberty. She died in August 1976 at Whitehall Convalescent Home in rural Pittsfield Township.