Dr. Anita Rosalie McGee

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Dr. Anita Rosalie McGee (Newcomb)

Birthdate: (75)
Birthplace: Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
Death: October 04, 1940 (75)
Washington,D.C,,,,
Place of Burial: Arlington National Cemetary, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Simon Newcomb and Mary Caroline Newcomb
Wife of William John McGee
Mother of Klotho Willis; Donald McGee and Eric Newcomb McGee
Sister of William Bartlett Newcomb; Emily Kate Newcomb and Anna Josepha Newcomb

Occupation: Surgeon
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Dr. Anita Rosalie McGee

Dr.Anita Newcomb McGee received her medical degree from Columbian College (now George Washington University) in 1892 and was one of a select few woman doctors practicing in Washington, D.C.

McGee, the daughter of noted astronomer Simon Newcomb, married geologist and anthropologist W.J. McGee in 1888.

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898, McGee organized volunteer nurses for the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). McGee's organizing ability led to her appointment as the only woman Acting Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Army, in charge of the Army's nurses. After this brief war ended, McGee pursued the establishment of a permanent nurse corps. She wrote the section of the Army Reorganization Act legislation pertaining to nursing and is now known as the founder of the Army Nurse Corps. In 1900 she left her position with the Army, but continued leading the Society of Spanish-American War Nurses, a group she had founded in 1898.

With the threat of war between Russia and Japan looming, McGee led a group of nine volunteer nurses to Japan in 1904. She returned the following year as an official US Army observer and later lectured and wrote on her experiences in the war. In 1936, McGee wrote to this museum, "I am trying to dispose of the gatherings of a lifetime and find it very difficult in these days when people live in small quarters and even fine family heirlooms, treasured for generations have to go begging." McGee died in 1940 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

The daughter of Rear Admiral Simon Newcomb, she was born in Washington, DC, on November 4, 1864.

She was educated in private schools followed by special courses abroad. She received her M.D. degree from Columbian (now George Washington) University in 1892 and special post-graduate course in gynecology at Johns Hopkins.

She married geologist W. J. McGee in 1888 (he died in September 1912).

She was in private practice in Washington, DC, from 1892 to 1896. Then served as Director, Daughters' of the American Revolution (DAR) Hospital Corps, April-September 1898, which selected and trained nurses for army and navy service.

Appointed on August 29, 1898 acting Assistant Surgeon, United States Army, being the only woman to hold such a position. Assigned to duty in the Army Surgeon General's Department as Superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps, which she organized.

In 1904, acting as President of the Society of Spanish-American War Nurses, she took a party of nurses to Japan for six months during the Russo-Japanese War.

Her father instilled in her at a young age a love for science. She later became a lecturer at the University of California and dedicated much of her time to writing and lecturing across the country.

She died on October 5, 1940 and was buried in her father's plot in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.


Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee was an American physician who is remembered for her medical work with the United States military.

Anita Newcomb was born in Washington, DC as the daughter of noted astronomer Simon Newcomb, a Steeves descendant. She married geologist and anthropologist W.J. McGee in 1888. Their oldest child, a daughter named Klotho, was born in 1889 and was primarily raised by a private nurse. Her second child, Donald died of meningitis at 9 months. Her youngest child, Eric Newcomb, was born in 1902.

Her sister, Josepha Newcomb Whitney studied at the Art Students' League in New York. She was known for her landscapes. She was active in the suffrage movement. She was chair of the Connecticut Women's Peace Party and President of the New Haven League of Women voters. In 1912, she organized the first Cornwall meeting in support of voting rights for women. In 1922, she was the democratic candidate for state Senate.

McGee attended a private school in DC, graduating in 1882. She then traveled for three years, attending courses Newnham College, Cambridge England, University of Geneva, Switzerland.

McGee received her medical degree from Columbian College (present-day George Washington University) in 1892. Dr. McGee won the first prize in dermatology and stood second in clinical medicine at her examination. She followed this with a special post-graduate course in gynecology at Johns Hopkins University. She was in private practice in Washington, DC, from 1892 to 1896 and was one of few woman physicians practicing in the Washington, D.C. area at that time. She also had connections with the military through her father, who held the rank of rear admiral.

As founder and Director of the Daughters of the American Revolution Hospital Corps (DAR), she trained volunteer nurses for army and navy service after the outbreak of the Spanish–American War in April 1898.

McGee's organizing ability led to her appointment as the only woman Acting Assistant Surgeon in the United States Army on August 29, 1898, and she was placed in charge of the Army's nurses under the Army Surgeon General's Department.[4] After this brief war ended, McGee pursued the establishment of a permanent nursing corps, which became a reality with the Army Nurse Corps, after passage of the Army Reorganization Act legislation, which she helped draft. In 1900 she left her position with the Army, but continued leading the Society of Spanish-American War Nurses, a group she had founded in 1898. She led the effort to build the Spanish-American War Nurses Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, which was dedicated on May 2, 1905.

With the start of the Russo-Japanese War, McGee led a group of nine volunteer nurses to Japan, arriving in Yokohama in April 1904, and establishing a field hospital for the Imperial Japanese Army. The nurses included: Minnie Cooke, Mary E. Gladwin, Alice Kemmer, Ella B. King, Elizabeth R. Kratz, Adelaide Mackareth, Adele Neeb, Sophia Newell, and Genevieve Russell. Five came from the Red Cross Society of Philadelphia, the remainder from the Spanish-American War Nurses Society.

The Japanese Minister of War appointed McGee "Superior of Nurses," giving her rank on par with officers in the Japanese Army. She trained nurses from the Japanese Red Cross and in June 1904 toured the Japanese hospital ship Hakuai Maru. She also inspected the prisoner-of-war camp established by the Japanese in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture.[4] In July, the medical team led by McGee crossed over to Korea and inspected field hospitals in Andong. The team returned to the United States in November 1904, but McGee remained as a military medical attaché and observer with the Japanese Army in Manchuria during 1905.

After her return to the United States, McGee lived in her homes in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and Southern Pines, North Carolina, and in California, where she lectured at the University of California and wrote on her experiences in the war.

McGee died on October 5, 1940 of a cerebral hemorrhage, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery next to her father with full military honors.

Dr. McGee was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Spanish War Veterans. She was the founder of the Society of Spanish-American War Nurses.

Dr. McGee received the Spanish War Service Medal from the U.S. Army for her services during the Spanish–American War. For her work in Japan she was awarded the Japanese Imperial Order of the Precious Crown, the Silver Special Member's Badge of the Japanese Red Cross and two Russo-Japanese War medals from the Japanese government.

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Dr. Anita Rosalie McGee's Timeline

1864
November 4, 1864
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
1884
July 10, 1884
Age 19
1895
September 10, 1895
Age 30
1902
February 11, 1902
Age 37
1940
October 4, 1940
Age 75
Washington,D.C,,,,

Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee, 76, said to be organizer of the first group of nurses in service hospitals during the Spanish-American War, died yesterday at a Washington nursing home. Washington Post

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Arlington National Cemetary, United States