About Caroline Benoist
Caroline H. Benoist was born March 12, 1896 in Natchez, Mississippi to Julia and Louis Benoist. She graduated from Stanton College in Natchez and attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She entered John Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland in 1925. After graduation she became a surgical nurse at the Wilmer Eye Clinic at Johns Hopkins and later worked as a surgical nurse in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. She returned to Natchez, Mississippi and did limited private nursing duty. In 1936 she became one of the first public health nurses in Mississippi; her emphasis was on maternal and child health care.
She acquired advanced preparation in public health nursing at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and in-home delivery services at Chicago Lying-In-Hospital. After that, she initiated a program at Pike County Health Department to assist physicians with home deliveries and taught and supervised lay “Granny Midwives.” In the 1940s Ms. Benoist was assigned to a specialized venereal disease program. An incubator that she designed and used as a public health nurse in Sunflower County is now in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (click here). Additional information about Miss Benoist’s time at Johns Hopkins is available here.
Ms. Benoist retired from nursing in 1944 to care for her aged mother. She died on August 23, 2000, at the age of 104 in Natchez, Mississippi in the house where she was born.