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Clara Louise Maass

Image of Clara Louise MaassNurse Clara Louise Maass (1876-1901) of East Orange volunteered to participate in an immunization experiment against yellow fever in Cuba.

The first time Maass was bitten by an infectious mosquito, she contracted a mild case of the disease which caused doctors to believe that she was immune. The second bite, however, proved fatal. Maass succumbed to the disease at the young age of 25. Her death convinced doctors and researchers that yellow fever was caused by the mosquito. The Clara Maass Memorial Hospital in Newark, a city where Maass received her nursing degree and served as head nurse at the Newark German Hospital School of Nursing, is named in her honor.


Burstyn, Joan N. “Clara Louise Maass”. In Past and Promise, Lives of New Jersey Women. 1990. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/54486243.

Clara Louise Maass: the tradition of caring. Belleville, N.J.: The Clara Maass Foundation, 1990. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/22348136

Cunningham, John T. Clara Maass: A Nurse, A Hospital, A Spirit. Belleville: Rae Publishing Company, 1976.

Graf, Mercedes. “All the Women Were Valiant.” Prologue 46, no. 2 (2014): 24-34.


Questions to Explore

Why did Maass volunteer to participate in the immunization experiment against yellow fever?

What encouraged Maas’s career in nursing?

How did Maass’s sacrifice to be experimented on help scientist understand yellow fever?

Additional Resources

Herrmann Eleanor Krohn. 1985. “Clara Louise Maass: Heroine or Martyr of Public Health?” Public Health Nursing 51–57. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1446.1985.tb00676.x. https://www.worldcat.org/title/5154651683 

Turner, Lloyd. Newark : City of Destiny. 350th anniversary edition. Place of publication not identified: [Lloyd Turner], 2018. https://www.worldcat.org/title/1100473521 

Tengbom Mildred. 1978. No Greater Love : The Gripping Story of Nurse Clara Maass. St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House. https://www.worldcat.org/title/3609182