Helen Young, nurse and nursing educator, was born Nov. 17, 1874 in Chatham, Ontario, Canada. She received a Teacher’s Diploma from the School of Pedagogy in Toronto in 1896 and then taught in the public schools of Chatham for the next 13 years. In 1909, she enrolled in the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in New York City (later the Columbia University School of Nursing). Upon graduation in 1912, Anna Maxwell, the founding director of the school, appointed Young as head nurse of Presbyterian Hospital’s medical ward and, later, its surgical ward.
Young spent the summer of 1915 nursing at the Whitney Unit in Juilly, France. She remained in the U.S. after its entry into World War I, however, serving as Chairman of the Presbyterian Hospital Alumnae Red Cross Committee which supported the hospital’s overseas unit in Étretat, France.
Upon Maxwell’s retirement in 1921, Young served as Acting Director of the Presbyterian Hospital’s nursing service and the School of Nursing; two years later she was confirmed in both positions. During her tenure, the School of Nursing moved to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1928 and the Presbyterian Hospital nursing service assumed responsibility for Sloane Hospital for Women, Babies Hospital, and the Neurological Institute.
In 1937, the School of Nursing forged an affiliation with Columbia University in order to award the Bachelor of Science degree to its students. Consequently, Young stepped down as Director of the School to be succeeded by Margaret E. Conrad. She remained Director of the Nursing Service until her retirement in Nov. 1942 whereupon she was named Director Emeritus.
Young had an active retirement residing in an apartment at the Medical Center. She was particularly involved in the affairs of the School of Nursing Alumnae Association. She died in New York City on Nov. 23, 1966 shortly after her 92nd birthday.