As part of the Historic Places Days’ challenge to explore the stories connected to our National Historic Site, we present to you the story of our site’s namesake through the life of lauded Superintendent of Nurses at KGH, Ann Baillie.
Ann Baillie was born in 1888 in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. In 1910, she graduated from the Kingston General Hospital School of Nursing, and worked as a nurse at KGH until the onset of the First World War. In 1915, she joined the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force and was stationed in Canadian hospitals in Egypt and France. For her exemplary service, she was awarded 5 medals, which we are grateful to have in our museum’s collection. One of the most notable awards is her Royal Red Cross Class 2 medal awarded for special devotion to nursing duties pictured on the far left of her medal array. Notably, there is an oak cluster pin on her Victory Medal indicating a mention-in-dispatches, which means she was recognized in a dispatch sent to high command for her exceptional service.
Following her military career, Ann Baillie worked in Syndenham, New York, and Pennsylvania. However, staffing issues at KGH ultimately brought her back to Kingston. She was asked by resigning Superintendent of Nurses, Patience Carey, to take her place as Superintendent. She accepted, and between 1924-1942, she remained an incredibly influential member of the Kingston medical community. She was a disciplined but well-loved educator and successfully brought KGH’s Nursing School back to pre-war standards, earning once again a feature in the New York list of approved nursing schools.
Ann Baillie died in February 1942 at 54 years old after eight months of illness. Her loss was felt deeply in the community, and the original Nurses’ Home of the KGH Nursing School was renamed the Ann Baillie Residence in her honour.