Virginia Avenel Henderson, RN, MA

The Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library at the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International was named in Miss Henderson’s honor to acknowledge the global impact she made on nursing research. The library has since transitioned to a repository with a new name: the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository (the Henderson Repository). The Henderson Repository remains aligned with Miss Henderson’s mission and vision for nursing research and education and still proudly bears her name. The Henderson Repository is not the official library, repository, or archives for Miss Henderson’s works and does not contain her papers, records, or historical materials. It does not hold any copyright permission to her works beyond those necessary to publish her festschrift, Virginia Avenel Henderson: Signature for Nursing.

To view the Reflections issue featuring the naming of the Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library, please click here.

The repository is pleased to offer the following information and reference links regarding further information on Miss Henderson's life and work:

Born: November 30, 1897
Died: March 19, 1996

Virginia Henderson was born in Kansas City, Mo., USA, on 30 November 1897, the fifth of eight children of Daniel B. and Lucy Minor (Abbot) Henderson. Her father was an attorney for Native Americans. Her mother came from the state of Virginia to which Miss Henderson returned for her early schooling. She was educated at the U.S. Army School of Nursing (1921) and Teachers College, Columbia University where she completed her BS (1932) and MA (1934), then taught from 1934 until 1948. Read more.

Watch the historic 1978 interview of Miss Virginia Henderson from the Distinguished Leaders in Nursing video series which was produced by the National Library of Medicine and STTI. Introduction by Nell Watts – STTI; interview conducted by Anne Bavier and Eleanor Herrman – Yale University.    

Additional Resources

Virginia A. Henderson Signature for Nursing - A peer-reviewed, tribute publication celebrates the life and legacy of a nursing legend and international nursing treasure. Proceeds from the sale of the festschrift will be donated to nursing research.

Bibliographic references for Virginia Henderson may be found at the PubMed database of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at Once on the NLM site, click on the PubMed icon. Use “(Virginia Henderson)” as the search term. The citations include tributes that were written to honor Miss Henderson, articles that utilized her theory and information published by STTI and the Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library.