A Soldier's Story: First Sergeant Sydney Gustave Gumpertz

A Soldier's Story: Nurse Clara Maass

Nurse Clara Maass was born on June 28, 1876, in East Orange, New Jersey. She showed an early interest in caring for others, working first as a mother's helper before Nurse Clara Maass attended the newly created Christina Trefz Training School for Nurses. In 1895, she was one of its first graduates.

By1898, she was the head nurse at Newark German Hospital and seeking to expand her skills. She volunteered as a contract nurse for the U.S Army. In October 1898, Nurse Clara Maass was assigned to the Seventh Army Corps and was assigned to field hospitals in Jacksonville, Florida, Savannah, Georgia, and Santiago, Cuba. Nurse Clara Maass then volunteered to serve with the Eighth U.S. Army corps. She deployed to the Philippines until contracting dengue fever in Manilla forced her to return stateside to recover.
Nurse Clara Maass had, by this point, spent much of her career treating the tropical infectious diseases (Typhoid, Malaria, Dengue, and Yellow Fever) of the Caribbean, so when approached by Captain William Gorgas to help with Major Walter Reed's Yellow Fever Commission, she volunteered again.
Assigned to the hospital in Santiago, Cuba, she volunteered in March 1901 to be bitten by a mosquito, contracting a mild form of Yellow Fever. Then, on August 14, 1901, she volunteered to be bitten again to show immunity. Unfortunately, her earlier case did not confer enough immunity, and Nurse Maass contracted Yellow Fever on August 18 and died on August 24, 1901.  
She was initially interred with full military honors in Santiago, Cuba; however, Nurse Clara Maass now rests in the Fairmont Cemetery, Newark, New Jersey.

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