Immigrant living condition ranged from crowed to appalling in the early 20th century. Overcrowding, lack of access to necessary health services, and language barriers all contributed to issues of poor health and communicable diseases. Tuberculosis, smallpox, and typhoid ravaged communities that lacked even the most basic of sanitation. Often overlooked or even maligned by existing health services, Lillian Wald, a social reformer and a what could be considered the country’s first public health nurse, organized, and brought necessary health services to immigrant communities on the Lower East Side. Other communities created similar efforts, , such as San Juan Hill and The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
Making heavy use of intertitles, this film explains the mission, operations, and scope of the Visiting Nurse Service. Over the course of the 15-minute film, viewers are privy to office operations, expectant mother classes, and calls to Chinatown, Little Italy, and Harlem. Intertitles listing the addresses of centers in Queens, Manhattan, or the Bronx were added to the end of the film, depending on where it was being shown. This extant copy was devised for Bronx screenings. Henry Street Board Meeting records estimate that versions of this film were shown about fifty times in the spring and fall of 1927 at Visiting Nurse Service headquarters (262 Park Avenue) and neighborhood clubs and theaters (Credit: Tonya Goldman, USC HMH Foundation Moving Image Archive, 2023)