Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Kansans of the Great War Era: Lottie Hollenback

Lottie Hollenback served as a nurse, and was to be a part of Base Hospital #28, the medical unit raised in the Kansas City area.  What was supposed to be a short assignment to Fort Riley proved to be an untimely end.

Lottie was born at Paola, Kansas on January 31, 1881.  Her family moved to Comanche County, where she was raised near Wilmore.  She taught school there for a short time.  From there she went to school in Salina, training as a nurse, and from there to Kansas City.

She was recruited for Base Hospital #28 when the country went to war. However, there was a shortage of nurses at Fort Riley, and she was sent there for what was supposed to be a short assignment. Instead she contracted the dreaded Spanish flu, and on January 3, 1918, passed away. She was the first Red Cross nurse to die in the service.

Today she is remembered as the only woman listed on the plaques that list the Kansas City dead in Memory Hall at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.  She is also listed on the plaques at the Meyer Circle Gateway Avenue of Trees in Kansas City, Missouri.

For more about Lottie Hollenback, see James J. Heiman’s Voices in Bronze and Stone: Kansas City’s World War I Monuments and Memorials.


Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.

1 Comment

  1. Judiann McNulty

    We are thrilled to find this write-up about our Great-Aunt Lottie to complement the family oral history and artifacts we have. Missing from your version is the fact that in the years between her work in Kansas City and her entering service in WWI, she joined her brothers and older sister who had moved to MT. She had her own homestead in Fergus County and served the surrounding area as the only nurse-midwife, traveling long distances by horse and buggy, often at night or in winter, to deliver babies or attend to medical emergencies. We have her journals of this time and some medical instruments she used.

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