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Great Women in Hillcrest’s History

March 23, 2015

Dr. Nancy HillDid you know that Hillcrest was founded by three instrumental women, all before women even had the right to vote?!  Dr. Nancy Hill, Deaconess Anna Blanche Cook, Anna B. Lawther are the founding mothers of Hillcrest Family Services.

In 1896, the same year that Greece hosted the first modern Olympic Games, and the year the X-Ray was invented, Dr. Nancy Hill (pictured), opened the Industrial Training School for Girls and was the first woman to practice medicine in Dubuque. She started caring for unmarried mothers and their infants who were not necessarily receiving the best care. Over her 40 year career, she delivered nearly one thousand babies.

In 1914, Nancy Hill sought out Deaconess Anna Blanch Cook’s help in establishing a home for unwed mothers and babies. Deaconess Anna Blanche Cook, Anna B. Lawther and other women of the Dubuque community opened the Hillcrest Deaconess Home and Baby Fold for infants under two years of age. These ladies immediately began caring for the women and babies while forming a permanent organization to continue this work, what we know today as Hillcrest Family Services.

Today 80% of Hillcrest’s 500 plus employees are women. The women of Hillcrest are doctors of psychology, nurse practitioners, social workers, college students, teachers, and so much more. They, along with all the staff at Hillcrest, carry on the mission of caring for others and empowering people to become their best selves.  Hillcrest has almost 40 unique programs that serve over 26,000 people.  We are grateful for the strong women in our history and are proudly creating a new generation of trailblazing women!