Abstract In October 1902, Lina Lavanche Rogers began her work in the New York City schools as the first school nurse in the United States. The purpose of this research was to examine the evolution of school nursing as it exemplifies development of a public health nursing specialty. Historiographic methodology was used. Primary sources included materials written by pioneers in school nursing. Secondary sources included journals, books, newspapers, biographical materials, and unpublished materials from the archives of health care and educational institutions and agencies. Public health nurses in 1902 had a model for practice that was considerably more independent and interdependent than that characterizing the practice of hospital nurses. From its origins in public health nursing, the role of the school nurse shrunk in many school systems to that of dispenser of bandages and aspirins, only to return once more to an advanced practice model. HIV, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, addiction, and violence have returned and/or replaced the contagious diseases of 1902 and the early years of school nursing. New immigrants, poverty, homelessness, and lack of primary care offer challenges to school nurses to meet the needs of schoolchildren and their families in the 1900s.