HerStory Archive

KENNY, Elizabeth

Also known as: Sister Elizabeth Kenny

Born: 20/9/1880

Died: 30/11/1952

Special Achievements:

1911 - First person to implement an effective method of treatment for Infantile Paralysis (Poliomyelitis).
1927 - Designed and patented the "Sylvia"ambulance stretcher which reduced shock in the transport of injured patients.

Additional Information:

1916 - Elevated to the rank of Sister.

1919 - Discharged from Army.

First president of the Nobby [Queensland] Chapter, Country Womens Association.

1940 - Left for America to continue research on her polio treatment; her fare was paid by the Queensland government.  Her methods became widely accepted, and within a year she began teaching doctors and physiotherapists.

1943 - Published her autobiography, And They Shall Walk.

1943 - The Elizabeth Kenny Institute founded to train physiotherapists in her methods  (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA).

1946 - Was eulogised in the film Sister Kenny.

1950 - United States Congress gave her the rare honour to enter and leave the United States of America as she wished without a visa. 

1955 - Second volume of her autobiography, My Battle and Victory, published.

The Dahlia Bipinnata "Sister Kenny"and the Floribunda Rose "Sister Kenny" named in her honour.
Recipient of three honorary degrees:  Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Rochester (New York, USA); Doctor of Humane Letters, New York University (USA); Master of Arts, Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA).


Resources

  • Image - Elizabeth Kenny c. 1917

    Image courtesy of the State Library of Queensland 171668