Mary Martha Fletcher

Fletcher, Mary

Time Period

1820-1860

Notable Facts

Established the Fletcher Free Library, Mary Fletcher Hospital (Fletcher Allen Health Care) and the Mary Fletcher Training School for Nurses.

Personal Information

Date of Birth

1830

Date of Death

1885

Primary Residence

Burlington

Historical Significance

Mary Martha Fletcher established the Fletcher Free Library, Mary Fletcher Hospital (Fletcher Allen Health Care) and the Mary Fletcher Training School for Nurses.

Born in Jericho, Vermont in 1830,her father was exceptionally wealthy and reported in the 1870 census that he had $300,000 in personal property and $70,000 in real estate and mortgages. Fletcher never married, and moved to Burlington with her parents when she was twenty years old. After her father died, Fletcher and her mother grew reclusive and depended on Michael Kelley, their coachman and handyman. In 1873, the Fletcher women gave the city of Burlington $10,000 for books and another $10,000 to build a library. They later gave an additional $4,000 to print a catalog of the books in the Fletcher Free Library, which was named in their honor. Fletcher's mother, who was also named Mary, died in 1876, which left her daughter as the sole heir of a $400,000 fortune. She used most of the money to finance a state sponsored, nonprofit public hospital in Burlington, which opened in 1879 and was named the Mary Fletcher Hospital. It now goes by the name of Fletcher Allen Health Care. Fletcher also established the Mary Fletcher Training School for Nurses in 1882. In the winter of 1885, Fletcher had a severe cold, and when told she had only a few hours to live, she asked to die in the hospital she founded. Some reports state that Fletcher died from tuberculosis.

Organizations or Movements

  • Fletcher Free Library
  • Mary Fletcher Hospital
  • Mary Fletcher Training School for Nurses.

Occupations

  • Philanthropist

Additional Information (Bibliography)

  • Carlisle, Lilian B. "Mary Martha Fletcher." In The Vermont Encyclopedia, University of New England Press, 2003.

  • History of Fletcher Allen Hospital Link

  • Mary Fletcher Historic Marker Link