In 1883, Mrs. William Pulsifer, President of the Society of the St. Louis Training School of Nursing, pursued a mission to find a Superintendent for the establishment of this school. She traveled to the east coast and found Emma Warr.

Emma Warr was a graduate of the New York Hospital School of Nursing and former Superintendent of the Hamot Hospital, Erie, Pennsylvania. She traveled abroad to study at hospitals and schools of nursing in Europe.  Mrs. Pulsifer persuaded her to come to St. Louis in the summer of 1884.  There were no nurses in the state at the time. Emma Warr started the school of nursing in July, 1884.  This was the beginning of organized nursing education in Missouri and the first school of nursing west of the Mississippi River.

After a two year course, the first four students graduated on April 26, 1886 from what would become the St. Louis City Hospital School of Nursing.  As early as 1895, Emma Warr wanted to expand the nursing program to three years. Thwarted by a dangerous tornado, she continued to work toward her dream and in 1905, a three year program was started.  Emma Warr worked at this school from 1884 to 1909.  She was known as the “St. Louis Florence Nightingale.”