Her parents were the Reverend Henry A. Stimson and Alice Bartlett Stimson. She had three siblings: Doctor Barbara B. Stimson, Doctor Philip M. Stimson, and Henry B. Stimson. She was also first cousin to Secretary of War and Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson.
She received her bachelor"s degree from Vassar College in 1901, then received a degree from the New York Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1908.
She held a number of administrative posts in New York City and Missouri, where she received her master"s degree from Washington University in Saint Louis in 1917. She volunteered for military service in April 1917.
Mary T. Sarnecky, author of A History of the United States. Army Nurse Corps (Penn Press, 1993) wrote, "Stimson actively lived a feminist ideology in several singularly oppressive and paternalistic contexts--the upper-class Victorian home, the turn-of-the-century hospital setting and the military establishment of the early 20th century."
Thousands of women nurses enlisted in the Corps, and returned from the War as both professionals and veterans. Though she retired from the Army in 1937, Stimson returned after the outbreak of World World War II as chief of the Nursing Council on National Defense, and recruited a new generation of women to serve as nurses.
She was promoted to full colonel in 1948, shortly before her death.
Stimson, who served as President of the American Nursing Association from 1938 to 1944, was inducted into that association"s Hall of Fame in 1976. Her papers are housed at the Weill Cornell Medical Center Archives.