Held at: Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
In September 1883, the Board of Guardians of Philadelphia General Hospital decided to establish a training school for nurses. Two experienced English nurses, Alice Fisher and Edith A. Horner, were brought to Philadelphia to organize the school, which officially opened in January 1885. The Training School for Nurses and the Philadelphia General Hospital were closed in 1977.
Over the years, the curriculum of the Training School for Nurses went through significant changes. At first, the program could be completed in one year; eventually, the program was expanded to include three years of course work. Other changes occurred in 1904, when Margaret Francis Donohoe became the Superintendent of Nurses. During Donohoe's tenure, the Nurses' Library was opened, classes were moved from evenings to the daytime, and students were given time off on Sundays. In 1911, the school began admitting students for post graduate study, and in 1926, with the financial assistance of the Rockefeller Foundation, the school established foreign affiliates in Poland and South America.
The first Nurses' Home at Philadelphia General Hospital was completed in 1893. As the student body continued to grow, a new, larger Nurses' Home was built in 1919. In the early 1920s, the number of students at the school doubled, from 132 students in 1920 to 259 students in 1926. By 1931, the school had certified almost 2,000 nurses. In 1973, a TriInstitutional building was erected to serve the needs of the nursing schools at the Philadelphia General Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, and Children's Hospital.
This collection of duty registers of the Training School for Nurses of the Philadelphia General Hospital consists of fifteen bound volumes dating from 1885 to 1911. The volumes contain information about the daily staffing of nurses in the different wards of the Philadelphia General Hospital; these records provide insight into the management of the hospital and the lives of the nurses who worked there. Each page of each volume contains the schedule for one day at the hospital. Included are spaces for recording the names of the nurses on day duty and night duty in each ward of the hospital (Men's Surgical, Women's Surgical, Men's Medical, Women's Medical, Men's Nervous, Women's Nervous, Obstetrical, Pavilions, etc.). Also included are records of the nurses who were absent or ill. The nurse serving as night superintendent frequently wrote brief notes reporting on the conduct of the nurses, the number of patients admitted or transferred, the number of births, and the number of deaths in each ward.
These duty registers from the Training School for Nurses of the Philadelphia General Hospital are on permanent loan from the Philadelphia City Archives. The registers were received by the Library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia on 18 January 1978.
The registers were catalogued in 1992.
The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project, 2009-2011.
- Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
- The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Holly Mengel.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the College of Physicians Historical Medical Library with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.