Chestnut Hill Hospital School of Nursing records
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing [Contact Us]Claire Fagin Hall, 418 Curie Boulevard, Floor 2U, Philadelphia, PA, 19104-4217
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing. 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
The Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County granted the Charter for Chestnut Hill Hospital on 21 November 1903. A seven-member Board of Trustees containing two physicians was organized, with Dr. Radcliffe Cheston as the first President. The hospital was opened on 14 October 1903 in two small houses with fourteen beds. Chief Nurse Rena D. Wood managed a staff of one gradate nurse and two practical nurses caring for a daily average of eight patients.
In April of 1908 the School for Nurses opened with four graduate nurses for eight students, of whom six graduated in 1910 after two years of instruction. In 1914 and 1918 the period of instruction was lengthened by one-half year, to make a the total training program three years in length. By 1925 the School had grown to include nine graduate nurses and twenty-seven students: eight seniors, eleven intermediates, and eight juniors. To accommodate this growth, Laughlin Hall, named for Henry Laughlin who donated the land, was opened as a nurses' home for fifty-seven nurses. The building included a well-planned educational unit, a reference library, and rooms for social and recreational functions.
The School for Nurses had very small classes due to a careful screening process that included a period of probation before a student could enroll. Nineteen members of the Hospital's attending staff served as lecturers for the School of Nursing, covering theoretical disciplines in relation to medicine, while the nursing faculty instructed the students in the practical disciplines. The first full-time instructor for the School was added in 1925.
Gift of Doris Wardell and Marion Burns, Chestnut Hill Hospital.
- University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Center staff, updated by Bethany Myers
- Access Restrictions
Student files are closed for fifty years from the date of graduation. Earlier student files may be used, but personal names may not be cited.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Center with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
The records of the hospital consist primarily of published material such as selected annual reports, directories, personnel policies, and manuals. There are several public relations publications, mostly for fund raising, dedications, and clippings. There is also a facsimile of the original deed to three lots of land from 1769.
The Administrative Records of the School of Nursing consist of annual reports (1956-1987), monthly reports (1982-1987), school catalogs (1944-1988), directories (1965-1975), recruitment literature (1948-1980), commencement programs (1943-1985) and other related documents. Of particular note are the reports for the registration of nurses submitted to the Pennsylvania State Board of Examiners (1918-1985) and the 1985 planned phase out of the School of Nursing.
The faculty records include a 1987 faculty manual, the minutes of the Faculty Organization (1976-1987), and school committees for Curriculum, Programs Faculty Development, Faculty In-service Education, as well as the Freshman Sub-committee and Library minutes documenting events during the 1970s and 1980s, with some materials dating back the 1960s.
The student records consist of "final records": i.e., transcripts and other official student files (1910-1986), resignations, and student applications (1910-1949) which include both letters from students applying for admission and letters of recommendation on behalf of the student. There is also a small set of miscellaneous recommendations which predates many of the student files (1908-1912). Post-1950 student files (1950- 1983) are filed separately.
The yearbooks, although incomplete, provide a view into student life and an account of those who graduated from the school's program. Included is the first yearbook, dated 1922, which includes a section listing each graduate and her nickname, aspiration, chief delight, greatest horror, commonest expression, and what she will marry for. Most of the answers offer a view of the tongue-in-cheek nature of these early graduates.
These photographs document the social, educational, and physical development of the School of Nursing. This series includes a complete collection of formal class portraits (1910-1987). The photograph mountings have been separated from the photos for conservation purposes, but they have been retained since they provide the name of the student represented in each portrait. Exterior views of the hospital complex include the Maternity Building, Laughlin Hall, a 1906 image of the hospital, and other selected buildings that make up the Chestnut Hill campus. There are also a few photographs from the 1960s of Magee Memorial Rehabilitation Center, Pennsylvania Hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Chestnut Hill College. Interior views consist of the school's Reading Room, Class on Poverty, and Diet & Nutrition Class-room/Laboratory. Interior views of the hospital cover the Maternity Washroom, Nursery, Children's Ward, Women's Ward, Men's Ward, and Operating Room. Some group shots from the 1920s include student nurses, graduate nurses, and other images of nurses and physicians at work in the hospital ward.
Three scrapbooks are included. One was produced by the Class of 1953, another by Miss New Jersey Kathy Holmes, a Chestnut Hill student, and the third contains a lone diploma.
Includes a hand-made model of a pregnant uterus with growing fetus inside. Stored with artifacts collection.