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
Ellen Davidson Baer (born 1939) received her baccalaureate degree from Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing in 1962. She continued her education at New York University earning both her master’s and doctoral degrees. Dr. Baer initially began her illustrious career as a clinical nurse working with acutely ill adults before transitioning into and advocating for the nurse practitioner in the 1970s. Before joining the University of Pennsylvania in 1980, she worked at Lehman College and City University of New York teaching nurse practitioners.
At Penn, Dr. Baer directed a federally funded program in oncology for graduate students in addition to another demonstration project for undergraduate students to have clinical experiences caring for AIDS patients. Along with her teaching responsibilities, she was the Associate Director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing. She also served as the director of the nursing doctoral program at her alma mater and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Athens. In 1998 Dr. Baer joined the University of Miami as the Wallace Gilroy Visiting Professorship at the School of Nursing, made possible by the Hugoton Foundation.
A prolific writer, Dr. Baer focused on creating a voice for nursing past and present by examining contemporary issues through their historical context. Topics of issues range from the struggles of nursing educators in the academic workplaces to the dangers of hospital and healthcare restructuring to women’s roles to finding a voice for nursing. Dr. Baer’s research has been supported by the National Center for Nursing Research, the Division of Nursing of the United States Public Health Service, and the Helene Fuld Health Foundation, the results of which she has published widely in books and journals. She is co-editor of Enduring Issues in American Nursing and Nurses’ Work: Issues Across Time and Space. Dr. Baer has received numerous honors throughout her memorable career. Awards include the AJN Book of the Year, the Lavinia L. Dock, the AAHN Distinguished Nurse Research Award, the ANA Centennial Nursing Heritage Award as well as the Columbia University Alumni Medal.
The Ellen D. Baer collection was acquired by the University of Pennsylvania, Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing in 2005 and 2013. The materials are arranged in ten series that shed light on her prolific academic career as well as insight into her personal life.
The first series concentrates on Dr. Baer’s personal life, particularly through correspondence and cards. In addition there are several papers outlining her family history as well as the personal experiences of both herself and her brother, Jim Davidson, through his fight with AIDS.
Series 2 focuses on the academic career of Dr. Baer, primarily at the University of Pennsylvania. These papers explore her professional correspondence, the two federally funded grants she initiated (Oncology and AIDS), her involvement with the Barbara Bates Center as well as the work she did with creating and directing the Hillman Scholars at Penn. Materials also focus on her book drafts and correspondence, consultations, and grant materials amongst other documents.
Series 3 documents the Columbia University-Presbyterian Hospital Alumni Association and the turmoil between the group and the Dean of the School of Nursing, of which Dr. Baer was involved in.
The fourth series contains all the research data from the various projects Dr. Baer work on during her career. This includes correspondence, research copies, notes, and other related materials for each project. Projects include her work on Leonhard Fuld, Nursing History, Chicago training schools, and other hospital training schools in New York. There is also a significant number of notecards pertaining to her various monographs.
Series 5 is the collection of papers, presentations and publications Dr. Baer gave and wrote during her career. They primarily remain in the order she arranged, either by date or theme. Of note are her "Feminist Disdain" piece and related pieces for the New York Times, her speeches on AIDS, St. Vincent’s and other training schools, and women's voices, feminism, and nursing. Series 6 contains any printed materials gathered by Dr. Baer.
The last 4 series (7-10) consists of various professional and some personal photographs, slide materials for presentations, audio and video cassette tapes, awards and artifacts.
Gift of Ellen D. Baer
- University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open to researchers unless otherwise noted to protect individual identifiable information.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Center with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.
This series contains documents regarding Dr. Baer’s personal life. Items primarily consist of personal correspondence and cards. In addition, this section contains her Curriculum Vita and a her family history. One folder of note documents the personal experience of Dr. Baer and her brother Jim Davidson, over his battle with AIDS. Jim passed away in Jan 1989 from complications due to AIDS.
Please see series 2.2-2 (AIDS Course), series 5 (Papers, etc. for AIDS related speeches and papers), and series 7 (Photographs and Slides, family slides for AIDS presentations) for additional documents related to the family experiences with AIDS.
[see also Artifacts for item]
This section contains all the documents related to Dr. Baer’s professional career in academia. Most of the papers relate to her time at the University of Pennsylvania though there are some documents regarding consultations and other positions. This series is broken down into the following sub-series: Correspondence and Promotions, Courses (Oncology and AIDS), Barbara Bates Center Materials and Publications, Hillman Scholars, Book Publication Materials, Consultations, and Other Materials.
This sub-series consists of the correspondence, letters and cards received by Dr. Baer. These documents are often in congratulations for awards, articles, or promotions. Letters are also in reference to professional developments and organizations. Another significant portion of correspondence is letters responding to Dr. Baer’s New York Times pieces on "Feminist Disdain". This letters were used by Barbara Bates for an outside piece.
This course was a nursing class funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Public Service, Division of Nursing, originally between 1985 and 1988. The purpose of the program was to expand the existing Adult Health and Illness Program by creating an Oncology Nursing track to prepare students with advanced knowledge and practice for their complex roles in balancing cancer control and management in the growing cases of cancer patients. Correspondence, grant applications and reports, and course materials document this important federally funded grant.
This course was developed for a special grant project “Expanded Clinical Education for Graduating Nursing Students through the Care of Patients with AIDS” funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Public Service, Division of Nursing, 1989-1992. This course was designed to prepare students for caring for AIDS patients in ambulatory, acute, and long term care facilities. The development of this course corresponds with the growing AIDS epidemic, the personal experience of Dr. Baer and her brother during his fight with AIDS, and the treatment and health care system they encountered.
This sub-section contains the materials produced and published by the Barbara Bates Center, of which Dr. Baer was one of the three founders. This includes publications, mailings, reports and grants submitted by Center faculty.
The Alex Hillman Family Foundation partnered with the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing to develop the Hillman Scholars Program. This program, first introduced in 1990, began has an innovative loan-forgiveness program that provided scholarships to nursing students in exchange for a two year work commitments at a New York hospital. Since then this program has expanded to other locations and in 2011 the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation was developed to foster nursing PhDs. The materials in this series were generated during the creation of the program, its initial inception, and during Dr. Baer’s tenure as program director. Documents include correspondence, applications, clinical placements, reports, financial reports, and other related items. Some individual folders may be restricted to protect student personal identifiable information.
Restrictions May Apply
This sub-series focuses on the correspondence, proposals, drafts, publication agreements and other materials regarding the books Dr. Baer co-edited on nursing history. Of note, this section contains “The Abandonment of the Patient” draft and original transcript lecture held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Documented in this section are the consultations and other positions that Dr. Baer worked on during her career and after her retirement from Penn. There are several materials from projects with New York University and the University of Miami. Documents range from correspondence to final reports to background materials.
Contained in this section are grant applications, references written by Dr. Baer, lecture notes from talks she attended, and other related materials. Grants include “Nursing and Knowledge in America: An Historical Analysis” which sought to use historical methodology to investigate nursing’s efforts to become science. it focused on “what research meant to nurses, how they defined it, how they did it, who did it, how the techniques were learned, [and] how the results were utilized”. Also included here is her Fulbright Application which allowed her to travel to Greece and her work with the Teagle Foundation.
These papers document the changes and turmoil at Columbia University and in the Alumni Association of the Columbia University-Presbyterian Hospital, the changes in nursing programs, and the economic and political situation that propelled the two parties to into two different directions and the creation of a second Alumni Association. Documents include correspondence between the alumni board and the dean of nursing, personal correspondence, legal documents, by-laws, board minutes and mails, and other related materials.
For additional background information about these documents and Dr. Baer’s thoughts on the situation, read the first folder in the series “N.B. paper”.
Books related to Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing are listed in series 5 Papers, etc. under subgroup Books.
Dr. Baer’s research for the Helene Fuld Health Trust was part of the Trust’s efforts to collate and preserve the record and history of founder Dr. Leonhard Felix Fuld and his family’s interest in funding nurses’ education and welfare projects. This was in conjunction to a film project to recount people’s recollections of Trust related events and the scholarly historical research would be the bases for any script needed for the film. The research led to the publication of a research essay on Dr. Fuld and his family in Leonhard Felix Fuld, 19th century reformer in a 20th century world. (Indianapolis, Ind: Center Nursing Press of Sigma Theta Tau International, 1993). Documents in this section include research notes and primary and secondary source copies, research correspondence and quarterly progress reports.
Also see series 5 for additional papers, series 8 for the Fuld Video Tapes from David Wallace and series 2.7 for research notes on notecards.
This subseries contains all the documents, notes, correspondence, and research copies from various archives related to Dr. Baer’s work on nursing history.
Additional information can be found in series 2.7 for research notes on notecards. Also see series 5 papers, presentations and publications.
This project focused on students’ reactions to clinical experiences. Conducted by Dr. Baer and Barbara Lowery, the research focused on patient and situational factors that affect nursing students’ like or dislike of caring for patients. The resulting data was collected via a questionnaire arranged to represent various models on empathy position. Documents include research notes, data collected, coding to record and analyze the data, empathy literature and draft papers.
Also see series 5 Papers, Presentations and Publications.
The research data listed here was used for various research papers and projects, including “Aspirations of Illusions”. The documents in this subseries include research correspondence, research copies of primary and secondary sources from various archives, and archive literature.
Also see 2.7 Notecards for additional notes on this project as well as series 5 Papers, Presentations and Publications.
This subseries contains some of the research concerning Presbyterian Hospital. The majority of notes can be found in series 2.7 Notecards and the resulted papers and publications in series 5.
This research project focused on the history of a century of care at St. Vincent’s Hospital and St. Vincent’s School of Nursing in New York for their Centennial Celebration in 1992.
Also see series 2.7 Notecards and 5 Papers, Presentations and Publications.
This section contains all the notecards created by Ellen Baer for her various research projects and monographs. The order they are arranged in is the order Dr. Baer sent her collection as. Notecards include her notations on her Fuld Project, Chicago’s “Aspiration” paper, data collected for her work on Presbyterian and St. Vincent’s hospital, as well as other projects.
This section contains all the papers, presentations, and publications (articles, newsletters, or newspaper pieces) Dr. Baer wrote during her career. They primarily remain grouped together as Dr. Baer arranged them, either by date or by topic. Papers of interest include the Feminist Disdain related works, nursing history and related works on Chicago, Presbyterian and Columbia training schools, and health care systems.
Included in this series are the papers and presentations concerning AIDS as related to series 1 Personal, series 2.2.-2 AIDS Course. Slides for the presentation are listed in series 7. Also see series 4 Research for any research data linked to specific publications
Related to other AIDS materials
Slides removed from folder
This series focuses on the printed materials obtained by Dr. Baer, including newsletters from the American Association for the History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania publications, and conference programs.
Contained in this series are the photographs and slides for this collection. Photographs are primarily from the late 1980s-2000s (though there are some prior to then and more recent) taken at various events and award ceremonies. The slides in this collection are collected here. This includes presentation slides from “The Dangerous Sick” [AIDS], for “American Nursing: 100 Years” as well as nursing images.
The Baer collection contains several audio cassette tapes and video cassette tapes. Audio tapes include talks given on the radio by Dr. Baer as well as the “Women’s Voices, Women’s Choices” series held at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Video cassette tapes includes news segments about her AIDS course, award ceremonies, as well as the Fuld Research Project Tapes. In addition, there is a CD of the Columbia University, 50th Reunion Class of 1962.
This section contains the documents related to awards Dr. Baer earned during her career, certifications, and diplomas. Plaque and statues for awards are found in series 10 Artifacts.
Within this series are the artifacts, awards, and framed items donated by Ellen Baer. Items include her Lavinia L. Dock award and Distinguished Nurse Researcher Award. In addition, there are several professional framed items, including "A Tradition of Service" (6 nursing stamps), “Cared for.-by L. Huard” from The Illustrated London News, Dec 24, 1870, and "Miss Nightingale in the Hospital at Scutari".