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Archie J. and Mary S. Hanlan papers


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

Archie Hanlan (1924-1973) was a social worker and an Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania. Hanlan graduated in 1949 from the University of California, Berkeley, and with his wife Mary joined the American Friends Service Committee as a co-director of various workcamps in Mexico. The Hanlans returned to the States after a year, and Archie Hanlan began a career in social work. He returned to school and eventually graduated from the first class of UC-Berkeley’s doctoral program in social work in 1967. After three years at Washington University, he was offered a position with the University of Pennsylvania. Hanlan was to lead an interdepartmental team in developing the United States’ first doctoral program in the administration of human services, but in 1971 he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. In 1973 he anonymously published an article entitled "Notes of a Dying Professor" in the University of Pennsylvania’s alumni magazine, the Pennsylvania Gazette, detailing his experiences as a hospital patient. The article had a significant impact, provoking a large reader response and further articles from Hanlan. During his illness he also participated in several seminars on the topic of dying. Hanlan continued writing about living with ALS until his death later in 1973. His book, "Autobiography of Dying," was published posthumously in 1979.

Mary Hanlan was born in 1928. She graduated in 1950 from the University of California, Berkeley, and in 1966 received her M.S.W. from the same school. Her career focused on family therapy and child welfare. She obtained the copyright to her husband’s works after his death, and in 1978 published her own experiences in an article for the Pennsylvania Gazette, “Living With a Dying Husband.” Mary Hanlan has authored several papers on thanatology and women in social work. She has also been very involved in various community mental health organizations in the Philadelphia area, including the Philadelphia Coalition of Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Centers, Intercommunity Action, and the West Philadelphia Community Mental Health Consortium.

This collection includes manuscript drafts, published articles, correspondence, and notes. Also included are audio tapes, which consist of Archie Hanlan’s original dictation about his experiences. Most of the materials are related to the publications of the Hanlans’ writings, with the bulk of the collection dated between 1971 and 1979.

Gift of Mary S. Hanlan, 2012.

University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Bethany Myers
Access Restrictions

This collection is unrestricted.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Center with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents note

This series contains Archie and Mary Hanlan’s published and unpublished articles and papers. It includes copies of relevant Pennsylvania Gazette issues, a folder of photographic proofs taken by the Gazette, and the original typescript for the introduction to Autobiography of Dying. It also includes a folder of Mary Hanlan’s publications with related correspondence.

Photographic proofs taken by the Pennsylvania Gazette.
Box 1 Folder Unfoldered
Issues of the Pennsylvania Gazette regarding the Hanlans.
Box 1 Folder 1
Typescript and notes for Autobiography of Dying.
Box 1 Folder 2
Article: “A Patient’s View of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis”.
Box 1 Folder 3
Archie Hanlan’s other published articles and book reviews; course outline for a class in social work administration.
Box 1 Folder 4
Mary Hanlan’s papers and publications, with related correspondence.
Box 1 Folder 5

Scope and Contents note

This series contains reader and publisher correspondence related to Archie Hanlan’s articles, primarily “Notes of a Dying Professor,” and his book, Autobiography of Dying, including the Hanlans’ copyright contracts with Doubleday and the Pennsylvania Gazette. This series also contains published articles that interview or discuss Archie Hanlan.

Box 1 Folder 6
Box 1 Folder 7
Personal / Other.
Box 1 Folder 8
Copyright agreements.
Box 1 Folder 9
Reviews of Autobiography of Dying.
Box 1 Folder 10
Published articles mentioning Archie Hanlan.
Box 1 Folder 11

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of eleven audio tapes: nine cassette tapes and two magnetic recording tapes. The tapes contain Archie Hanlan’s personal dictation, some of which later became Autobiography of Dying, as well as recordings of seminars and interviews.

Album containing seven cassette tapes.
Box 2 Folder Unfoldered
Two cassette tapes: Autobiography of Dying.
Box 2 Folder 1
Two magnetic audio tapes: interviews and seminars.
Box 2 Folder 3

Scope and Contents note

This series consists of transcripts of a draft of Autobiography and several seminars. Some of these transcripts may correspond with the audio tapes in Series III.

Autobiography of Dying.
Box 2 Folder 3
Box 2 Folder 4

Scope and Contents note

This series of one folder contains Mary Hanlan’s biography of Archie Hanlan, along with her own resume. It also contains newspaper clippings, and copies of Archie’s articles previously owned by his editor, Muriel Nelson.

Biographical information, news clippings, etc.
Box 2 Folder 5

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