Alice Merritt Robinson 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
Alice Merritt Robinson (1921-1983) was born in Sayville, New York in 1921. Inspired by World War II to become a nurse, she attended the Duke University School of Nursing. From 1944 to 1948 she served as an army nurse, during which time she became interested in psychiatric nursing. In 1947, Robinson returned to school to obtain her master's degree from the Boston University School of Nursing. She worked as a psychiatric nurse and clinical instructor at the Boston State Hospital, 1950-1955; at the Menninger Foundation, Topeka, Kansas, 1955-1956; and at the Vermont State Hospital, Waterbury, Vermont, 1956-1962. In 1962 she left hospital nursing to become one of the associate editors of Nursing Outlook. She became the senior editor of Nursing Outlook in 1968 and resigned in 1970 when she felt that she was not getting enough support from her supervisor. Apparently there were some bad feelings in this parting. A minor controversy arose when Robinson gave her employer four months notice. She was instructed to clear out her desk immediately in a letter that implied she had been dismissed. During the years 1958 to 1970 she also served as a consultant to various Veteran's Administration hospitals. From 1971-1975 she was the senior editor of RN Magazine. Through out her career Robinson was a sought after speaker. She gave speeches at graduations, to public organizations, and led workshops. In 1975 Robinson decided to venture into self employment by starting her own business called Specialized Consultants in Nursing (SCIN). The basis of the business was to provide workshops for nurses and people in the health profession as a means of continuing education. SCIN workshops covered such topics as Hypertension Control, Infection Control, and Clinical and Professional Writing as well as others. Other nurses and professionals were employed to help her with the workshops. The workshops were either sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or nursing organizations, or they were paid for by the participants. Robinson continued to run this business until her death in 1983. Robinson was involved in several nursing organizations including the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nurses (NLN). She was in charge of the 1956 NLN Midwestern Conference held at Topeka, Kansas. The Vermont League of Nurses elected Robinson its president in 1959. She was involved in a number of projects for both the ANA and the NLN and she supported student nurses' associations. Throughout her life Robinson was very interested in writing. She had even considered pursuing a degree in English but decided to become a nurse instead. She did, however, write several articles and books during her career. Probably her best known work was a text entitled The Psychiatric Aide which ran for four editions. She wrote a number of other text books and many articles about various aspects of nursing practice. Robinson not only generated professional literature but she wrote fiction also such as the novel The Unbelonging, published in 1958. Author of several other unpublished fiction stories, Robinson's nonfiction work was better received.
Gift of Mary Ann Tuft, 1989.
- 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
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.
This series contains correspondence, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook which pertain to Robinson's family and her personal life. Materials are arranged chronologically.
Included in this series are materials which deal with all aspects of Robinson's professional career: her education, her work as a psychiatric nurse, her speeches and speaking engagements, her work with Nursing Outlook and RN, her writing career, her own business, and the professional organizations with which she was involved. This series is arranged chronologically with some overlap due to commitments outside her full time job. The workshop materials are arranged chronologically according to the first date that the workshop was given.
Contained here are photographs of Robinson, her family, and friends at work and at play. The photographs are arranged chronologically. Two photo albums are also included.
Robinson's diplomas from Duke University for nursing and her BS in Nursing Education from Catholic University make up this series.
The series is comprised of reprints of articles written by Robinson, journals and magazines collected by Robinson, and books written by her. This series is arranged chronologically for individual works and alphabetically for the publications.