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.
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In 1871, the Reverend Ephaim D. Saunders, D.D. contributed two and a half acres of his property at 39th Street and Powelton Avenue to the Philadelphia Presbyterian Alliance for the purpose of establishing a hospital. The Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia was incorporated on March 25, 1871, under a charter approved by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, to be established and maintained by the Presbyterian Church. The first two objects of the corporation were stated to be 1) To provide medical and surgical aid and nursing for the sick and disabled, either in the wards of the Hospital or at their own homes, and 2) To provide the instructions and consolations of religion according to the doctrines and forms of the Presbyterian Church, for those who are under the care of the institution.
The Trustees held their first meeting on April 3, 1871. The task of raising funds for equipment and maintenance was considerably lightened by a $300,000 endowment given by John A. Brown, Esq. On July 1, 1872, Presbyterian Hospital was opened for patients with John A. E. Walk as Superintendent and Mrs. Anna M. Knisell as Matron. The Superintendent worked in conjunction with the Matron to insure that the patients were receiving proper care and treatment from the nurses. While the annual reports of this time make no references to the nurses engaged to care for the patients, it is probable that women were employed for this service as needed and were supervised by doctors, the attending Medical Officer, the Superintendent, and the Matron.
In 1874, the out-patients' department was begun with two physicians and two surgeons on duty. A Men's Surgical Ward was built and opened the following year, beginning a fairly long period of structural expansion. Through the efforts of the Ladies' Aid Society, the Women's Surgical Ward was erected and opened in 1878. Mr. Walk, Superintendent since the opening of the hospital, died in 1888. Dr. William P. Cochrane succeeded him and this brought about change in the hospital administration. By September of 1889, the collaborated efforts of Miss Caroline L. Farnum and the Ladies' Aid Society resulted in the establishment of the Training School for Nurses. Miss Farnum was appointed Directress of Nurses.
In 1891, the first graduating class of eight students received diplomas. As the new superintendent, Miss Alice Brownlee changed the role of the superintendent by no longer giving the majority of the lectures as her predecessor, Miss Farnum, had done. However, she continued to work in the ward. Lectures to the nursing students were allocated to the staff physicians who held lectures only once a week. By this time, an Administration Building opened, and two wards were added to the hospital. One year later, the Richardson Home for Convalescents at Devon was completed and opened. Miss Lucy Walker, the Reverend Charles, and Mrs. Dickey organized the personnel of the Home.
Brownlee resigned as Directress of Nurses in 1892, and Miss Walker succeeded. Miss Walker had recently graduated from St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, England, during the Nightingale reforms movement. She brought the British training influence to the Presbyterian Hospital Training School. Upon acceptance of the superintendent position, Walker established a few of her own conditions; she would conduct administrative work only and would not assist physicians or work in the wards. During Walker's leadership, requirements for admission into the Training School and the curriculum were revised. The new curriculum included Massage and Electricity and a course in dietetics under a trained dietician. The length of the training program was also extended to three years. Walker participated in several pioneer nursing and administrative organizations such as the Society of Superintendents and the Alumni Association of the Presbyterian Hospital Training School.
When Walker resigned in 1895, her assistant, Miss Caroline Isabella Milne, succeeded. Milne maintained the position of superintendent for fifteen years. Similar to Miss Walker in disposition and sternness, Milne continued Walker's goals of redefining nursing and nursing education. Miss Milne had participated in the Spanish-American War effort in 1898 and she was involved in the amalgamation of nursing alumnae associations.
In 1899, a Nurses' Home was erected and completed to provide more adequate residence for the increasing number of nurses. To keep up with the changing times, the curriculum was occasionally supplemented with external training such as the Preston Retreat, which was a two-month training program in obstetrics. Miss Milne established a gynecology course in 1902 and, three years later, the Presbyterian Hospital opened a maternity service providing the student nurses with home-based obstetrics experience. A "probationary course" was established in which the student nurses had to be trained in basic nursing skills before being allowed to work in the wards.
In 1918, the Training School enlarged to accommodate the need for more nurses in war service and to care for the victims of the influenza epidemic. To accomplish this, Milne accelerated the nursing curriculum to two years and she helped supervise the Army School of Nursing at Camp Dix for a short period. By this time there were 89 students enrolled and two full-time instructors. The State Board of Nurses, established in 1918, gave its approval of the Presbyterian Hospital Training School.
In 1920, Milne retired and returned to her place of birth in Scotland. Mrs. Mary Close Eden filled the superintendent position and remained in this station for sixteen years. Much like her predecessor, Eden continued to revise the curriculum and to maintain strict organization. The student nurses kept twelve-hour clinical workdays and stringent dress and behavior codes. Under her direction, staff physicians continued to provide the lectures and student nurses filled hospital staff positions. Along with pioneering early courses in psychiatric nursing, Eden established an affiliation with the Pennsylvania Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases (now known as the Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital). In 1928, an addition to the Nurses' Home was completed to accommodate the increasing number of nurses.
Miss Helen Leader succeeded Eden as director of nurses at Presbyterian Hospital and of the Presbyterian Hospital Training School upon Eden's retirement in 1936. Being the first director of the Training School to hold a college degree, Leader advocated the pursuit of higher education and affiliated the Training School with Hood College of Maryland. This latter affiliation was short-lived, however, due to the demands of World War II and other factors. A shortage of nurses resulted from the war effort and the demands of the home front. Miss Leader responded to the wartime need by supporting the Presbyterian Hospital Training School's involvement with the federal government's Cadet Nurse Corps Program.
Following Leader's death in 1952, Mary Ellen Brown was appointed director. A third position, director of nursing education, was created due to the expansion of the nursing service department and reorganization of the administrative structure. Brown's responsibilities were mainly administrative. She worked closely with Miss Dorothy Richards, the director of nursing education, who became the next director of the Training School in 1966.
Prior to her appointment as the director of the Training School, Richards had already had a long list of accomplishments at the Training School. In 1953, she established an affiliation with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to broaden the nurses' clinical experience in pediatrics. In 1955, she helped to secure the contract with the University of Pennsylvania to provide basic science courses and continued to work in order to allow nursing students to acquire transferable college credits from the University. Richards also increased the number of faculty to include clinical instructors and reduced the number of instruction hours given by physicians.
In 1965 the Presbyterian-University of Pennsylvania Medical Center was established, but the Training School remained a separate entity. The training school later changed its name to the Presbyterian School of Nursing of the Presbyterian-University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. In 1966, the Presbyterian School of Nursing separated from the Presbyterian Hospital Service. This, in effect, made Richards director of the Presbyterian School of Nursing. With this separation, students no longer had to meet the hospital's nursing service needs, and the faculty became responsible for all student instruction in both clinical assignments as well as classroom instruction. This restructuring ended the ambiguous position of nursing students in hospital administration and nursing education and emphasized the latter's importance. The nursing education curriculum gradually changed to become more similar to collegiate or associate degree programs.
Richards ended the Presbyterian School of Nursing's affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania and joined with La Salle University in 1973. She advocated such a change so that nursing students would have gained the opportunity to earn baccalaureate degrees for courses in science, English, and social studies. The Presbyterian School of Nursing also collaborated with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to bring the students closer to their home base for clinical work.
Upon Richards' retirement in 1977, Mrs. Doris Earle Zell Wardell served as the director of the Presbyterian School of Nursing. In 1978, Wardell resigned and Florence Crawford took over the reins. In her short tenure, Crawford maintained traditional student activities as well as individual student and faculty counseling. The following year, 1979, Mary Ann Morgan took over the directorship.
Morgan's five-year administration effected curriculum revisions which incorporated concepts of the nursing process, human growth and development, and health and wellness. This revision paralleled the expansion of health concerns in the rest of the country. The school's instruction in liberal arts and sciences moved from La Salle University to Beaver College. Upon Morgan's resignation in 1984, Mrs. Josephine Cantone became director.
During the next three years, a remedial program was established to meet the needs of traditional and non-traditional nursing students. Due to the expanding job market for women and the impact of the Women's Rights Movement of the 1960's, less women were entering the nursing field. Rather than lowering the schools' admission standards, and thereby compromising the school's academic reputation, a proposal was made that the school consider phasing out. Faculty recognized the need for this phase-out process and the idea was accepted. The last class of the Presbyterian School of Nursing was graduated in 1987.
Gift of Jodi Cantone and I. Donald Snook.
- 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
Series 4 is restricted.
- 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 consists of printed Hospital Annual Reports, 1871-1954 and 1981, and administrative correspondence relating to the school of nursing, 1963-1981.
This series is divided into two portions, administration and faculty. The former contains records regarding admissions, affiliations, financial matters, histories, personnel, student activities, NLN reports and self-evaluations to NLN, State Board of Nurse Examiners, and the closing of the school. The latter portion contains records generated by the school's faculty such as committee minutes, course descriptions and outlines, and manuals. This series is the largest part of the collection. The categories within the series are alphabetical.
Included in this series are roll sheets by class, grades and rank, NLN test results, scholarship letters, and class questionnaires.
This series contains records of graduated students from the years 1889-1987 and are arranged by student graduate number. To determine a student's graduate number, student names are listed alphabetically by last name in a card file. Discontinued student files can be accessed directly as the files themselves are arranged alphabetically by last name. For the years 1889-1911, there are two ledger books with a one-volume index. Other ledger books describe the candidates who applied to the Training School for Nurses in the period 1889-1924. Two ledger books describe the students' clinical assignments for the years 1913-1921.
A student's graduate number can be found by referring to the Presbyterian School of Nursing card file (arranged by students' last names alphabetically), located in the stack room of the Center for the Study of the History of Nursing.
Here are a broken run of annual reports for the years 1931-1987, by-laws, dues ledgers for the years 1894-1945, "Alumnae Day" and award recipient materials, and a scrapbook of memorabilia from nurses who participated in World War II.
The bulk of this small series is comprised of minutes. There is a scattering of reports from 1952-1981.
This series includes a nearly complete collection of formal class portraits from 1891 to 1970. Other materials include a small photograph album, individual (loose) photographs, instructional film loops and film strips demonstrating clinical procedures, and a scrapbook. Loose photographs have been arranged under five subseries as follows: subseries A/ Hospital; subseries B/ School of Nursing; subseries C/ activities and programs; subseries D/ student life; and subseries E/ miscellaneous.