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 Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield was organized in 1911 as a committee called the Nursing Bureau. The bureau functioned in close connection with the Charity Organization Society with the purpose of combining the work of various charitable societies and supporting a district nurse. The Bureau was maintained by the City Union of King's Daughters, Board of Education of Plainfield and North Plainfield, Anti-Tuberculosis League, and the Charity Organization Society. In this capacity, the services grew in various directions, notably in child health, communicable diseases, school health, and home health services.
In 1915, the Nursing Bureau changed its name to the Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield with its own constitution and by-laws. Mrs. Frederick Goddard was elected President of a Board of Trustees consisting of 21 members and several committees to assist with the financial and operative work of the Association. To meet the demand for services, the staff increased from three to five nurses. The next three years the nursing staff provided service to children impaired by infantile paralysis (1916). This additional service was performed until 1925. The "Little Mothers League" was established in order to instruct children of ethnic backgrounds in proper care of their baby brothers and sisters at home (1916). A request for home-care follow-ups for all discharged ward patients was received from the Muhlenburg Hospital (1917), and the Association granted the request. In 1918, the VNA volunteered its efforts to meet the community's needs during the influenza epidemic.
The next decade brought increases in well-baby clinics, pre-natal and maternity, and home care services. Due to the expansion of services, the Board of Trustees was cognizant of a need of a Director of Nurses. Ruth Fisher, R.N. was appointed to the position. Also, the Black community requested the Association employ a Black nurse to serve in that area. A special grant of the Community Chest (1930) made this additional staff member possible. Financial support of the Association up until the time of the Community Chest (1918) came from the City Union of King's Daughters, Charity Organization Society, Anti-Tuberculosis League, Board of Health of Plainfield and North Plainfield, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and Nursing Service of Plainfield Schools. Also, there were small sums from City Poor Funds and private gifts. Three charitable associations (1918) withdrew their support, and in 1923 the Plainfield schools found it necessary to employ a full-time nurse for health services. In the 1930's financial support was received from Community Chest, Metropolitan Life Insurance, public funds, contributions, and fee for service. For the next two to four decades, the VNA was an integral part of the health and human service network in the tri-county greater Plainfield areas. The Association had contractual relationships with the Veteran's Administration, Medicaid, and Special Child Health Services of the Health Department.
This collection documents the VNA of Plainfield and North Plainfield since 1894, when nursing services were provided by the Nursing Bureau and Charity Organization Society until the VNA’s reorganization and name change to VNA of Plainfield and North Plainfield (1911) and incorporation in 1915. Annual reports from 1911-1953, committee minutes of the King's Daughters (1894-1911), Nursing Auxiliary Committee of Scotch Plains and Fernwood (1930-1963) are included. Additionally, there are Treasurer's Reports and statistical data of clinics, home visits, and community activities. The collection includes a well-documented collection of photographs, many of which were reproduced for public relations, as well as scrapbooks of newspaper clippings of the Association's activities.
Gift of Johanna R. Austin, 1992.
- University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing
- 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 includes materials documenting the Association’s founding and early activities. It provides information of the committees prior to its organization (1911) and its incorporation (1915) of the Visiting Nurse Association of Plainfield and North Plainfield. There are limited materials of by-laws with revisions and correspondence (1939-1951), as well as minutes of the Board of Trustees meetings (1950-1952). In addition, annual reports for (1911-1953, 1983-1984, and 1991) and data about committee meetings are available. The director's annual reports (1930-1957) are on file. Correspondence files include incoming and outgoing correspondence for board appointments, resignations, and acknowledgements.
This small series consists of published and unpublished histories by and about the Association ranging in date from 1894-1940.
This series includes a variety of material used for promotional purposes which includes brochures, pamphlets, invitations, radio script, and the publication It's in the Bag (1934-1970). In addition, scrapbooks (1920-1987) containing a variety of local newspaper clippings promoting the association are available.
Found within the series are the League of Women Voters, Health Committee, "A survey of Health Facilities of the city of Plainfield (1949), meeting reports, and resource materials from national and state nursing organizations. Also, there are files of annual reports and brochures from other local and out-of-state visiting nurse associations and social agencies (1930-1990).
The photographs making up the series are of a public relations nature and depict nurses performing different duties. These include working with parents and children, caring for the homebound patient, providing services to school and health programs, and teaching fathers in parenting classes. There are also photographs of the VNA's exhibits for community chest drives. The Association reproduced many of the photographs found in this series in their annual reports, brochures, and newspaper promotional articles.