Anne L. Austin 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
Born and raised in Ischua, New York, Anne Austin (1891-1986) became a prominent historian of nursing. Austin graduated in 1915 from Lockport High School in Lockport, New York, and received her diploma from what is now the Millard Fillmore Hospital School of Nursing in 1917.
After two years as a private duty nurse in Buffalo, Austin joined the Army Nurse Corps and served in Vittel, France, during World War I. Upon returning to New York in 1919, she began a career in teaching, eventually attaining full professorship at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. With a Master of Arts in sociology, she taught social and professional subjects, including history of nursing.
After retiring in 1948, Austin began teaching part-time at various schools including UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania. Her post-retirement activities also included writing, her best known work being A History of Nursing Sourcebook (1957). The book was published at a time when the teaching of nursing history was beginning to lose its place in the curriculum to new specialties and subspecialties. Austin, however, revealed her dedication to the subject not only with her source book, but by following it up with additional books, articles, and lectures on the subject. She also headed several state committees dedicated to locating and preserving source materials in nursing. In 1947, she became one of the first members appointed to the National League of Nursing's Committee on Historical Source Materials, serving in that position until 1967. Austin also served on committees on historical resources at the California League of Nursing and University of Pennsylvania. She joined the Medical Heritage Society in the early 1970s.
Her contributions to nursing history led to several awards, including a 1974 award for distinguished achievements in research and scholarship from the Alumnae Association of Teachers College, Columbia University.
The collection consists mainly of two parts: personal material and manuscripts. It provides an insight to the motivation for Anne Austin's interest in nursing history. Her enthusiasm for research in the history of nursing and her conviction of its importance are evident in such unpublished articles in this collection as "Historical Research - A Personal Account of Its Pleasures," and "The Uses of History: Do They Apply to Nursing?" The research-related materials in this collection concerning three of her major works: A History of Nursing Sourcebook (1957), A History of Nursing from Ancient to Modern Times (1962) and The Woolsey Sisters of New York (1971), bear further testimony to the thoroughness of Austin's work. These materials, supplemented with personal correspondence to and from her peers are sufficient to establish Anne Austin as a nursing historian.
Gift of Lillian S. Brunner.
- 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
- This collection was processed with funds provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission as part of the Nursing History Processing and Cataloging Project.
- 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 consists of a resume prepared in 1978 for the Committee on the History of Nursing of the Pennsylvania League for Nursing. Also included are a clipping from the Niagara County Historical Society newsletter that commends Austin as a "famous woman of Lockport," the town where she began her nursing career, several congratulatory letters that she received upon the publication of the above-mentioned newsletter and other personal correspondence. The personal correspondence features her communications with Celia Guzman and Lillian Brunner, the former spanning fourteen years and the latter eleven years. While the Austin-Brunner correspondence begins with Austin's writing to Brunner, it ends with a series of letters that Brunner wrote on Austin's behalf due to her advancing years and failing health. Included in this series is also a photo album of Anne Austin as well as some miscellaneous pictures dating from 1910 to 1981. These photographs are of Anne Austin, her friends, and some images of nursing summer school.
This series begins with a review of her co-authored work The History of the Farrand Training School for Nurses (1936). The bulk of the series, however, relates to her three major works, starting with History of Nursing Sourcebook (1957). This book was unique at the time for its use of more than three hundred quotations from original sources regarding the history of nursing. In addition to research notes and manuscripts, Austin's correspondence with various libraries and research institutions is attached. Also included are public relations material that comments on the work as well as correspondence received by Austin upon the book's publication.
Material covering Austin's second book, A History of Nursing from Ancient to Modern Times (1962), is somewhat thin. The book was co-authored with the noted nursing historian, Isabel M. Stewart. The file includes advertisements related to the publication of the work and library cards used by Austin in her research.
Austin's third book, The Woolsey Sisters of New York (1971), profiles the sisters Abby, Georgeanna, and Jane Woolsey, who were instrumental in the development of nursing during the Civil War. Included here is such research material as transcripts of the sisters' diaries, information on the family which Austin did not incorporate into the book, Austin's correspondence with the Woolsey family before and after the book's publication, and finally, copies of reviews and letters received by Austin from her peers.
This series includes published and unpublished articles that reflect Austin's dedication to the promotion of nursing history. "The Pleasures of Writing About a Remarkable Family" (1972) recounts the author's experience with the Woolsey book. In "Historical Research - A Personal Account of Its Pleasures," the author encourages those who would undertake research projects in the field. "The Uses of History: Do They Apply to Nursing?" focuses on the theme that history is not only useful but essential to an effective nursing curriculum. The series also includes the text of a memorial service for Edell Little, a transcript of an oral interview about Isabel Maitland Stewart, and one folder relating to Notable American Women, 1607-1950 that provides information on Austin's contribution to the Radcliffe biographical dictionary on the Woolsey family.