Margaret M Allemang Centre for the History of Nursing
Bulletin Description Bulletin Archives Membership
Description Bulletin Archives Membership




MAY 1988

Margaret M. Allemang Centre for Nursing History

Editor: Natalie Riegler, RN, PhD. 3 Dromore Crescent, Willowdale, Ontario, M2R 2H4.
TEL: 416-221-5632 E-MAIL:


The following are bits and pieces that have come across our desks and which we think might be of interest. We hope you do too. But if you don't, and want to make the content better send us something for the next issue.

Pat Grant, Director of Nursing, Norfolk General Hospital, Simcoe Ontario, kindly submitted an article about her growing collection of artifacts and records. Pat has also been collecting bibliographical material about past Canadian nurse leaders.



During past graduate studies in 1975, the locating of records and relics became an exciting part of the preparation of a major paper in historical research in nursing entitled, "Preparation of the Nurse in 1927-1930." The practice of never discarding anything that could be significant to nursing history started. The collection continues to grow and could be described as a mini museum of nursing history. In it are books, registration examinations of 1930 and 1928 regulations for a training school for nurses. There are also boxes of little treasures that include glass syringes, glass drinking tubes and a vial of camphor.

Locating items of historical significance is an on-going adventure. One never knows when a treasure will appear. Yard sales and auctions are one source. Another source is people who contact you about something they found when cleaning their attic or basement.

The true value of the collection is realized as one examines the item(s) and contemplates its significance to nursing history. For example, a 1928 letter of acceptance to a training school for nurses could be considered interesting until one starts to reflect on the letter and to ask questions? Who wrote the letter? Why did she want to study nursing? What was her background? Who received the letter? What was her position? What responsibilities did she have? What was the course of studies? How did the training school affect the function of the hospital? The questions go on and lead the examiner to ask questions about patient care, the technology of the time, the educational system and the social, economic and political issues of the time. As answers are found, more questions are asked and the examiner evolves into the position of trying to gain a perspective of the times and of placing a person or persons in those times.

The thought processes that one item stimulates can be both exciting and exhausting. But, the end result is always the same. The investigator realizes that the study of history does develop an awareness of what it means to be human.

Records and relics are evidence of human endeavours of the past. The reflections they stimulate can guide the researcher to developing a perspective of nursing history that focuses on people and their activities and can assist in problem-solving for to-day and planning for the future.



RECENTLY COMPLETED DOCTORATE: Stuart, Meryn. "Let Not My People Perish: History of a Public Health Nursing Experience in Ontario, 1920-1925." Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1987. In Bulletin (American Association for the History of Nursing), 17 (Winter 1988): 2. [Meryn is on faculty, University of Ottawa. Her thesis may be available on inter-library loan from that university.].




The School of Nursing, University at Buffalo, State University of New York in collaboration with the American Association for the History of Nursing is holding a conference entitled "Nightingale and Her Era: New Scholarship about Women and Nursing" on April 28 and 29, 1989.

Anyone wishing to present should contact: Marietta P. Stanton, Ph.D., Director, Continuing Nurse Education Program, 124 Kimball Tower, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 3435 Main Street, Buffalo, New York, 14214. 716/831-3291.


Baer, Ellen D. "Nursing's Divided House--An Historical View." Nursing Research 34 (January/February 1984): 33-38.

Baly, Monica E. "Florence Nightingale: Founder of Modern Nursing.Part 1: The Crimean Experience." Humane Medicine 2 (May 1986): 13-18.

Englert, DeAnn M., Kathleen S. Crocker, and Nancy A. Stotts. "Nutrition Education in Schools of Nursing in the United States. Part 1. The Evolution of Nutrition Education in Schools of Nursing." Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 10 (September/October 1986): 522-527.

Flaumenhaft, Eugene, and Carol Flaumenhaft. "Four Books that Changed Nursing." Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 42 (January 1987): 54-72.

Keddy, Barbara, Margaret Jones Gillis, Pat Jacobs, Heather Burton, and Maureen Rogers. "The Doctor--Nurse Relationship: An Historical Perspective." Journal of Advanced Nursing 11 (November 1986): 745-753.

Lounder, Barbara. "(Some) Canadian Women and War." Atlantis 12 (Spring 1987): 87-89.

Parsons, Margaret, and Mary Helen Williams. "Teaching Nursing History." Nurse Educator 12 (January/February 1987): 38-42.



Carnegie, Mary Elizabeth. The Path We Tread: Blacks in Nursing 1854-1984. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1986.

Jones, Anne Hudson, ed. Images of Nurses: Perspectives from History, Art, and Literature. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988.



Judy Young prepared the following summary from the questionnaires returned after the first Bulletin mailing:

There were 16 responses. Below are the numbers of people who said "Yes" to the following questions. There were not many "No's" but there were blanks.

Interested in,

Annual meeting at RNAO Convention 8

Meeting 2 or 3 times per year 10

Regular newsletter 10

Contribute to newsletter 7


Tape record June 15th keynote speaker.

An affiliate RNAO group would be appropriate.

If linked with RNAO concern re: the problem of excluding non-nurse members.

Support group important for people doing academic work or those interested in doing such work.

A network of interested people important but distance a problem. National newsletter may be the best way to keep in touch.

Myra Rutherdale--very interested in helping to write and organize a newsletter as well as helping to establish a Canadian Nurses Archives in Toronto.



Godfrey, Stephen. "Battle for a B.C. Landmark." Globe and Mail, 23 April 1988, C3.

How many of you knew that the Georgia Medical Dental Building in Vancouver has "three nurses, each almost three metres high, . . . , perched on a corner of the building, 11 stories off the ground." These nurses are "affectionately dubbed the 'Rhea' sisters--`Pia,' `Dia' and Gonna'--by the original buildings [it took me a while to get the message on that one: clue--run first and last name together]." The nurses are in British and Canadian army uniform. The building itself is of 1929 vintage. Apparently if the present building is to be replaced the nurses "will be either reinstalled--or, if they don't make the move in one piece, reproduced--on the new structure's third-story corners." I took a look at the Toronto Medical Arts Building , Bloor and St. George, to see if any nurses' images graced its edifice--none could be seen. Anyone know the history of the B.C. statues?

Well that brings to a close this Bulletin issue.

On behalf of Judy and myself, may your research be interesting and your writing delightful to read.



© 2000, The Margaret M Allemang Centre for the History of Nursing