Mercy Douglass Hospital records, MC78

Date created 1896-1977
Abstract The collection consists mainly of records of Mercy-Douglass Hospital, a merger of two institutions, Mercy Hospital and Fredrick Douglass Hospital, records of the school of nursing (predominantly its student files), and some 200 photographs related to both hospital and school. The collection provides important documentation of the black experience in nursing.
Additional Description Pre-1920 materials in this collection are scarce, but those that do exist have much to offer. Student records (from Fredrick Douglass Hospital) digitized for In Her Own Right include applications, letters from potential students and references, transcripts, and photographs. Charting age, educational and employment background, location, religion, performance, and employment after graduation, these sources document demographics of nursing students, the subjects required for training, and the qualities associated with a successful nurse.
Research Interest This collection documents the intersections of efficiency and respectability among African Americans in the Progressive-era medical field. (Indeed, a portion of nurses' transcripts was even referred to as the efficiency record.) Students were to be well-educated and of good moral character (and were required to provide letters of recommendation testifying to this effect), neat, clean, and of pleasing appearance, and both obedient and assertive. Drawing on these values gave young black women a way of exercising agency, even as they were class-specific.
Size 26 linear feet
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Local identifier MC 78
Contributing institution Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing | University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
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