Academic Informatics and Technology

Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing, Records, 1863-2013

Summary

Creator: Roosevelt Hospital (New York, N.Y.). School of Nursing
Title: Records
Dates: 1863-2013
Volume: 18 boxes; 51.5 inches

Student transcripts from the Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing are not part of this collection and are not managed by the Aufses Archives. To request a transcript, please contact Latoya Selby of the Mount Sinai West Department of Nursing at latoya.selby@mountsinai.org.

Provenance

A majority of the items forming the Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing Records Collection (RHSON) were donated by the RHSON Alumnae Association and by individual alumnae and/or their relatives. A smaller part of the collection was acquired from the hospital’s administrative departments. The celebratory reunion booklets for 2011 and 2013 were created by the former St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital archives staff.

The Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing Records Collection was transferred to the Mount Sinai Archives from the St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Library in June of 2016, after the 2013 integration of the two hospital systems.

Historical Note

Little was recorded of Roosevelt Hospital’s nursing services for some years following the hospital’s opening in 1871. It is known that sleeping quarters for nurses existed adjacent to the women’s and the men’s wards, which were staffed by male nursing attendants. The women’s nurses and any female patients were under the direction of the hospital’s Matron.  

By 1873, nursing schools were established at both Bellevue Hospital and New York Post-Graduate Hospital. By 1894 an affiliation with New York Post-Graduate Hospital brought nursing students to Roosevelt for a short-term rotation as part of their practical training. In those early years, the typical staffing for a thirty-bed ward consisted of a head nurse, two assistants and one or more probationers whose chief duties were cleaning and bed making. Instruction was strictly practical and conducted on the wards supplemented by one formal class each week. The study curriculum consisted of the principles of bedside nursing and Materia Medica. The duty periods were twelve hours long beginning at 7am.

The hospital continued to expand patient services and build new facilities, such as the McLane and Syms operating theatres (1890; 1892). The Syms Theater had nurses dedicated to that service with living quarters on site. As more staff doctors demanded the presence of trained nurses, the Roosevelt Trustees considered the need to establish a training school for nurses. The idea was stymied, however, because there were no living quarters to house students. When the Out-Patient Pavilion opened in 1885 it had been constructed to allow for the addition of five more stories and in 1894 the Trustees decided that it was time to build these additions. By 1896 the new floors were completed; two were designated as nursing student housing and thus, the Roosevelt Hospital Training School for Nurses was established. On November 16, 1896, the first class of 24 students and 7 probationers was enrolled. 

The aims of the school were: 1) to enable young women to acquire a knowledge of nursing that would place them in the front rank of skilled nurses; 2) to make them self-supporting after graduation; 3) to provide better nursing care for the patients through intelligent, well-educated women; and 4) to prepare students to train others by going into other institutions as teachers. Students accepted for admission were required to be 23 to 35 years of age; single; in sound health; have the equivalent of a grammar-school education; be adaptable to new conditions; have a readiness to make personal sacrifices; and have an equable temperament. The probationary term was two months. At the end of that time, if successful, the student received her nurse’s cap and seven dollars monthly allowance. 

In the first decade of the school the three-year curriculum was expanded to include anatomy, obstetrics, dietetics, and massage. Lectures by interns and visiting medical staff speaking on their specialties became a regular feature of the program. These improvements in instruction allowed the program to successfully register with the Department of Education under the New York State Nurse Registration Act in 1905.

By 1911 enrollment was topping one hundred students and the need for more student housing was answered by the completion of a nurses’ residence at the end of that year. In the 1920s new courses in public health, psychiatry, and communicable diseases were added to the curriculum. A Supervisor of Wards position was added to strengthen the practical bedside instruction, as did the addition of graduate nurses to the general duty and teaching staff. A preliminary term of six months was instituted; after which the student received her cap and was permitted to wear the powder blue uniform with the double white strips that identified a Roosevelt Hospital student nurse. Note that by 1926 the name, “Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing,” was being used in annual reports and any official business.

In the 1930s and early 1940s, the selection of student nurses became more rigid and the content of the curriculum more exacting. The duty rotation was cut back to an eight-hour day from the original twelve hours. Additional instructors and supervisors were added to the medical, surgical, and pediatric nursing areas, and in the science courses and public health nursing. As WWII developed overseas, the Hospital instituted disaster teams for emergency services in the event of a home-front attack and the student nurses gained experience by participating in these teams.

A new wing was added onto the Nurses’ Residence in 1955 with additional living quarters, study and lecture rooms, and laboratory and library facilities. In 1956 the nursing school was separated from the nursing service. One of the results of these improvements was the school’s full accreditation, in July 1957, by the National League for Nursing. 

The growth of the school soon out-paced the facilities, which were quickly becoming inadequate. In 1960 an Ad Hoc Committee was formed to consider the future of the school and how to best meet its needs, were it to continue. The outcome of this study was a decision to collapse the three-year program into two years, the framework for which was developed by the nursing faculty. This proposal was approved by New York State Department of Education in 1962, and it received a commendation for its original plan.

The new program was put into effect in September 1963 and was followed by a fifty per cent increase in applications, credited to the change in the length of program, and possibly the renovation and refurnishing of the oldest section of nurses’ quarters completed that year. Another factor may have been additional improvements in the practical training, such as the availability of training in psychiatric nursing on site in the newly opened psychiatry unit in the Tower Building, instead of traveling to New York Hospital’s Westchester Division.  Another change for the nursing school in the 1960s was the entrance of the first male student in 1968, graduating with the class of 1969. Three men graduated with the class of 1972, and five with the class of 1974.

By the mid-1960s professional nursing organizations were calling for nursing programs to be removed from hospitals and placed solely in the hands of academic institutions. In addition, medical advances were increasing the responsibilities being delegated to the nursing staff, requiring more educational experience, and the costs of running a training program were increasingly unsupportable by hospitals. By the early 1970s the Hospital was actively investigating participation in baccalaureate programs with Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and John Jay College. The program with Columbia did not move forward, and it is unclear if the proposal for John Jay College was accepted either. In 1973 the Board of Trustees, upon the advice of its Executive Committee, decided to accept no new students and to close the School of Nursing with the graduation of the class of 1974, “so all enrolled students receive the education they expected upon entering the school.” 

Over its seventy-eight years of nursing education, the Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing trained 2,384 students in the profession under eight Directresses of Nursing: Sarah G. Whitney (1896-1898); Mary Alexander Samuel (1898-1910); Isabel Douglas Richmond (1910-1930); A. Isabelle Byrne (1930-1946); Evelyn O. Fraser (1946-1954); Adelma Moot (1954-1955); Helen Parker (1955-1956); Eileen O. Scott (1956-1974).

Sources:

  • The Roosevelt Hospital 1871-1957. [New York]: The Hospital, 1957. 
  • Roosevelt Hospital Nursing:  a History. [New York]: The Alumnae Association of the Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing, 1897-1974, undated.
  • Roosevelt Hospital Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes, 1950s-1970s.

Scope and Content

The materials of the Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing Records Collection are arranged into five series:

  • Series I: Administrative Records, 1863-1973 (Box 1)
  • Series II: Student-related Records, 1937-1972 (Box 1-6)
  • Series III: Alumnae-related Records, 1897-1999 (Box 7-12)
  •   a: Alumnae Association Records, 1897-1999
  •   b: Alumnae Personal Papers, 1898-1971
  • Series IV: Photographs, 1897-1974 (Box 13-17)
  • Series V: Artifacts, circa 1906-2013 (Box 7, 18)

The documents comprising the Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing Records Collection reflect the school’s inception, growth, and affairs for much of its 78 year existence (1896-1974). The collection is particularly rich in photographs, which include directors and other principals of the school as well as graduating classes.

The Alumnae Association Bulletin, subsequently the Roosevelt Review, remains a primary and exceptionally rich source of information, not only for the school’s affairs, but also for much of Roosevelt Hospital’s history and activities during that period.

Series I: Administrative Records (1863-1973; Box 1) include: school catalogs; student guidebooks; a superintendent’s report on the school; and reports. Photographs of the school’s directors have been placed in the Mount Sinai Archives Photograph Collection. Of note is a 1910 illuminated monograph, a testimonial to Mary A. Samuel, the second director of nursing, 1898-1910, who was influential in setting the course of the school. 

Series II: The Student-related Records (1937-1972; Box 1-6) include: Capped, a bi-yearly student publication with whimsical notes and reports; an example of course work produced in an occupational therapy class; several speeches on special occasions; the student guidebook; and yearbooks, which were published under multiple titles, but most frequently as “Ich Dien.” Related to this series are photographs of the graduating classes and two scrapbooks of photographs depicting student life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that can be found in Series IV: Photographs.

Series III: Alumnae-related Records (1897-1999; Box 7-12), made up of two subseries, the Alumnae Association Records (1897-199) and Alumnae Personal Papers (1898-1971). Significant items include: paperwork on the incorporation and dissolution of the Alumnae Association, a handwritten version of the words and music of the song Alma Mater; alumnae lists and graduate directories, and histories of the school. The Alumnae Personal Papers subseries comprises material from four women and include 1898 and 1932 graduation certificates, nursing registration licenses, various other diplomas, some correspondence, and artifacts (see Series V: Artifacts).

Of note is a near-complete set of the Alumnae Association’s publication, The Roosevelt Review. Included in the issues are items related to, or in some way affecting, the School: details of academic programs; commencement addresses; medical staff papers and addresses; news and notes on alumnae; Alumnae Association annual reports; and nursing, medical, administrative, and Board appointments. Reviewed together, they describe much of the School’s history and also provide substantial insight into Roosevelt Hospital’s own development.

This publication began May 1930 as The Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association Bulletin. It was renamed The Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association Quarterly, December 1930 and then The Quarterly Review, December 1931. Finally, in June 1932, its name was changed to The Roosevelt Review. The Archives holds all issues from v.1, number 1, May 1930 through Fall 1978 with the exception of 1963, for which year there are no issues. In the last several years of publication, The Review was issued irregularly and with irregular or no volume / issue numbers.

Series IV: Photographs (1897-1974; Box 13-17) contains candid images of the nurses at work, several portraits of alumnae, and Alumnae Association events, activities such as the swim team and glee clubs, and images of the students’ uniforms. Of significance is the almost complete run of class portraits from 1897 to 1974. Images from 1897 through 1968 are 11x14 format size with a few also reproduced in 8x10 format (from the 1940s and 1950s), with the years 1969-1974 only in 8x10 format.

The above mentioned scrapbooks depicting student life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are also of interest. The product of student nurse Evelyn Howard (class of 1908), they capture images of the grounds, buildings, wards, hospital staff, other students at work and play. Also included in one scrapbook is her admissions correspondence, receipts for uniforms, School rules pamphlets, and other related documents, including the announcement of Mary A. Samuel’s resignation with photos and clippings about her, particularly a letter from the Alumnae Association mentioning her death. Several pages are also devoted to photographs of Miss Howard’s friend and fellow classmate, Nancy Gage, who went on to work at the Yale-in-China Training School for Nurses, in Changsha, China. The creator of the second scrapbook is unclear; it is smaller and contains similar pictures of the Hospital buildings, grounds, and personnel, so it is likely, but not surely, Evelyn Howard’s. This book is fitted into a bag made from the light blue with white stripped material of the student nurses’ uniforms; the other scrapbook in covered with the same. They both are fragile and access to them may be restricted due to their condition.

Note that group portraits of the nurses of the Base Hospital 15 (WWI) and the 9th Evacuation Unit (WWII) are found in the Roosevelt Hospital collection photographs and several nursing school directors’ portraits are found in the Mount Sinai Archives Photographs.

Series V: Artifacts (circa 1906-2013; Box 7 and 18) includes items that were donated by alumnae as well as pieces from Roosevelt Hospital. See the container list for details on the items.

Conditions Governing Access

The Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing Records Collection is processed and open to researchers. The two photo scrapbooks of student life are very fragile and may be restricted by the archivist on a case by case basis. At any point in time, artifacts may be on display at Mount Sinai West (formerly Roosevelt Hospital), and therefore unavailable for close inspection by researchers for a time.

Subjects

  • Artifacts
  • Changsha (Hunan Sheng, China)
  • Gage, Nancy
  • Howard, Evelyn
  • Photographs
  • Roosevelt Hospital (New York, N.Y.)
  • Roosevelt Hospital (New York, N.Y.). School of Nursing.
  • Roosevelt Hospital (New York, N.Y.). School of Nursing. Alumnae Association
  • Roosevelt Hospital (New York, N.Y.). Training School for Nurses
  • Samuel, Mary Alexander
  • School Yearbooks
  • Schools, Nursing
  • Scrapbooks
  • Students, Nursing
  • The Roosevelt Review
  • Yale-in-China Association

Container List

Student transcripts from the Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing are not part of this collection and are not managed by the Aufses Archives. To request a transcript, please contact Latoya Selby of the Mount Sinai West Department of Nursing at latoya.selby@mountsinai.org.

Series I: Administrative Records

Box

Folder

Contents

1

1

By-Laws and Rules of the Roosevelt Hospital, including the Rules for the Training School for Nurses, Amended, May 1900

 

2

Historical Development of School and Hospital (RHSON), 1863-1968; undated

 

3

Nursing procedure reference manual, 1948 August

 

4

Recruitment catalogs, 1955-1973
 

5

Registration certificate, Roosevelt Hospital Training School for Nurses, issued by The University of the State of New York, 1905
  6 Report of the Superintendent, The Training School, 1897 January 1
  7 Rules for Head Nurses, Roosevelt Hospital Training School for Nurses, 1903
  8 Samuel, Mary Alexander, Director, RHSON; Includes articles and an illuminated monograph, 1905-1945
  9

Training Schools for Nurses by James R. Lathrop, Superintendent of Roosevelt Hospital. Metropolitan Magazine. Vol. IX, No. 5, May, 1899, pp. 536-541.

  10 Vignettes from Fifty Years of Service by Evelyn G. Fraser, 1960

Series II: Student-Related Records

Box

Folder

Contents

1

11

Capped, a bi-yearly student publication, 1942 December; 1942 Graduation Issue

 

12

Capped, a bi-yearly student publication, 1943 (2 copies) 

 

13

Capped, a bi-yearly student publication, 1943 Winter; 1944 Spring/Graduation Issue

 

14

‘Occupational therapy for affiliate nurses,’ coursework example, undated (donated by Violet Ross, class of 1943)
 

15

Speeches on special occasions, 1942-1947 
 

16

Student guidebook, 1958-1960
2   Yearbooks, 1937; 1948; 1950; 1953; 1954; 1955; 1958
3   Yearbooks, 1959; 1960; 1961; 1962; 1963
4   Yearbooks, 1964; 1965; 1967
5   Yearbooks, 1968; 1969; 1971; 1972
6   Yearbook (duplicate copies), 1937; 1962; 1963; 1967 

Series III: Alumnae-Related Records

Box

Folder

Contents

 

 

a. Alumnae Association Records

7

1

Anniversary dinner program, 1971, June 26; includes attendees, program, and menu

 

2

Alumnae Association, RHSON – Dissolution, 1999

 

3

Alumnae Association, RHSON – Incorporation, 1933-1935
  4 Alumnae list in alphabetical order (incomplete), 1897-1974
  5 Directory of graduates, 1897-1967 (2 items, 2 copies each)
  6 Histories of RHSON, undated
  7 Musical Score to “Alma Mater” **
  8 Reunion program, Alumnae Association meeting, 1974 May 3
8  

The Roosevelt Review (set 1), 1930-1959

9   The Roosevelt Review (set 1), 1960-1978
10   The Roosevelt Review (set 2), 1930-1959 
11   The Roosevelt Review (set 2), 1960-1978 
12   The Roosevelt Review (set 3, unbound, incomplete)
     
    b. Alumnae Personal Papers
7 9 Barker, Mary Cordes, Certificate, Completion of Studies; notes, 1898; 1958 **
  10

McTernan, Kathryn Magee, 1948
Certificate of study, Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing, 1948 April
Diploma, Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing, 1948 September
License to practice as a registered professional nurse, 1948 October
Yearbook - Ich Dien (class of 1948) (see Yearbooks, box 2)
Class of 1948 photograph (see Series IV: Photographs, Class photos, 8x10)

  11

Quimette, Agnes Elizabeth, 1931-1935; 1970-1971
Certificate, Completion of Studies, RHSON, 1932
Certificate, Completion of Studies, Sloane Hospital for Women, 1931
Certification, Registered Nurse: 1933; 1933-34; 1934-35; 1935-36 (4 items)
Membership card, American Nurses’ Association, 1935
Correspondence related to the illness and death of Agnes E. Quimette

  12 Rober, Vie, newsletter, 1970 December

Series IV: Photographs

Box

Folder

Contents

13

1

Alumnae miscellany, circa 1897-1922; undated
Includes portraits of: Burgess, Elizabeth (class of 1904); Gage, Nina (class of 1908);Oldham, Sara A. (class of 1922; Roosevelt Review reprint); Sheppard, Helen (class of 1907; 2 photos); Thompson, Anna L. (class of 1897)

 

2

Alumnae Association Events, undated **

 

3

Class photos (8x10 or smaller), 1897; 1947; 1949; 1953; 1958; 1969-1974

 

4

Directors, RHSON, undated **
 

5

Extra-curricular activities, 1930s, undated
  6 Publicity candids, circa 1950s
  7

Student uniforms, undated: includes image of probationary uniform.

14  

Class photos (11x14) 1898-1919

15   Class photos (11x14) 1921-1949 (1920 and 1932 are missing)
16  

Class photos (11x14) 1950-1974 (1970 is missing)

17   Scrapbooks (2): circa late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Informal photographs of nursing students, nurses, and hospital staff in and around the hospital.

Series V: Artifacts

Box

Folder

Contents

7

13

Nurses Trusted to Care. National Nurses Week, May 6-12, 2011 (celebratory booklet produced by the Archives, St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospitals)

 

14

Class of 1953 Reunion book, April 13, 2013 (2 copies); Class of 1963 Reunion book, April 26-28, 2013 (celebratory books produced by the Archives, St. Luke’s/Roosevelt Hospitals)

18

 

Artifacts:

  • Plate, backed with RHSON uniform material, with school seal in center; includes a display holder
  • The yearbook seal (brass embossing plate), undated
  • A hand-stitched graduate’s cap, circa 1915
  • Panama Canal service medal (brass) belonging to Isabelle Freeland, class of 1899, for service rendered 1906-1908
  • Roosevelt Hospital School of Nursing doll in student dress uniform, circa 1940s, belonging to Kathryn Magee McTernan, class of 1948, donated by her family
  • Service pin, Nurse, American Red Cross, undated
  • British flag pin cushion (needlepoint/satin) made by Mary A. Samuel, 1940, and given to a School of Nursing alumna, Christmas 1944
  • School of Nursing paperweights (4) commemorating the school, undated
  • Graduate Pin, gift of Gloria J. Neary, Class of 1948

** = an item in this folder is oversize and has been placed in the RHSON folder in the SLR Oversize box 1; a partial photocopy of the item has been left in original folder.

Processed By:

Nancy Panella, Ph.D., November, 2014
Revised, Michala Biondi, February, 2017