University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

New Changing Exhibits: World War I Nursing; AIDS35

Newly installed in the Widmer Wing atrium in time for the start of the new academic year are exhibits in two vitrines used as spaces for changing exhibits.

World War I Nursing Exhibit

World War I Nursing Exhibit

Facing the front of the atrium is an exhibit devoted to the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I (in 1917) and nurses’ service in that war. Included are books from the Dolan Collection, a period photo album of nurses and their patients, an English nurse’s autograph album signed by her French patients, and a three-page interview with American nurse Pauline McVey (the sister of the maternal grandfather of Dr. Thomas Lawrence Long, curator).

Facing the rear of the atrium is an exhibit honoring nurses’ involvement in the AIDS epidemic. AIDS35 marks the 35th anniversary of the first published reports of the syndrome, marked by exhibits in UConn’s Archives and Special Collections and the Benton Museum, as well as the School of Nursing. Items in this display come from the Dolan Collection, supplemented by items on loan from doctoral student Seja Jackson, MS, RN, who has been involved in AIDS care for 30 years.

AIDS35 Exhibit

AIDS35 Exhibit

August 12, Anglican Feast Day of Florence Nightingale

The worldwide Anglican communion marks August 12 as the annual feast in honor of the life and work of Florence Nightingale, who died on August 13, 1910.

From the Anglican Book of Common Prayer:

Life-giving God, you alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the lead of Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Details here:

Update: Dolan Collection Books, Herrmann Reading Room

The work of many hands this summer has involved making more accessible the Josephine A. Dolan Collection’s books and other published items housed in the Eleanor Krohn Herrmann Reading Room (in the Widmer Wing of Storrs Hall on the UConn Storrs campus).

School of Nursing staff member Lisa Soder and one of her student workers sorted the collection (into three groups, items published before 1900, items published between 1900 and 1940, and items published after 1940 [i.e., during the history of the School]).

Nursing History Collections Archivist Betsy Pittman

Nursing History Collections Archivist Betsy Pittman

University Archivist Betsy Pittman and School of Nursing Librarian Val Banfi then culled the collection in order to determine historical value, relevance, and focus. Many books have been deaccessioned, some sent to UConn’s Archives and Special Collections, others to Babbidge Library.

Nursing Research Librarian Val Banfi

Nursing Research Librarian Val Banfi

The remaining books have been returned to the Herrmann Reading Room’s lower cabinets (along three walls of the room) and organized thematically.

Starting to your left as you enter the room:

Cabinets 1, 2, and 3: Aesthetic Ways of Knowing (art, literature, popular culture, including a complete set of the Cherry Ames novels donated by alumni)

Cabinets 3, 4, 5, and 6: Personal Ways of Knowing (biography, memoir, essays, personal writing, including books by and about Florence Nightingale and Virginia Henderson)

Cabinets 7 and 8: Early Popular Health and Narratives (18th, 19th, and early 20th century)

Cabinets 8 and 9: Nursing Fundamentals

Cabinet 9: Nursing Essentials; Anatomy and Physiology; Medical/Surgical Nursing; Home Care; ENT Care

Cabinet 10: Mental Health Nursing; Public Health Nursing; Professional Issues; Nursing Education

Cabinet 11: History of Medicine (professional, diseases, wellness)

Cabinet 12: Reference Works (handbooks, dictionaries, materia medica guides)

Cabinet 13: Red Cross (history, first-aid, and home care); Wartime Nursing

Cabinet 14: Institutional Histories (e.g., hospitals); Scholarly Books

Cabinet 15: Institutional Histories (e.g., schools of nursing, nursing professional organizations and honor societies)

Cabinet 16: Historiographical References; Surveys of Nursing History

Cabinet 17: Surveys of Nursing History (textbooks)

Cabinet 18: Back Issues of Nursing History Review (published by the American Association for the History of Nursing); Surveys of Nursing History (Goodnow’s and Dolan’s)

The Herrmann Reading Room is secured but faculty can access it using their ID cards. Items in the collection do not circulate and should not be removed from the reading room, which is equipped with a spacious glass-topped table and Connecticut Hitchcock chairs donated by alumni.

The Clinic Shoe for Young Women in White

A Unique Collection of the Connecticut School of Nursing Pins

UConn History Doctoral Student Consults Dolan Collection

Recently a UConn doctoral student in history, Mike Limberg, reached out to the Dolan Collection for archival materials related to his dissertation. He is working on a section of his dissertation that focuses on the evolution of American medical education at the American University of Beirut during the 1920s and 1930s. His major advisor is Frank Costigliola, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, whose expertise is in twentieth-century U.S. foreign relations.

Limberg’s dissertation focuses on the efforts of a network of U.S. missionaries, philanthropists, and diplomats to encourage economic and social development in Turkey, Lebanon, and Palestine during the 1920s and 1930s. Americans working on these projects both cooperated and fought with nationalist politicians, religious reformers, and colonial officials, and these interactions reshaped their ideas oMike_Limbergf what modernity or progress could be.

In the course of his archival research Limberg stumbled across the connection between Carolyn Ladd Widmer and the American University of Beirut, which prompted him to seek out the Dolan Collection. Prior to inaugurating the UConn School of Nursing, Widmer had directed the School of Nursing at the American University of Beirut, introducing a five-year baccalaureate program there in 1936.

Limberg has found references to Widmer in materials from the Rockefeller Foundation. Some of those references came from Mary Beard’s diaries when she was an officer in the International Health Division and connected to many public health nursing programs in the United States.

Others were in the Rockefeller Foundation’s general records in its country files for Lebanon, RG 1.1, Series 833.

Mike Limberg has consulted with Dolan Collection Curator Dr. Thomas Lawrence Long, who has also sought out Dean Widmer’s two sons, Mike and Eric, for background information. Although UConn’s Archives and Special Collections have little documentary material from Dean Widmer’s career prior to arriving in Connecticut, Dr. Long hopes to identify some sources in the Josephine Dolan papers.


Harrison Fisher’s Depiction of the Beauty of Nursing

A Photograph of Miss Barbara Duffy

Introducing Undergrads to Nursing History

One of the advantages to the UConn School of Nursing of having the Josephine A. Dolan Collection of Nursing History is its ready availability for faculty and students on campus.


Jo Dolan’s and founding dean Carolyn Ladd Widmer’s long-standing commitment to grounding students’ clinical expertise in the knowledge of nursing’s history has been embedded in the curriculum from its inception, with a survey of nursing history.  Once taught as a first-year nursing history and theory course, today it is placed as one of the capstone courses in seniors’ final semester.


But how to make the Dolan Collection accessible in a guided, directed way, especially to undergraduates?


Associate Professor in Residence Thomas Lawrence Long, curator of the Dolan Collection and instructor of the nursing history course (Nursing’s Past as Prologue) met that challenge during the spring 2016 term by assigning each student an artifact, document, photograph or other ephemera from the collection, both items stored in Storrs Hall and those in the University’s Archives and Special Collections.


Early in the semester, students spent one class session examining the object assigned to them using a rubric developed by the American Studies Association Material Culture Caucus, Twenty Questions to Ask an Object.


In addition to seeking answers to questions about nursing’s material culture, students were also prepared to search relevant published literature related to those objects, conducted by Valori Banfi, nursing librarian.


All of this data collection was preliminary to each student writing a blog post on the object assigned to them, which they submitted for a grade.


In the months to come, you will be able to read the product of their work, with two blog posts per week published here.


School’s Out for Summer, But Dolan Collection Work Continues

During the summer Dolan Collection Curator Thomas Lawrence Long, associate professor in residence in the UConn School of Nursing, has lined up nearly a dozen projects to sustain the collection and to make it more accessible.

First up: Sorting, culling, organizing, and cataloging the book collection in the Eleanor Krohn Herrmann Reading Room in the Widmer Wing of Storrs Hall.

Shown here are Lisa Soder, administrative services assistant who supervises student workers, and her student worker Karen Vazquez.

Book review 2

Karen efficiently sorted the hundreds of books into three groups: those published before 1900; those published between 1900 and 1940; and those published after 1940 until the present.

Betsy Pittman, university archivist and the archivist for UConn’s nursing history collections in the Dodd Center, will review the collection to determine which would usefully be acquisitioned by Archives and Special Collections where they would be cataloged, housed, and made available to researchers more readily.

Those that remain in the Herrmann Reading Room will be cataloged later this summer using free online databases provided by LibraryThing and LibraryCat.