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Nursing collections at the Medical Center Archives

By on June 25, 2014 - 10:27am

Medical Center Archives Nursing Collections

The photo to the left, "P-05073", shows a nursing student receiving clinical training from a nurse at New York Hospital (now NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital) in 1967. Nurses have always been an integral part of medical care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital from its inception in the late 1700s and the nursing collections held at the Medical Center Archives document nursing history at the Hospital, at Cornell University, and in the United States.

In 1799, Dr. Valentine Seaman founded a course of training for nurses that continued until his death in 1817. In 1877, shortly after New York Hospital moved to its second location on West 15th Street in Manhattan, New York Hospital Training School for Nurses was established. When it joined New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in 1932, its name was changed to New York Hospital School of Nursing. The school became Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing, a unit of Cornell University, in 1942. Many of the nursing school graduates quickly became national leaders in the field of nursing. Special mention should be made of the following: Lillian D. Wald, founder of the Visiting Nurse Service; Irene Sutliffe, who played the leading role in making New York Hospital School of Nursing a major force in American nursing; Clara Weeks, who wrote the first textbook by an American nurse; Annie W. Goodrich, who was the first dean of the Army School of Nursing and of Yale University School of Nursing; and Julia C. Stimson, chief nurse of the Red Cross Nursing Service in France during World War I and Director of the Nursing Service of the American Expeditionary Force. Julia Stimson was also part of a family with deep ties to both the Hospital and Cornell University. She was was the niece of Lewis Atterbury Stimson, one of the founders of the Cornell University Medical College (established in 1898) and Attending Surgeon at New York Hospital and its emergency branch, the House of Relief, from 1888 to 1909.

Unfortunately, the Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing was forced to close in 1979 due to a withdrawal of New York State funding and inadequate financial support.

Our nursing collections include administrative records of Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing and it's antecedent institution the New York Hospital School of Nursing, dating from 1923-1970, student records and yearbooks, dating from 1878-1979, and the personal papers of nurses such as Julia C. Stimson (1881-1948, Irene H. Sutliffe (1850-1936), Lydia E. Anderson (1863-1939), Marie Troupe  (1903-1985), Doris R. Schwartz (1932-1988), and Marion Stanley Doane (1881-1958), among others. Our Photograph Collection is another rich source of material documenting the history of nursing.

For information about these collections, questions about any of the other archival collections at the Medical Center Archives, or to set up an appointment for research, please email us at email-archives@med.cornell.edu or phone us at 212.746.6072. We look forward to assisting you in your research.

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Headshot of Nicole Milano

Nicole Milano
Head, Medical Center Archives
(212) 746-6072
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Elizabeth Shepard

Elizabeth Shepard
Associate Archivist
(212) 746-6072
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The archives are open for onsite research by appointment only.

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Medical Center Archives
1300 York Avenue
PO Box #34
New York, NY 10065
(212) 746-6072