Records of the Church Home and Hospital School for Nurses in the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Collection Overview

Repository:Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Title:Records of the Church Home and Hospital School for Nurses
Creator:Church Home and Hospital (Baltimore, Md.). School of Nursing

Administrative/Biographical History:

The Church Home and Infirmary was formed in 1857 in a merger between the Church Home Society and St. Andrew's Infirmary with the support of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. It was founded as a joint hospital ministering to the poor and a home for elderly women. The Infirmary took over the building at Broadway and Fairmount Avenue which had housed the Washington Medical College. Soon, the cross donated from the parish of Old St. Paul's was added to the gilded dome, which became a landmark and symbolic "ensign on the hill" in the Baltimore skyline. Initially, the nursing staff was made largely of volunteers who lived in the Home and cared for patients. Over time, an order of Deaconesses and the Sisters of the Good Shepherd established charge of patient care. In 1859, an endowment fund originated to ensure the institution's longevity. Before the appointments of full-time medical staff, many local doctors and surgeons offered their skills pro bono. Church Home and Infirmary's first resident physician, Dr. W.C. Worthington, was appointed in 1873. Dr. Frank D. Gavin succeeded him in 1876. Under Dr. Gavin's leadership, Church Home and Hospital gradually grew to include surgical facilities with guest physicians, and eventually he initiated a training school for nurses in 1894.

By the 1890's, the Church Home and Infirmary's growth necessitated the both the hiring of trained nurses to help care for patients and the development of a training program for student nurses. In 1894, under resident physician Dr. Frank Gavin's direction, the Infirmary began training its own nurses, and the Church Home and Infirmary School for Nurses was founded. Its first superintendent was Harriet M. Sudler, followed by Mrs. Lucas. In its first four years, three diplomas were awarded to Minnie Keller, Mae McComas, and Ada Sears. In 1904, the Maryland Board of Nursing Examiners was created by new state legislation. Soon thereafter, the school began its association with the Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses. As affiliate students, students at Church Home were able to take classes in psychiatry and pediatrics. In 1912, Jane Evans Nash began her forty-year tenure as hospital superintendent. Along with the director of nursing education, 1912 Church Home alumna Margaret Elliott, she reformed and modernized nursing education in the school. She began the practice of subject examinations for student nurses. A three-month probationary period was established. For much of its history, students at Church Home did not pay any tuition; all uniforms, books, and board were provided by the Hospital. At the end of three years of training, students were awarded a diploma. Eventually, the increasing number of students necessitated a return of tuition fees, but they remained relatively nominal. In 1950 Margaret Elliott succeed Jane Nash as Director of Nursing. She was in turn succeeded by Nash's assistant Freda Creutzburg. In 1959, the school became accredited by the National League for Nursing. By 1967 the School accepted applications from any student regardless of gender, marital status or race. Its first male nurse graduated in 1968. The Hospital Board of Trustees voted to close the School of Nursing in 1976.

Scope and Content:
The records of the Church Home and Hospital School of Nursing include a series of annual reports and board minutes, programs, promotional publications and yearbooks.
The records also contain publications from the Hospital itself. Jane Nash's reports and the published annual reports of the Hospital offer a complete financial history of the three parts of the organization, the Hospital, Home and the School from the years 1920 to 1969. A complete run of graduation programs document the school's graduates from 1924-1976, as well the recipients of various scholarships and awards. Several internal publications as well as the School's yearbooks and a daybook give a record of student life and hospital workings. Student records give academic and personal profiles of Church Home students through the years.