In the morning, we looked over two books donated by Vera Papenfuse Walter: Alice L. Price's The art, science and spirit of nursing (1954) and the fourth edition of Jamieson and Sewall's Trends in nursing history (also 1954). For those not familiar with the former, the preface notes that:
'The Art, Science and Spirit of Nursing,' the newest textbook in the field of nursing arts, has been written to help familiarize beginning students of nursing with responsibilities which were unknown to the nurses of previous generations. It is based on results of a study made in 1951, while the author was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. Approximately 650 nursing arts instructors throughout the United States and 200 students of nursing were surveyed, to determine what factors they would choose for inclusion in a textbook of nursing arts."This, then, is a prime example of how textbooks codify the knowledge base of a given area, signaling the wide acceptance of the data, techniques, or theories in the field. Another reminder, should we need one, of why textbooks are so crucial to the study of the development of any field.
In the afternoon, we received another nursing book, this one a classic identifiable even by nursing history novices: Barbara Gaines brought us an 1861 edition of Notes on nursing, Florence Nightingale's magisterial opus on the nursing curriculum. As if this were not enough, she also delivered two cartons of materials pertaining to the history of the OHSU School of Nursing--and by "history," we can take it that she means anything noteworthy in the development of the school.
Included in the boxes are photographs, correspondence, reports, theses, manuscripts, publications, news clippings--even transcripts of oral histories with members of the SON community. From legislative activities to school expansion to curricula to salaries to research symposia to the annual "crutch hunt" which required the establishment of a Crutch Committee--if it's interesting, it's in the box. The materials date from the period 1920s-1987, and so cover almost all of the school's one-hundred-year history. How timely, given the run-up to centennial events! Stay tuned to see at least some of this material on display in the fall, when we plan to mount an exhibition on the history of the school.