Thursday, July 09, 2015

Fall exhibit preview: snapshots of School of Nursing student life, 1930s-1960s

My preparations for our Fall 2015 exhibit on the School of Nursing are in full swing! As a result, I recently scanned a number of photographs from the SON Archives Collection to use in both the display cases and in publicity materials. While we have many images from the school in our Historical Images Collection, one wonderful aspect of the photographs in the SON Archives Collection is the abundance of images that depict nursing students' experiences on campus, especially during the postwar/Cold War era. I just had to share some of my favorites with you! 

A strong theme of camaraderie and friendship runs throughout the collection's images. Looking at the pictures, it struck me that the similarity of their student experiences would naturally encourage this: For much of the school's history, student nurses lived on campus - in fact, until 1926 when the first nurses' residence was built, student nurses lived on the third floor of the hospital itself! Through the 1960s, students could only opt to move out of the residence halls if they were 21, married, or make a case for cheaper living arrangements elsewhere (such as with family). As a result, student nurses lived, studied and worked alongside one another, which is naturally conducive to forming tight bonds with classmates. 

There are charming photos of student nurses in day clothes, enjoying some well-deserved time off...

Student nurses Shirly Stark, Betty Ward, & June Anklin, 1948

As well as enjoying the more brief respite of lunch in the Multnomah County Hospital cafeteria:

Lunch in the MCH cafeteria, 1958

Some of my favorite images depict parties and recreational activities, such as carnivals, formals, and the annual School of Nursing Wassail - a tradition that continues to this day!

Skits and performances abounded at the 1946 winter carnival!

Chatting up some handsome (let's be honest, we all have eyes!) docs from SOM at the 1960 Wassail
In addition, there are some great snapshots of familiar traditions such as "Senior Skip Day," during which the entire class would go on an outing. The Class of 1965 opted for a day at the beach in Lincoln City!
Senior Skip Day, 1965
Poring over these many delightful photographs, it is actually hard to narrow down a selection to display in the exhibit! But to the excellent organization of the School of Nursing Archives committee, part of the School of Nursing Alumni Association, finding and identifying these photos has been such a smooth and fun process. Stay tuned for more tidbits from our upcoming exhibit!

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