The Nursing School of Wilmington

Historical Archives

The Nursing School of Wilmington Collection, 1930-84
at the Delaware Academy of Medicine



Overview of the Collection

Repository: Delaware Academy of Medicine John H. Ammon Medical Education Center, 4765 Ogletown Stanton Road, Suite L-10, Newark, DE, 19713
Creator: Nursing School of Wilmington
Title: The Nursing School of Wilmington Collection
Dates: 1930-84
Quantity: 2 cubic feet
Abstract: A collection of clippings, photos, notes, booklets and leaflets, and other records on the history of nursing in general, as well as some more specific records from the Nursing School of Wilmington. We do not maintain transcripts for the Nursing School of Wilmington.
Identification: US DeWAM NSW1
Language: The records are in English.

Institutional History Note

The Nursing School of Wilmington was chartered in 1962. Previously, each of Wilmington’s three hospitals had its own nursing school. However, in the late 1950s and early 1960s the three hospitals were making plans for the merger that produced the Wilmington Medical Center in 1965. It was agreed that continuing to operate three nursing schools would be redundant, and they were closed in favor of the newly chartered NSW. After some delays, Mary Healy was chosen as the school’s first director, and it took in its first class of students in 1965.

The Nursing School of Wilmington was the first school in the region to offer a two-year nursing diploma program rather than the then-standard three years. It also broke with tradition by accepting students of any age, and married students as well as unmarried. While this was considered controversial at first, the school quickly became popular, graduating two classes of about forty nurses a year. Most graduates went on to work at the Wilmington Medical Center.

However, in later years more and more nursing students chose to go to college for bachelor’s or associate degrees rather than take a nursing diploma, and enrollment at the school declined. In 1985, the Wilmington Medical Center decided to stop supporting the NSW financially, and it was forced to close.

Source: Cannon, Norman L. The History of a Hospital Merger: The Wilmington Medical Center 1965-1985(Wilmington, DE: HarpArt House, 1987).

Scope and Contents

These files were accumulated at the Nursing School of Wilmington library. They relate to the history of nurses and nursing and to nurse education, particularly in Delaware, and include photographs, correspondence, scrapbooks, schoolwork, clipping and vertical files, books, pamphlets, and press releases, among other types of records.

The bulk of the files focuses on the Nursing School of Wilmington, the Memorial Hospital Nursing School, and the Delaware Hospital School of Nursing. Material from these institutions includes yearbooks; class photos; newsletters; and programs and other records from class elections, graduation ceremonies, and proms.

Other files are more general in purpose, concerning themselves with the history of nursing, including photos and biographies of early nursing leaders.


Arranged by subject.


Restrictions on Access
This collection is open to the public.

Restrictions on Use
No publication or reproduction for anything other than personal use without the permission of the Delaware Academy of Medicine. Any use of these materials must be in accordance with the Delaware Academy of Medicine’s archival access policy.

Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Delaware Hospital School of Nursing
Memorial Hospital Nursing School (Wilmington, Del.)
Nursing School of Wilmington

Wilmington, Del.

Nursing — Delaware — history
Nursing — history


Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
These files were acquired for the Academy by the Academy’s library director, Gail P. Gill, in 1985, after the Nursing School of Wilmington closed its doors.

Processing Information
Processed by Christopher Shea, February 2006. Last update to the finding aid by Christopher Shea, April 2006. Dates given in the detailed description below are the dates of creation/publication, not of acquisition or accession, except where noted otherwise.

The writing of this finding aid was made possible in part by a Delaware Heritage Commission Challenge Grant.

Detailed Description of the Collection

NSW1. Nursing School of Wilmington collection, 1930-84

NSW1-1. Class photos, 1968-84, 2 folders
Group and individual photos of graduating classes for each year. Also includes some records from class-related school events (e.g. proms, elections, commencement).

NSW1-2. Pamphlets, 1968-84, 1 folder
Student bulletins, student handbook, and leaflets for prospective students published by the Nursing School of Wilmington.

NSW1-3. Student bulletins, 1964-84, 8 brochures
A set of brochures for prospective students at NSW, discussing requirements, fees, curricula, academic calendars, and faculty.

NSW1-4. Invitations to graduation ceremony, 1984, 1 folder
Invitations to 20th commencement exercises of NSW, 1984. Includes blank envelopes.

NSW1-5. Clippings on graduates and graduations 1966-84, 1 folder
Newspaper and magazine clippings on NSW’s graduation ceremonies and the careers of some graduates. Also includes a speech made at the 1967 graduation and a copy of the 1984 commencement program.

NSW1-6. Student photographs, 1966-83, 1 folder
Photos of NSW students in class, in the library, at work, and around campus. Also includes some newspaper and newsletter clippings that make use of these photos.

NSW1-7. Nursing school yearbooks, 1946-65, 5 books
A collection of yearbooks from nursing schools in the Wilmington area.

NSW1-8. Press releases on grants, 1968, 1 folder
A collection of press releases sent to local papers on grants won by the NSW, along with clippings of articles based on these releases.

NSW1-9. Clippings on school founding, 1965-79, 1 folder
Clippings, articles, and other material on the founding of NSW.

NSW1-10. Publications from other Delaware-area institutions, 1939-81, 1 folder
Pamphlets and booklets published by nursing schools and health institutions around Delaware, including Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing, Delaware State Hospital, Wilmington General Hospital School of Nursing, and others.

NSW1-11. Older nursing programs publications and clippings, 1953-61, 1 folder
Records of other nursing programs at hospitals in the Wilmington area, including Memorial Hospital, Wilmington General Hospital, and Delaware Hospital. Includes postcards, pamphlets, clippings, flyers, and articles.

NSW1-12. Clippings about nursing shortage, 1970, 1 folder
Series of articles, clipped from the Evening Journal, concerning a reported shortage of nurses.

NSW1-13. Nurses photo, undated
Black-and-white photo of a group of nurses, unidentified.

NSW1-14. Workbook and other material on history of nursing, undated, 1 folder
Bulk consists of school workbook on nursing history. Also includes leaflets, postcards, pamphlets, prints, and handwritten charts and tables.

NSW1-15. Exams on the history of nursing, 1936-51, 1 folder
Handwritten and typed essays, leaflets and booklets on the history of the Red Cross, a Florence Nightingale scrapbook, and other material on the history of nursing.

NSW1-16. History of Nursing Notebook, 1950, 1 folder
A copy of the History of Nursing Notebook, a looseleaf school workbook published by J. B. Lippincott, 1950.

NSW1-17. Clippings on history of nursing, 1941-45, 1 folder
Clippings from nursing and other medical magazines on the history of nursing.

NSW1-18. Clippings and other material on history of nursing, 1932-69, 1 folder
Clippings, pamphlets, promotional material, notes, and photographs on the history of nursing and medicine. Bulk is biographies of leading personalities in the history of nursing.

NSW1-19. Notes, articles, and other material on the history of nursing, 1948-72, 1 folder
Notes, reports, articles, and other material on the history of nursing and nursing education.

NSW1-20. Nursing schools and hospitals collection, 1940-49, 1 folder
Clippings, pamphlets, typed and/or mimeographed sheets discussing nursing history and nurse training programs at schools and hospitals around the country.

NSW1-21. Article on history of military nursing, 1947, 1 folder
Clippings of an article on the history of military nursing from the American Journal of Nursing.

NSW1-22. Prints and articles on nurses’ uniforms, 1932-60, 1 folder
Photographs, clippings, prints documenting the history and evolution of nurses’ uniforms.

NSW1-23. Collection on caps and pins, 1940-76, 1 folder
Articles, pamphlets, and photos on the significance and history of nurses’ caps and pins.

NSW1-24. Scrapbook of nursing leaders, undated, 1 folder
A scrapbook of people prominent in the nursing field, with photos and biographies.

NSW1-25. Clippings and leaflets about famous nurses, 1928-49, 2 folders
Biographical articles about prominent people in the history of nursing.

NSW1-26. Nursing biography collection, 1922-36, 1 folder
Biographies and photographs of significant personages in the history of nursing.

NSW1-27. Collection on Florence Nightingale, 1920-67, 1 folder
A collection of pamphlets, clippings, and other material on the life of Florence Nightingale.

NSW1-28. “Famous Firsts” clippings, undated, 1 folder
A collection of “Famous First” articles clipped from magazines, concerning early versions of various medical tools.

NSW1-29. History of medicine collection, 1964, 1 folder
Pictures, prints, and clippings on the history of medicine.