Finding Aid for the Collection of items pertaining to the Training Camp for Nurses at Vassar College, 1918 1918-1921

Processed by Pat L. Walter.
Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
History and Special Collections Division
UCLA
12-077 Center for Health Sciences
Box 951798
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1798
Phone: 310/825-6940
Fax: 310/825-0465
Email: biomed-ref@library.ucla.edu
URL: http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/biomed/his/hisdiv.htm
©2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Descriptive Summary

Title: Collection of items pertaining to the Training Camp for Nurses at Vassar College, 1918,
Date (inclusive): 1918-1921
Collection number: **AC 8 V3 A191m Rare
Creator: Adair, Birdie May
Extent: 1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: Miss Birdie May Adair graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1913 and attended the Training Camp for Nurses at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., during the summer (July 24 to September 13) of 1918. The training camp was organized under the auspices of the National Council of Defense with funding from the American Red Cross. The camp's intent was to draw female college graduates into the critically understaffed ranks of wartime nurses, and it included 430 young women from 117 different colleges. After the summer, trainees went on to regular hospital training programs throughout the country. The collection consists of: Miss Adair's certificate of completion of the training course; announcement booklet outlining camp guidelines; several contemporary photographs; and a nearly complete run (one issue lacking) of the camp newspaper, "The Thermometer", published weekly during the camp's duration and occasionally thereafter for 6 more issues.
Physical location: History and Special Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
Language of Material: Collection materials in English

Access

The collection is open for research. Contact the History and Special Collections Division, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library, UCLA, for information.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Collection of items pertaining to the Training Camp for Nurses at Vassar College, 1918, **AC 8 V3 A191m Rare, Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division, University of California, Los Angeles.

Acquisition Information

Miss Adair kept these materials from her Vassar camp days & presented them to the UCLA Biomedical Library in 1967. Her letter of transmittal is included in Folder 1.

Biography

The Vassar Training Camp was organized under the auspices of the National Council of Defense, with funding from the American Red Cross "to establish and maintain a school of science applied to nursing at Vassar College during the summer of 1918." The intent was to draw female college graduates into the critically undermanned ranks of wartime nurses. Four hundred and thirty young women from 117 different colleges gathered for "a summer school for intensive theoretical training of hospital nurses..." A prestigious faculty recruited for the summer from major eastern universities gave instruction in anatomy, physiology, bacteriology, chemistry, dietetics & cookery, hygiene, practical nursing, history and social aspects of nursing, elementary materia medica, psychology, and oversaw physical training. The Camp ran from June 24 to September 13, 1918. The trainees then went on to regular hospital training programs around the country, where their time to graduation with a nursing diploma was reduced from the normal three to approximately two years.
Birdie May Adair was a member of this select group. In her May 14, 1967 letter to History & Special Collections librarian Martha T. Gnudi, Miss Adair said, "That Camp was probably the most interesting and worthwhile event of my whole life."
Miss Adair began her hospital nursing training at Boston City Hospital, but had to drop out with a bad case of diphtheria. In 1920 she began training at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and received her nursing diploma from that institution. After further study in public health nursing she became a "teaching nurse" in San Pedro High School from 1924 to 1930, and from there she moved to Franklin High School in Los Angeles. In subsequent years she taught in the Nursing Department of Los Angeles City College, and assisted at the Red Cross Teacher Training course at UCLA. She ostensibly retired from nursing in 1957, but continued in substitute teaching in nursing arts. (Some biographical information was drawn from "Vassar's Rainbow Division, 1918; the Training Camp for Nurses at Vassar College," by Gladys Bonner Clappison, 1964.

Scope and Content

The items include Miss Adair's certificate of completion of the course, an announcement for the course giving camp guidelines, some contemporary photographs and, most interestingly, an almost complete run (one issue lacking) of the camp newspaper, "The Thermometer", published weekly during the camp's run and occasionally thereafter for six more issues.
The collection is organized into four folders (5 linear inches) and is cataloged as: **AC 8 V3 A191m Rare.
The collection is organized into the following series:

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Vassar College.
    Adair, Birdie May, collector.
    Education, Nursing--history--United States.
    Military bases--New York--newspapers.
    Military Nursing--history--United States.
    World War, 1914-1918--Women--New York (State)--Poughkeepsie.


    Container List

    Box 1, Folder 1

    Provenance. 1967

    Scope and Content Note

    1) Miss Adair's letter of gift; 2) list of the six items received.
    Box 1, Folder 2

    Miscellaneous items. 1918

    Scope and Content Note

    1) certificate awarded on completion of Vassar Training Camp for Nurses, issued to Birdie May Adair, Sep. 13, 1918; 2) reprint of "Apprenticeship to Duty" by M. Adelaide Nutting, speaking to the students of the Vassar Training Camp for Nurses, Sep. 9, 1918; 3) announcement booklet: "The Training Camp for Nurses at Vassar College"; under the auspices of the National Council of Defense & the American Red Cross. 38 p.; 4) eleven snapshots and photographs of the Vassar nurses training camp, with identification written by Miss Adair on verso: Students Hall; faculty, first term; individual faculty members Winslow, Harmer, Folin, & Sabin; the Camp parade; our squad at the corner table in cooking, instructors in white
    Box 1, Folder 3

    "The Thermometer," v. 1, nos. 1-12. Poughkeepsie, N.Y. June 17- Sept. 12, 1918

    Scope and Content Note

    weekly newspaper published by the Farm Unit and the Nurses in Training at Vassar College
    Box 1, Folder 4

    The Thermometer, v. 2, nos. 1-4, 6. Jan., Aug., Nov. 1919 & Mar. 1921

    Scope and Content Note

    newspaper published occasionally by the Graduates of the First Vassar Training Camp for Nurses