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St. Elizabeth's Hospital School of Nursing collection

Collection MS-2000-018B: St. Elizabeth's Hospital School of Nursing collection


  • Creation: 1898 - 2023
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980 - 2000

Scope and Contents

The St. Elizabeth’s Hospital School of Nursing collection documents the student life, academic structure, and major administrative initiatives of the school across its history, with a particular focus on the years between 1980-2000. It comprises institutional and alumni association records, artifacts, ephemera, photographs and videos, printed materials, student records, and textiles.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research except student clinical placement ledgers and one folder of financial records relating to the John T. Spinelli Family Charitable Trust that are closed.

Audio and video recordings have been digitally copied; all original media was retained, but may not be played due to format. Digital use copies can only be accessed in the Burns Library Reading Room. Film has not been reformatted and is not available for playback due to format impermanence. Please let Reading Room staff know of your specific interest, and if possible reformatting will be scheduled.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Historical note

St. Elizabeth's Hospital School of Nursing was established in 1895, at the request of the hospital physicians for an onsite training school. The hospital and school were originally located in Blackstone Square in Boston’s South End neighborhood. In 1912 St. Elizabeth’s outgrew its space and moved to Brighton, where it continued to expand with several substantial new additions to the campus between 1925 and 1986. The School of Nursing was accredited by the Massachusetts State Board of Registration in Nursing in 1910. The school offered a three-year diploma program that focused on home, hospital, and community health options to provide complete care "physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually." It also created relationships with local educational and health institutions. Clinical residency was offered in St. Elizabeth's Hospital, but by 1985 also at Bournewood Hospital, Franciscan Children's Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, St. John of God Hospital, and through collaboration with Boston-area community healthcare providers. St. Elizabeth's began to host Boston College graduate nursing students completing their clinical practice in 1960. In 1977 the School of Nursing established a partnership with Regis College that allowed St. Elizabeth's nursing students to simultaneously earn credits towards a bachelor’s degree. The School of Nursing curriculum shifted in 1994 from its original three-year model to a two-year program. The school graduated its last class in May of 2000.


St. Elizabeth’s Hospital School of Nursing ninetieth anniversary program, 1986 April 16, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital School of Nursing collection, MS.2000.018B, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Biographical note

Elizabeth Cecilia Fagan, commonly known as Helen, was born on Christmas Day in 1929. After growing up in Newton, Massachusetts, she attended St. Elizabeth’s Hospital School of Nursing, where she received her RN in 1950. She later attended Boston College’s School of Nursing, where she received her BS in Nursing as a part of the class of 1958. She was director of the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital School of Nursing from 1977 until 2000. When the school closed she served as president of the school’s alumni association. She died on August 30, 2011, at 81 years of age.


45.75 Linear Feet (42 containers)

166.5 Gigabytes (5 files with approximately 3 hours of audiovisual recordings)

Language of Materials



The collection has been arranged into eight series: I. Alumni Association records; II. Ephemera and memorabilia; III. Photographs and videos; IV. Printed materials; V. Records; VI. Scrapbooks; VII. Student ledgers; and VIII. Uniforms.

Note that Series III includes organizational photographs (items collected and created by SON librarian Rob Loud, albums created by SON administration and the Alumni Association, and photographs from the Hospital public relations department), while personal snapshots from alumni are included in Series II.

Custodial History

Rob Loud, St. Elizabeth's Hospital School of Nursing (SON) librarian from 1980-2000, began an archival collection for St. Elizabeth's Hospital in 1982 based on a suggestion from hospital director William Skerry. In addition to keeping the SON records, Loud created comprehensive chronological photographic files documenting student life and school events during his tenure. The SON portion of the St. Elizabeth's Hospital archives and Loud's photographic files were donated to Boston College at the time of the school's closing. (These materials are series III, IV, and V.)

After the closure of the school, the Alumni Association solicited donations of personal ephemera and photographs from its membership (series II) and contributed some of its own records as well (series I, plus contributions to series IV).


Donated by St. Elizabeth's Hospital School of Nursing, School of Nursing Alumni Association, and individual alumnus.

Related Materials

Nurses and nursing:

Josephine A. Dolan collection of nursing history, MS.1988.004, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Madeleine Clémence Vaillot papers, MS.1989.011, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Margaret A. Colliton papers, MS.1990.010, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Cynthia E. Northrop papers, MS.1998.002, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Nursing associations:

Visiting Nurse Association of Boston records, MS.1989.006, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

The American Association of Nurse Attorneys records, MS.1997.018, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Nursing schools:

New England Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing records, MS.1989.008, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital School of Nursing collection, MS.2000.018B, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

St. Elizabeth's Hospital School of Nursing Collection
1898-2023 (bulk 1980-2000)
Lynn Moulton
2016 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2024 March: Added accruals to Series II: Ephemera and memorabilia from the Class of 1958 and the Class of 1968.

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States