Finding Aid for the Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association Papers and Memorabilia, 1873-1997


Compiled byRachel Donaldson, ArchivistFebruary, 2005

VOLUME:9.8 cubic feet
ACQUISITION:The bulk of the items in this collection were donated to the Bellevue Alumnae Center for Nursing History, Foundation of the New York State Nurses Association by Gloria Prim, Treasurer of the Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association, in 1998. The Florence Nightingale letter in Box 1 was donated by Gloria Prim in 1997. Procedural manuals were donated by Gloria Prim in 1992. Series 2, the Edna Hunt Cross Papers, were donated by Joy Centofanti, granddaughter of Edna Hunt Cross, in 2002. Joy Centofanti donated additional materials for this collection in 2006. These items are noted by their accession number, A2006-06, in the finding aid.
ACCESS:This collection is open to the public by appointment.
COPYRIGHT:Please consult the repository for information about duplication or publishing of any materials from this collection.
Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association Papers and Memorabilia(MC36), Bellevue Alumnae Center for Nursing History, Foundation of New York State Nurses, Guilderland, NY

Administrative History

In 1875, a Homeopathic Hospital (later to be called Metropolitan Hospital) was established by the New York Department of Public Charities and Correction. It was established on Ward's Island, opposite Manhattan Island, in buildings which formerly housed the Inebriate Asylum of New York City. From the beginning, Metropolitan Hospital has been affiliated with New York Medical College, and it is designated a university hospital. This is the oldest American partnership between a hospital and a medical school.[1] In 1892 a Training School for Nurses was organized at the hospital.

The original nurses' quarters were located on the top floor of the hospital. One alumnae of the school wrote: "Although these quarters were crowded, two or three nurses occupying one room, and the only room which was not used as bedroom doing duty as both living-room and lecture room, yet no one complained and we had very happy times there.[2]" In the beginning, the students took care of the female patients only. Commencement exercises were not held for graduating students until 1903.

In 1894, the hospital moved to Blackwell's Island (the name of which would later change to Roosevelt Island) and the name of the hospital was changed to Metropolitan Hospital. By 1907 the hospital reached a 1300 bed capacity and was the largest general hospital in the United States. Over the years, the hospital continued to grow and expand its scope. From 1949 to 1952 a home care service was instituted , and Metropolitan Hospital quickly grew to have the highest number of home care patients in the city hospital system.

In 1955, Metropolitan Hospital moved yet again. Its new location encompassed two city blocks in Manhattan. The hospital quickly outgrew its new home, and between 1957 to 1965, the facilities were greatly expanded, including the addition of a 14-story nurses' residence. However, the School of Nursing closed its doors in 1958.

The Alumnae Association of Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing has been active since 1903. The Alumnae Association has been the group primarily responsible for preserving the history of the School. Throughout the years, they have arranged for numerous publications concerning the School's history and status.

All information from the Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing Collection.

Scope and Contents Notes

This collection contains records of the business activities of Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing and the Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association from 1873 to 1997. It contains annual reports of the school, information about alumnae, records of Alumnae Association events, class notes, photographs and artifacts.

Highlights of the collection include a selection of class photographs dating back to 1893 and photographs of students in uniform inside and on the grounds of the school dating back to the early 1900s. These large, well-preserved photographs give a glimpse of the unique life of students living, learning and working on Blackwell's Island. In some of the photographs the island's distinctive lighthouse can be seen.

Another strong area of the collection are the class notebooks of Edna Hunt Cross. Cross was a graduate of the school who went on to teach. Her notebooks shed light on what a student of Metropolitan School of Nurses in the 1920s and 1930s would have been expected to do and know.

The collection also includes a variety of uniforms worn by Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing Students. Nursing school uniforms, which were unique to the different schools of nursing, provided students with a strong sense of identity as a nurse and as a student of their particular school.

The collection is divided into three (3) series described in detail below.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: Administration and History, 1873-1997, Arranged alphabetically by subject.
7.0 cubic feet

Administrative records of the alumnae association and the school of nursing. These records include accounts ledgers, annual reports and files on alumnae. They also include some publications: a yearbook, student handbook, the script to the promotional film "Meet the Met" and newsletters. Finally, this series includes histories of the school and Welfare Island compiled by alumnae. This collection includes artifacts such as student uniforms and caps, the school flag and the film and videotapes of "Meet the Met."

Edna Hunt Cross Papers, 1919-1991, Arranged alphabetically by subject.
0.9 cubic feet

The professional papers of Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing alumnae and faculty member Edna Hunt Cross. These papers include class notebooks from her days as both student and teacher, licenses, certificates and awards, and professional publications and conference material. Her papers also include some alumnae association materials and personal photographs, as well as the apron from her school uniform.

Series 3: Photographs, 1893-1985, Arranged alphabetically by subject.
0.4 cubic feet

Highlights of the photographs series include class photographs dating back to 1893, other photographs of students in uniform dating back to 1900 and a large selection of photographs of the buildings and grounds of the school and the hospital.

Oversize Box
1.5 cubic feet

Primarily consists of oversize photographs and other visual material.

Box and Folder List

Series 1: History and Administration, 1873-1997

( See also: Artifact Boxes 1, 2 and 3)
Box 1
  1. 50th Anniversary, 1955
  2. Accounts ledger, 1936-1940
  3. Accounts ledger, 1939-1943
  4. Accounts ledger, 1943-1948
  5. Accounts ledger and scrapbook, 1970-1985
  6. Alma mater, undated
  7. Alumnae information cards, c. 1960 (folder 1 of 2)
  8. Alumnae information cards, c. 1960 (folder 2 of 2)
    Alumnae: Carnesi, Anselma B. (Class of 1950): See apron in Textile Box 1
    Alumnae: Kroth, Grace Vinceguerra (Class of 1942): See uniform in Textile Box 1
  9. Alumnae: McCormack, Lt. Cmdr. Ethel, (Class of 1912), 1944
    Alumnae: Rice, Frances Sasha:
    See photographs in Box 4, diploma case in Artifact Box 1
    Alumnae: Quinlen, Ethel White (Class of 1951): See uniform in Textile Box 1
    Alumnae: Ward, Agnes S. (Class of 1903): first president of the alumnae association: Framed portrait in Oversize Box
  10. Annual report, 1911
  11. Annual report, 1939 (1 of 2)
  12. Annual report, 1939 (2 of 2)
  13. Annual report, 1946
  14. Annual report, 1947
  15. Annual report, 1972-1973
  16. Annual reports, Department of Hospitals, City of New York, 1952-1953
  17. Articles of incorporation and bylaws, 1956 (revision)
  18. Board of Directors meeting minutes, 1940
  19. Buck, Pearl S., letter to Mrs. William Draper, 1937
  20. Buildings and Grounds: Draper Hall, 1962
    Buildings and Grounds: See drawing in Oversize Box
  21. History: Hospital timeline, c. 1975
  22. History: Ward, Agnes "History of Welfare Island," 1950
  23. "The Lighthouse," student handbook, c. 1950
  24. "Meet the Met," 1960
  25. "Metroscope," yearbook, 1953
  26. Newsclipping: The Cadet Nurse Corps, undated
  27. Nightingale, Florence, letter W. Clark, 1873
  28. Nursing procedures, 1959
    Registration Certificate, 1905: See Oversize Box
  29. Reunion: Class of 1949 (25th reunion), 1974
  30. Reunion programs, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1980, 1985, 1995, 1997
  31. Reunion seating charts, 1975
  32. Roster of graduates, 1894-1958
  33. School and alumnae report, 1933
  34. School pin, 1965-1991
  35. WWI course length reduction announcement, 1918

Series 2: Publications and Papers

Box 2
  1. Alumni Association, 1990-1991
  2. American Journal of Nursing mailings, 1955, 1957
  3. Award: Medical Board Prize, 1923 (A2006-06)
  4. Award: Resolution from Midland Schools, 1961 (A2006-06)
  5. "Cardio-Vascular Nursing," 1965
  6. Class notebooks: anatomy and physiology, 1920s
  7. Class notebooks: bacteriology and first aid, 1922
  8. Class notebooks: first aid, 1930s
  9. Class notebooks: first aid, undated
  10. Class notebooks: hygiene, undated
  11. Class notebooks: obstetrics, 1921
  12. Class notes, "Spring Lectures," 1921 (A2006-06)
  13. Class notes, various, 1920s, 1930s
Box 3
  1. Commencement programs, 1923, 1929
  2. Eye symposium, c. 1958
  3. Health and hygiene pamphlets, 1950s (1 of 3)
  4. Health and hygiene pamphlets, 1950s (2 of 3)
  5. Health and hygiene pamphlets, 1950s (3 of 3)
  6. "The Lighthouse," June and September, 1923
  7. Metropolitan Hospital and School of Nursing annual reports, 1919, 1933
  8. New Jersey Citizens' Defense Corps card, 1940s (A2006-06)
  9. Photographs, 1921, c. 1965
  10. Recent Advances in Nursing, c. 1948
  11. Reference, 1950, 1963 (A2006-06)
  12. Registered Nurse certificates, 1923, 1933 (A2006-06)
  13. Registered Nurse exam scores, 1923 (A2006-06)
  14. School Nurse certificate, 1932 (A2006-06)

Series 3: Photographs, 1896-1985

Box 4
Alumnae Association anniversaries, 1925, 1960, 1965, 1970 : See Oversize Box
  1. Beigle, Jane M. collected photographs, 1903, 1905, 1929, 1935, c. 1960, undated
  2. Buildings and grounds, c. 1905-c. 1960
    ( See also Oversize Box )
  3. Christmas party, c. 1945
  4. Class photographs, 1893, 1930, 1931, 1948, c. 1950
    ( See also Oversize Box )
  5. (Photographed housed at the) National Library of Medicine, 1896
  6. Negatives, unidentified, undated
  7. Published photographs, undated
  8. Reunion, Class of 1948, 1985
  9. Rice, Frances Sasha photographs, c. 1945
    ( See also Artifact Box 1 )
  10. Staff, 1894, 1906, undated
    ( See also Oversize Box ) Student activities, 1924: See Oversize Box
  11. Students, identified, 1903, 1904, 1930, 1934, 1937, 1948, 1949, undated
  12. Students, unidentified, 1947, 1948, 1954, undated
  13. Students in uniform, c. 1900
  14. Students in uniform with view of lighthouse, c. 1930
  15. Uniforms, historic, c. 1948


Box 1
Series 1: History and Administration
  • Book: Ed. Dearborn, Frederick M. American Homeopathy in the World War. The Globe Press: New York, 1923
  • Photographic plates, metal, mounted on wood, nurse with children, undated
  • Rice, Frances Sasha: diploma case, blue leather and pink satin, 1945
  • Totebag, blue canvas featuring image of lighthouse, c. 1980
Box 2
Series 1: History and Administration
  • 3 caps, one featuring the black velvet "graduate" band, undated
  • 1 styrofoam head and 2 wigs for cap display
Box 3
Series 1: History and Administration Audio-Visual Materials
  • "Meet the Met," 1960
  • 1 10" reel of film, 2 VHS videotapes
On Shelf
  • Flag, blue and white satin, gold fringe, featuring Metropolitan Hospital seal, undated


Box 1
Series 1: History and Administration
Student Uniforms
  • Carnesi, Anselma B., (Class of 1950): Apron marked in black ink with messages from her classmates
  • Kroth, Grace Vinceguerra, (Class of 1942): Light blue uniform including 1 short sleeve dress with white cuffs and collars attached, white bib and apron
  • White, Ethel Quinlen, (Class of 1951): Blue uniform including long skirt, long sleeve, high necked, button up blouse with attachable white collar and white bib and apron
Box 2
Series 1: History and Administration Student Uniforms
  • Various uniforms, aprons, bibs, cuffs, collars and belts.
  • Two Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing sweatshirts, white with blue print
  • Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing banner with white print


Series 1: History and Administration
  1. Drawing of the school, undated (2 copies)
  2. Registration Certificate, 1905

    Ward, Agnes S. (Class of 1903): Framed portrait
Series 3: Photographs
  1. Alumnae Association anniversaries, 1925, 1960, 1965, 1970
  2. Buildings and grounds: exteriors, c. 1960
  3. Buildings and grounds: interiors, 1887, 1901
  4. Class photos, 1898, 1929
  5. Staff, 1907
  6. Student activities, 1924


  • [1]Office of Communications and Marketing. "New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation." Accessed October 24, 2003 at 2003
  • [2]Ed. Datesman, Sabra H. and E. Beatrice Christie. Report Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing 1892-1933 and Alumnae Association of the Metropolitan Hospital School of Nursing 1903-1933. Welfare Island: New York City. 1933. p. 55

Rachel DonaldsonFebruary, 2005
 April 12, 2006

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