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University Archives Nursing Collection


1972 was the first year that Lowell State College awarded a bachelor of science degree in Nursing. Daniel O’Leary, former president of Lowell State College, awards Doris Arpin, the first of approximately forty recipients of the degree, June 8, 1972. Waiting her turn is Roberta Basque. The ceremony took place in Thomas F. Costello Gymnasium at Lowell Technological Institute. Photo from the University Library, Center for Lowell History, Nursing Collection, Box 37 Folder 2.

Collection Description

University of Massachusetts Lowell
Center for Lowell History
University Archives Nursing Collection


EXTENT: 74 boxes, 253 books, 23 artifacts; 60 linear feet.

HISTORICAL NOTE: The University Archives Nursing Collection (previously known as the Nursing Archives) was established in 1989 by UMass Lowell's Nursing Department and the local chapter of the National Nursing Honor Society to support and promote the study and research of nursing and health care through the records and collections of the University, local health care organizations, and nursing professionals.

DATE RANGE: 1920s-2021

SCOPE AND CONTENT: The collection documents the history of nursing in the Merrimack Valley community as well as nurse education as it evolved from hospital-based diploma programs, into the mainstream of higher education. The archival materials from Lowell and the Merrimack Valley include the Lawrence General Hospital School of Nursing, Lowell Visiting Nurse Association (Lowell Guild), Sigma Theta Tau International: Eta Omega Chapter, as well as materials from the Susan and Alan Solomont School of Nursing. Documents include academic program proposals and approvals, audio and video recordings, books, budget reports, bulletins, course catalogs, communications, correspondence, handbooks, meeting minutes, oral histories, photographs, private papers, programs, reports, scrapbooks, yearbooks, etc. While primarily comprised of two-dimensional documents, the collection includes some artifacts.

PROCESSING HISTORY: The collection was compiled by Frances Dumont, RN, SGNP in 1993 and updated by Jennifer Violette, RN, SGNP, (1996 – 1997), Vanessa Preble, RN, SGNP, (1997), Christine J. Anderson, RN, SGNP, March 2000, Charlene A. Saulnier, SFNP, RN, March 2000, with addition processing and description by Center for Lowell History Archives Manager Janine Whitcomb, (post – 2000).

Olive Murray Norcross Collection

Nurse helping a mother with two babies  Members of the nursing guild lined up in a row  nurse meeting with a new mother about care of her infant

From the Visiting Nurses Program. Click on thumbnail to go to full-sized image.