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Celebrating Nurses

May 12, 2009

May 12th is International Nurses Day as well as the final day of National Nurses Week in the U.S. We are taking this opportunity to feature two nursing-related collections in the Archives.

UTSA Archives is home to the Records of Texas Nurses’ Association, District 8, which encompasses 28 counties in the southern part of the state. The Texas Nurses Association is a statewide membership-based association of registered nurses. Founded in 1907, TNA is the oldest professional nursing association in Texas.
Members of the organization fill many roles of nursing, including bedside, administration, consulting, advanced practice, education, and legislation. Duties of members are carried out in settings as diverse as hospital, home and community health, public health, higher education, long term care, school health and policy.
The Texas Nurses Association, District 8 Records span the years 1916 through 2007 and consist of administrative records, clippings, correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, and printed materials. The bulk of the materials in the collection are administrative records, much of which relate to a particular committee of the organization.
The majority of the committee records date from the 1970s and 1980s, though they span several decades. Also present is general correspondence representing equally the decades between the 1940s and 1990s. Minutes are well represented from the early 1900s to the 1990s, though some, including those from the earliest years, are broad summaries. There are directories from 1940, some detailed lists from the late 1980s and 1990s, and some membership lists from the 1990s to 2007.
There are several scrapbooks containing clippings, photograph and various printed materials. Newsletters are well represented from the 1970s to the 2000s. These materials are mainly concerned with news and events in nursing around the San Antonio and Bexar County area.
Another collection which documents nursing, particularly in Texas are materials donated in 1994 by Arvella Vowell. The Arvella Bentley Vowell Nurses Collection spans the years 1943 through 1994 and consists of clippings, correspondence, books, papers, a scrapbook, a ceramic lamp and a photograph.
Vowell was a registered nurse who received her nurses training in 1929-1933. She worked full-time as a nurse in San Antonio, Texas, serving as a school nurse, private nurse, psychiatric nurse, and polio nurse. In addition, she was a visiting nurse at Kelly Field during World War II, a health nurse at Trinity University, and a staff nurse at Nix Hospital. Vowell was also the historian for the District 8 of the Texas Nurses Association, beginning in 1976.

Images selected and scanned by Rose Rodriguez, Collections Assistant.

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