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NURSING PAPERS, 1955 - 1959, 1985, #499

By Grace Meyer, August 30, 1994


During her summer holidays while in high school, Mary Ann Whitaker worked at Memorial Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, as a nurse's aid. This cemented her long-standing desire to become a nurse and she entered Memorial Hospital's school of nursing on September 6, 1955. In 1956, she earned her cap and bib after completing her probationary period. She graduated in 1958 and in October of that successfully passed the Delaware State professional licensure examination to become a Registered Nurse. Soon afterwards, she married and became Mary Ann Robinson. She has worked in hospitals in Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia in obstetrics, critical care units and infection control. As of 1991, she was employed at Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In 1985, the 80 year old Memorial Hospital in Wilmington was closed and the building demolished to prepare the site for a twin high-rise condominium.


The materials mainly concern the nursing program at Memorial Hospital and Miss Whitaker's years as a student there between 1955 and 1958. Included are residence policies, student government regulations, pamphlets about the "Guild of St. Barnabas for Nurses," and other materials related to the school's history. There are photo prints of Miss Whitaker and her classmates as a probationer and at her graduation ceremony, along with a 1959 Yearbook from the school. Of particular interest are two original drawings of Miss Whitaker done by a patient while an affiliate student at the Philadelphia General Hospital in 1957. Also included is an autobiographical narrative prepared by Mrs. Robinson in 1991. Lastly, the collection includes photocopies of news clippings about the 1985 demolition of Memorial Hospital.


Mary Ann Robinson (nee Whitaker) donated this collection -- along with her student nurse's uniform -- to the Division of Medical Science, NMAH, in December 1991. These papers were transferred to the Archives Center in August 1993.

Container List

Box 1

    Folder 1, Memorial Hospital School of Nursing Booklet, n.d., Residence Policy and Regulations, n.d., Student Government Association Handbook, 1957, Student Government Constitution and By-Laws, 1957; 2, "Guild of St. Barnabas for Nurses" Pamphlet, 1955; 3, Probation & Capping Ceremony, 1955-1957; 4, Graduation, 1958 (click here to view a sample from this folder); 5, Certificate - Board of Nurse Examiners, 1958; 6, 1959 year book, The Lamp; 7, 100th Anniversary Homeopathic-Memorial Hospital and Nurses Alumnae Association, 1891-1991 Booklet; 8, Autobiography & Resume; 9, Drawings of Miss Whitaker done by a Patient, 1957; 10, Photocopies of News clippings re: demolition of Memorial Hospital 1985


Revised: January 5, 2000