A refurbished exhibit case in the entry landing between Storrs Hall and the Widmer Wing celebrates the School of Nursing’s and Connecticut’s connections to the history of nursing.
Since its founding in 1942 by Dean Carolyn Ladd Widmer, the UConn School of Nursing has sustained the legacy of nursing history. The first full-time faculty member hired by Dean Widmer, Josephine A. Dolan, cultivated an interest in the scholarly study and teaching of nursing history, collecting artifacts, documents and archival materials, and rare books related to the history of nursing and other health professions. Dolan donated her collection to UConn in 1996.
In the years since, the Dolan Collection (housed both here in the School of Nursing and in Archives and Special Collections in UConn’s Dodd Center) has been developed and organized by subsequent curators, including Eleanor Krohn Herrmann, Mary Ann Cordeau, and Jennifer Casavant Telford.
Displayed here are portraits of significant figures in the history of American nursing, including those associated with Connecticut, a shadow box with Connecticut nursing school pins from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries, and a rare book.
Recent acquisitions to the collection (displayed here) include a first edition of Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not, published in London in 1859, which was donated by alumna Jane K. Dickinson.
The School of Nursing’s connection to Nightingale runs deep. Dean Widmer’s maternal grandfather, Cyrus Hamlin, was a Congregationalist missionary to the Turkish Ottoman Empire who created a bakery business to support the missionaries. This bakery supplied Nightingale’s hospital at Scutari with its daily bread during the Crimean War.
Dolan Collection exhibits in the atrium of the Storrs Hall Widmer Wing are open to the public seven days a week.