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Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0147

Scope and Contents

The Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing Collection documents activities of students, faculty, class reunions and facilities at Buffalo. A significant number of photographs of the Buffalo General Hospital and the German Deaconess Hospital are also included in the collection. The photographs of hospital facilities and nursing students from 1877 represent extensive years of changes in the nursing school environment.

In Series I, The Buffalo General Hospital Nursing School, accreditation reports contain a wealth of information about the school's statistics, philosophy and objectives, administration and organization, faculty and students, curriculum and resources, and facilities and services between 1953 and 1985. Correspondence, newsletters, reports, and program brochures during World War II activities of the Cadet Nurse Corp program are included in the series, as well.

II, The German Deaconess Hospital, consists mainly of photographs and memorabilia. The Certificate for Incorporation in 1895, a newspaper clipping from 1913, and photographs of nursing students, facilities, and medical equipment from various years are significant in the series. Unique items such as nursing certificates, diplomas, nurse dolls, pins, and uniforms from various years are also contained in the series.


  • 1877-1987


Terms of Access

The Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association Collection, 1877-1987, is open for research, except for all student records in Series I, Subseries J. The Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing student records are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) restrictions of 75 years from the date of creation of the record.


Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

The Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing

The Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing, the second oldest school for nurses in the United States, was organized in 1877. Two prominent women of the region, president and vice- president of the Ladies' Hospital Association, Mrs. John B. Skinner and Mr. Thomas F. Rochester, planned to establish a new order of nursing school. Mrs. Sarah Grey from the Bellevue Hospital in New York City was hired to be the first year superintendent of nurses, and five student nurses were enrolled for a two-year program. Admission into the Nursing School was modeled after the Training School at St. Thomas Hospital (now called Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery) in London, England, which was developed by Florence Nightingale.

During World War II, the federal government established the Cadet Nurse Corps within the Public Health Service to meet a tremendous shortage of nurses. Many nursing schools across the nation were informed and invited to join the Corps. From Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing, 2999 nursing students were supported by the federal government and 229 of them joined in the Cadet Corps. Applicants must have been graduates of an accredited high school or recipients of a general education diploma. The admission requirements for the program were at least 16 units with a minimum of 10 units in academic subjects, two years of a foreign language, one unit in biology or general science, and chemistry, elementary algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra. In addition, sufficient English and History credits were required for entrance into nursing school.

In 1944, the nursing school started a three-year program; freshmen attended the State University of New York at Buffalo for nine months and were allowed to take additional courses at UB during their second and third years. Meanwhile, they were required to experience surgical, medical and obstetrical nursing for nine weeks in Pediatric Nursing at Children's Hospital, and three months of Psychiatric Nursing at Buffalo State Hospital as well as six weeks of experience in other community agencies. In the third year, leadership and advanced medical nursing courses were required to complete their program.

The school was registered with the State of New York and accredited by the National League for Nursing which permits its graduates (who maintain grades above 75%) to take State Board Examinations in order to become registered professional nurses. After registration, graduates become members of the American Nurses' Association and are entitled to use the official R.N. (registered nurse).

After having produced a large number of qualified nurses, the school closed in 1987.

Alumnae Association

In the 23 years from the founding of the training school for nurses in 1877, the Buffalo General Hospital Training School for Nurses graduated 224 nurses. On June 14, 1900, Miss Margaret Simpson, class of 1892, formed the Alumnae Association and registered 34 charter members. The Officers were elected for the year and a committee appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws. At a second meeting in September, 1900, the constitution and by-laws were revised, approved, and accepted. Membership was open only to those holding a diploma from The Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing.

The German Deaconess Hospital

Following the model of a famous hospital and nurse training center that was first instituted in Kaiserwerth, Germany, the German Deaconess Hospital was established on 27 Goodrich Street, Buffalo, 1895. The objectives of the hospital were to establish a home to train women to be deaconesses who would care for the poor, sick and young people. Rev. Carl L. Schild, who helped establish the hospital, took on the office of director between 1895 and 1899. In 1908, the hospital established a School of Nursing.

Even though the Deaconess Hospital had financial problems from the beginning, they became the second-biggest hospital in Buffalo. The local German community helped raise money for a new building, successfully collecting $125,000. In August 1912, construction was completed. The hospital's capacity increased from 337 beds to 425 beds and 44 bassinets. With a $7.5 million investment in 1962, it expanded its range of service to include such treatments as hemodialysis, angiology and radiation therapy.

In 1983, the German Deaconess Hospital went bankrupt and some portions of the hospital merged with Buffalo General Hospital.


32.5 Linear Feet (18 manuscript boxes, 2 half manuscript boxes, 21 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



Administrative, faculty, and student records, photographs, student uniforms, and other memorabilia collected by the Alumni Association of the Buffalo General Hospital Nursing School.


This collection is arranged in three series:

  1. The Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing
  2. The German Deaconess Hospital
  3. Additional material

Acquisition Information

Received from Joyce Pfohl in July 2006. Additional material donated by Margaret Grindrod, daughter of Annie Fairclough Price, 2009.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Kuniko Simon, January 2009. Collection partially rehoused by Archives staff, July 2016. Additional material processed by Jessica Hollster, March 2018.


Finding Aid for the Buffalo General Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association collection
Finding aid prepared by Kuniko Simon.
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)