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Instructive Visiting Nurses Association records

Identifier: 1990.Feb.7

Scope and Content Information

The records are generally complete from 1900 to 1990. However, there are few or no records for the years 1943 to 1950.

Series 1, History, contains two handwritten speeches by Miss Nannie Minor. One is thought to be her 1902 speech given to the Womens' Club of Richmond: the other is her 1910 report to the Board of Trustees. There are histories of the IVNA, written various persons. Also included are histories of the Social Workers', Camp Harrison, and Crippled Children's Clinic.

Series 2, the Board of Trustees, contains Board minutes for 1902-1997. Also included annual reports for 1903, 1906, 1910 - 1911, 1916 - 1982. Annual reports for the years 1907, 1909 - 1923, 1928 - 1942 may be found within the minutes for those years. This series includes correspondence; financial audits for the years 1924-1945, 1947-1948, 1951, 1954-1964, 1966-1972; and miscellaneous committee reports. The monthly minutes kept by the Board of Trustees contain information about the role of women in Richmond's community life. The reports by the Director or Chief Nurse, to the Board of Trustees, includes information about the range of problems nurses faced, particularly during the early twentieth century.

Series 3, Legal, contains correspondence, legal records, contracts, wills, constitutions and by-laws and legal complaints against the IVNA. Most of the correspondence is with the IVNA's long time legal representative Thomas Gay.

Series 4, Organization and Staff of the IVNA, contain a staff manual, date unknown, and information about the work performed by the director and nurses, mainly from the 1950s to 1982. However early information may also be found in the minutes of the Board of Trustees. Information about the IVNA - City Health Department combined services and separation is included. Also included is information about the South Richmond Community Nursing Service, a precursor to the combined services. This series contains the papers and studies done by the staff, particularly Marie Lowe, Director of the IVNA from 1957 to 1963, and Ruth Freeman, of Johns Hopkins University. Oversized estimated budget records have been separated; they are located in Box 42.

Series 5, Photographs, consists of photographs and snapshots of organizational activities and its members. Some of the photographs have been identified; most date from the 1950s and 1960s. The photographs are mostly black and white and range in size from 2"x 3" to 9" x 12". Series 5 has not been arranged.

Series 6, Miscellany, contains scrapbooks, morbidity statistics, and newspaper clippings. The scrapbooks are dated in the late 1920s, the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s, and the 1970s. Their contents include miscellaneous correspondence, photographs, snapshots, newspaper clippings, and other memorabilia. Two morbidity volumes contain statistics; one volume, dated 1946 - 1953, has statistics about various conditions as well as maternity statistics. The second volume, dated 1946 - 1952, contains statistics for discharged cases. Dates for the newspaper clippings are unknown.


  • Creation: 1902-1999


Collection is open for use without restrictions.

Use Restrictions


Biographical/Historical Information

The IVNA was originally founded as the Nurses' Settlement, by nine nurses in the 1900 graduating class at Old Dominion Hospital, and Miss Sadie H. Cabaniss, Director of Nursing, Old Dominion Hospital. The Nurse' Settlement was incorporated by an act of the legislature in 1901. Shortly afterwards, the Rt. Rev. Robert A. Gibson spoke to the women of the Episcopal churches in Richmond asking them to support the Nurses' Settlement. The women formed a committee, with Mrs. Valentine as chairman, and agreed to support the Settlement. In 1902, Miss Nannie Minor, a Settlement nurse, spoke to Mrs. B. B. Valentine's Womens Club. Her speech led to the organization of the Board of Trustees for the Nurses' Settlement, later known as the Instructive Visiting Nurses Association. Miss Cabaniss became the first Chief Nurse. She remained as Chief Nurse until 1909, when she resigned to form rural nurses settlements in Hanover County. Miss Minor became Chief Nurse in 1910, remaining until 1921.

The IVNA opened the first tuberculosis clinic, in 1903 on Oregon Hill; opened tuberculosis dispensaries in 1907; established a mission kindergarten in 1910, with Miss Lucy Witt as teacher. They also loaned an IVNA nurse, Miss Roller, to be the first woman Probation Officer, in 1912; hired the first black nurse in 1913; bean industrial nursing in 1914; set up the first crippled children's clinic, with Dr. William T. Graham, in 1916; and in 1920 began the first pre-natal clinic. The crippled children's clinic became Children's Hospital. Miss Witt's work, as kindergarten teacher, led to the first social work caseload in Richmond; eventually forming the Social Workers' of the Nurses' Settlement. The two wings of the Nurses' Settlement formally separated in 1922; the Nurses' Settlement ceased to exist. The IVNA and the William Byrd Settlement House took its place.

Until the 1950s, members of the Board of Trustees were involved in the day to day work of the IVNA. They did the office work, raised money, supplied and ran the loan closet, and volunteered in clinics.

In 1953, the IVNA and the City Health Department combined for reasons of economy, efficiency, and continuity of service; with each retaining their own budget. In 1961, two positions for physical therapists were established in the budget of the IVNA. That year, a new study was made by the Richmond Area Community Council to determine areas of responsibility for the IVNA and the City Health Department. By 1964, questions arose about the viability of continuing the combined service. Finally in 1966, the IVNA became an independent volunteer agency again; partially funded by the United Givers' Fund they had joined in 1960.


17.26 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Series 1, History, is arranged categorically. Series 2, Board of Trustees, Series 3, Legal, and Series 4, Organization and Staff, are arranged by subject, then chronologically. Series 5, Photographs, and Series 6, Miscellany, are not arranged.

Acquisition Information

Materials are on loan from the IVNA

Processing Information

Collection processed in May 1990 and revised in June 2002. Accession 2004/Jun/10 integrated June 2004

A Guide to the Records of the Instructive Visiting Nurses Association 1902-1999
A Collection in Special Collections and Archives, Health Sciences Library, Virginia Commonwealth University 90/Feb/7
Helen Olton and Scott Kay
© 2002 By Copyright Virginia Commonwealth University. All Rights Reserved.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the VCU Health Sciences Library Repository

Special Collections and Archives 509 N 12th St
Box 980582
Richmond Virginia 23298 USA US
(804) 828-9898