Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s. John L. Upton.
Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s
Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s
Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s
Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s
Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s
Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s
Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s
Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s

Photograph album documenting the training of a male nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital during the 1930s

Murray, Kentucky: circa 1935. Album. The album measures 11” x 7.5” and contains over 120 photographs documenting the time Upton was training to become a nurse at the William Mason Memorial Hospital in Murray, Kentucky. Most of the photos measure about 3” x 4”, some are larger. In addition to the photos, there is a color postcard of the hospital and a laminated newspaper clipping about Upton entering the nursing program at 34 years of age. Everything has been glued to the album pages. Very good. Item #009230

Upton was born in Arkansas in 1900 and had no education at all when he enlisted in Army at the beginning of World War One. While serving in France, he decided “that ignorance could get him no place and he determined to ‘get an education’ [and eventually did so,] Most of it through self-instruction.”

After finally earning enough high school credits he enrolled in the nursing program at the hospital and upon graduation worked at the Toledo State Hospital (also known as the Toledo Insane Asylum) in Ohio.

The photos in this album show:

Upton and his female colleagues in uniform and mufti in group poses and candid shots, caring for new born babies, working in the kitchen and eating in the dining room, in surgery, at a nurses station, using a microscope at the laboratory-pharmacy, operating an ex-ray machine, writing on a blackboard, etc.

Wards, some with patients in beds,

Hospital corridors and wall lockers,

Exterior hospital views and three 5”x7” images of part of the hospital (or a previous hospital building) being destroyed by fire,

Funeral services, and a few of

Friends or family.

Prior to the Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton era, men were commonly involved in care for the sick and injured, and in the United State a number of men served as nurses in the Spanish-American War. However, by the early years of the 20th century, nursing had become an almost entirely female profession, and very few nursing schools admitted male students. The William Mason Memorial Hospital was one of the few that did, even advertising in religious newspapers that males were welcome. Of the very few men who became nurses, most worked on male wards or caring for mentally ill patients at asylums for the insane, as Upton did upon graduation. See Judd and Stitzman’s A History of Nursing in the United States and “Wanted. – Nurses for training school” in the Southern Union Worker, Volume XIII, #25, June 19, 1924, (a Seventh Day Adventist newspaper).

Very scarce. As of 2019, no similar items are for sale in the trade or held by institutions per OCLC. The Rare Book Hub shows none have been sold at auction.

Price: $750.00

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