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Bronson School of Nursing Alumni Association Collection

Identifier: RH-A-2940


This collection contains letters, video cassettes, photographs, and slides of graduation exercises, school buildings, and student activities from the Bronson School of Nursing Alumni Association, covering a period from 1943 to 1998.


  • Creation: 1943-1998


Ellen Louise Emig

Ellen Louise Emig began nursing school in 1945. She was born July 12, 1926 in Detroit, Michigan. Her mother Leah Mae Johnson, native to Indiana, worked as a homemaker and earned money by knitting for people. Her father worked as a bookkeeper at City Assessor Office. He served in World War I and was born and raised in Detroit. Jay died on October 11, 1944, leaving Ellen and her mother alone and struggling financially. Ellen was closest with her father, and his death was extremely devastating for her. She was generally an average student, but her grief affected her grades. However, after she was examined at the Psycho-Education Clinic on April 14, 1945, head nurses found her to be a capable and promising nursing student. During adolescence, Ellen worked in child care and as a dress shop clerk, then she spent a summer working at a hospital in Detroit in 1944. There she discovered that she loved helping and caring for people. Ellen graduated from Bronson School of Nursing in 1949, and married Paul Clayton Shank on June 18, 1950.

Brief History of Bronson Methodist Hospital

The history of the School of Nursing has been an integral part of the history of the hospital. Four women apprentices began the earliest training of nurses in 1900, with classes instructed by available doctors. After two years of study, those young women were given certificates of graduation. By 1903, a greater demand for nursing services were needed after an expansion, and a more formal and larger school of nursing was suggested. So, in 1904, Kalamazoo Hospital School of Nursing was established, offering a three-year course of study. In 1910, the work of the school received recognition when the State Board of Nurse Registration in Michigan published its first list of approved schools. When the Methodist Church assumed control of the hospital in 1920, after financial problems, the school of nursing was renamed and reorganized. The faculty would include a full-time nursing arts instructor, a trained dietitian, and two nurse instructor-supervisors. Growth in both faculty and students continued throughout the following decades. The Bronson School of Nursing program later merged with Western Michigan University. Accreditation by the National League for Nursing was achieved in 1956.


1 boxes

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Physical Description

This collection contains .5 cubic feet of a variety of items. The prime part of the collection are letters from Nurse Ellen Louise Emig from the 1940s. However, the bulk of the collection comes from newspaper clippings, photographs, commencement ceremony pamphlets, and numerous publications associated with Bronson Methodist Hospital.

Most items are in good condition, but some older items are a little faded, stained, or torn in some places.


Information presented Bronson Methodist Hospital School of Nursing Information was received through their School of Nursing Bulletin publications. Information on Ellen Emig came from her Psycho-Education Clinic exam as well as census and vital records. This collection was brought in by Jackie Wylie, the former director of the Bronson School of Nursing. Textbooks and yearbooks were received with this collection as well, and they will either join the collection or be deaccessioned.

Bronson School of Nursing Alumni Association Collection Finding Aid
Abbey Buckham
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490