Table of Contents
Collection Overview +/-
Collection Inventory +/-
Biographical Note/Historical Note +/-
St. Mark's Hospital opened in 1872 under the direction of the Episcopal Church in a two room adobe house on 500 East and 300 South in Salt Lake City. Two years later it admitted its first patients. The 1879 expansion saw the purchase of land and the erection of a new building with room for fifteen beds to better treat the infirm miner lead poisoning, industrial injuries, and typhoid fever.
St. Marks Hospital School of Nursing: On March 24, 1893, the St. Mark's Hospital Board of Directors authorized the establishment of a training school for nurses in connection with the hospital. In 1894, a new 50-bed St. Mark's hospital opened with a nurses training program at 200 North 700 West. Twenty-three year old, Miss Mary Edith Newitt, a recent graduate of New York City's St. Luke's Training School, served as the head nurse. The first class of four nurses graduated from the two year program in 1896. While St. Mark's Nursing School began as a two-year program, a third year was added in 1898. Between 1892 and 1898, the hospital more than doubled its capacity when it added a new wing to house the surgical, medical, and women's wards.
Miss Mary Edith Newitt: According to St. Mark's Hospital's full history website, "the first superintendent of the school was Miss Mary Edith Newitt. She arrived on February 12, 1894, and promptly told the administration that conditions were "abominable." Soon afterward, standards changed. Instruments were sterilized in the basement kitchen and carried upstairs in hot pans. Large quantities of carbolic acid and bichloride were used as disinfectants. Surgeons did not wear masks, but tied their hair back. Cotton gloves were occasionally used on septic patients, however, in most cases gloves were not used." Miss Newitt married name was Mary Edith Newitt Smith.
The nursing students were initially housed in a cottage owned by the hospital on Reed Street, later they lived in the basement of the new wing, and finally they moved into a new three-story residence constructed in 1906. The Nurses Home was opened on May 8, 1907, as a memorial to Episcopal Bishop Abel Leonard. Its first floor apartments housed the head nurse, the assistant head nurse, and the night nurse plus a living room, while the second and third floors housed the nursing students.
The school's curriculum evolved as state and national standards and trends changed. Initially, the program required extensive clinical training and little classroom work. New students were assigned to the hospital a day after their arrival. Student nurses, known as probationers, spent their first year assisting in general cleaning, food preparation, and other tasks as well as nursing. Each nurse was assigned to a particular ward on regular rotations. Between 1896 and 1920, more than 200 nurses graduated from St. Mark's. Students worked twelve hours per day and attended classes in the evening. Students were provided board and lodging, reasonable laundry and a monthly allowance of $5 for the purchase of uniforms and textbooks and to meet other expenses. In 1927, requirements were tightened requiring high school diplomas for students to be admitted into the program. From 1914 to 1966, clinical work requirements fell from seventy-six hours per week to twenty-eight hours while total classroom hours increased from 208 to 1,543.
Between 1935 and 1950, the need for nurses increased dramatically as the number of patients in U.S. hospitals doubled while the number of stateside nurses declined as more nurses joined military service during World War II. The U.S. Congress responded by creating the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps as an incentive to increase the number of students in the program by providing financial aid to nursing students. Additionally, St. Mark's Nursing School created its own incentive by making it possible for students to gain university credit at the school. Students could graduate with a Bachelor of Sciences by taking courses in conjunction with the University of Utah. However, this program ended in 1948 when the University tried to gain control of St. Mark's Nursing Program. St. Mark's declined the University's offer and instead became academically affiliated with Westminster College that same year.
The diversity of the school's student body broadened with the addition of the first graduating African American student (Nancy Bankhead) in 1955, and the first graduating male student (Kenneth Ross Church) in 1963. The 1960s saw a national decline in the supply of highly skilled nurses.
On August 15, 1968, the Board of Directors of St. Mark's Hospital voted to terminate the Diploma Program of the St. Mark's Hospital School of Nursing as of June 1970. In an effort to build support for the program, Westminster College and St. Mark's Nursing School commenced a baccalaureate-nursing program together, completing the transition in 1970, in time for the first Westminster students to graduate from the program in 1972.
Dr. Galen O. Belden (secretary of the medical staff at St. Mark's Hospital) established a memorial scholarship in 1991 shortly after his wife's death. The Irene Bunch Belden Memorial Nursing Scholarship is awarded to nursing students at Westminster College who have completed their freshman year and demonstrate financial need. In the 2009-2010 year, 12 student nurses were each awarded $3,100.
More information on the current Westminster College School of Nursing and Health Sciences is available online.
Sources of information for this biographical/historical note:
Content Description +/-
This collection consists of a single small volume containing various lists of applicants and nursing students, and agreements for the St. Mark's Hospital School of Nursing in Salt Lake City, Utah. The handwritten title identifies the book as, "Names of Nurses and Applicants for the Training School St. Mark's Hospital, March 1894, M. E. Newitt, Superintendent Training School." Entries in the volume date from 1894-1906.
The first list (p. 2) contains the names of 28 nursing students who left the school. It includes a number, the student's name and reason for leaving (graduated, married, left voluntarily, ill health, and death). The second list (pp. 3-4) details 29 applicants containing a number, applicant's name, date entered the program, and date received. Lines are drawn through six of the names with an explanation provided on following page (p. 5). The explanatory lists begins with the number eight and lists applicant's name and home town, date entered, and explanation (i.e., "unsuitable," "transfer," "too old"). All applicants are women; most are single ("Miss"), three are married ("Mrs.").
The student agreements (pp. 11-67) are signed statements committing the nursing student to remain in school for "two years. . . as a pupil and to obey the rules of the school and of the hospital." The practice was discontinued in March 1899 when Hospital Superintendent D.D. Wallace determined it was unnecessary to have pupils sign the agreements.
Collection Use +/-
Restrictions on Access:
Open to public research.
Twenty-four hours advance notice is encouraged.
Restrictions on Use:
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.
Permission to publish material must be obtained from the director of the Giovale Library.
St. Mark's Hospital School of Nursing student applicants and agreement book, 1894-1906, ACC-064, Giovale Library Archives, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Administrative Information +/-
While the book itself has no apparent arrangement, the individual lists are arranged chronologically.
Processed by Patricia Lyn Scott in September 2005. The volume is very worn and the cover is loose. Only 67 pages of the total 236 pages contain any information.
St. Mark's Hospital (Salt Lake City, Utah). School of Nursing
Collection materials are in English.
0.2 linear feet; 1 volume
Language of the Finding Aid:
Author of the Finding Aid:
Finding aid written September 2005 by Patricia Lyn Scott; expanded January 2015 by Sarah Shaw.
EAD Creation Date:
2015 January 13 by Sarah Shaw
Describing Archives : A Content Standard (DACS)
Related collections and photographs in Giovale Library Archives:
St. Mark's Hospital (Salt Lake City, Utah). School of Nursing--Archives
Nursing--Study and teaching--History--Sources
Form or Genre Terms:
Newitt, Mary Edith
Salt Lake City (Utah)--History--Sources