• IdentificationMSCCSN98AD
  • TitleCook County School of Nursing records, Addenda MSCCSN98AD
  • PublisherSpecial Collections
  • RepositorySpecial Collections
  • Physical Description7.7 Linear feet
  • Date1881-1979
  • LocationPlease note that this collection is housed in the Special Collections and University Archives Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago Library of the Health Sciences, 1750 West Polk Street, Room 320, Chicago, Illinois, 60612.
  • AbstractThe Cook County School of Nursing (CCSN) began in 1929 when students from the last graduating class of the Illinois Training School for Nurses (ITSN) finished their final year of coursework at this newly formed institution. In 1949, the Cook County School of Nursing, along with three other local nursing programs, entered into an affiliation with the University of Illinois, a relationship that lasted through 1954. CCSN offered nursing services to CCH through 1971 when the department became part of the hospital. The CCSN Records contain a range of materials related to and documenting the administration, faculty, and students of the school in addition to materials originating from the Illinois Training School for Nurses, the Cook County Hospital and Health Hospitals Governing Commission of Cook County, and the alumnae associations of both CCSN and ITSN. CCSN Board and Committee reports and minutes are included in this collection, as are the papers of Miss Frances Powell, director of the school from 1955-1970 and the records of the student-organized Cooperative Government Association (CGA).

The Cook County School of Nursing (CCSN) began in 1929 when students from the last graduating class of the Illinois Training School for Nurses (ITSN) finished their final year of coursework at this newly formed institution. The venerable ITSN, which was one of the first nursing programs in the United States, operated from 1880-1929. The school dissolved in 1929 after the board of trustees made a contractual agreement with the University of Chicago (U of C) wherein ITSN would turn over its corporate identity and facilities with the understanding that U of C would develop a School of Nursing to offer a B.S. undergraduate nursing degree program. While the University of Chicago did ultimately start an undergraduate program in nursing in 1934, a true School of Nursing was not created as an heir to ITSN.

The Cook County School of Nursing did, however, emerge out of the demise of ITSN. The corporate identity held by ITSN went to the University of Chicago, though ITSN students, facilities, and faculty, and curriculum were transferred to the Cook County School of Nursing, which opened in 1929 at the former site of the Illinois Training School for Nurses, later the site of Pasteur Park. Initially known as the Cook County Hospital School of Nursing, the word "hospital" was quickly dropped from the name so as to avoid any presumption that the Cook County Hospital (CCH) was directly related to the School of Nursing. However, CCH did rely on the School of Nursing for its nursing services, an arrangement that provided funding for the School of Nursing from the County of Cook.

Throughout its history, ITSN had contracted with the Cook County Board of Commissioners to provide nursing services to the Cook County Hospital. Upon its demise, however, the Cook County Board of Commissioners, knowing that CCH would likely lose its nursing staff as a result of the new agreement between ITSN and U of C, responded to a citizen committee that advised them to open a new school of nursing on their own. The Cook County School of Nursing then emerged out of two pressing factors: the need to provide continued nursing services to the Cook County Hospital and the need for a nursing education program to fulfill the requirements of the last class of nursing students admitted to the now defunct Illinois Training School for Nurses. In 1935, the Cook County School of Nursing moved to a new facility at 1900 W. Polk and offered nursing services to CCH through 1971 when the department became part of the hospital. In 1969, the Health Hospitals Governing Commission of Cook County (HHGC) was established, members of which served on the Board of Directors for CCSN. Additionally, CCSN faculty was housed under HHCG, resulting in a closer affiliation with the Cook County Hospital that would last until CCSN graduated its last class in 1980. (from Zita J. Asay, "The Historical Development of CCSN - with Emphasis on Isabel Hampton Robb's Contribution to Its Educational Structure.")

Much of the initial CCSN curriculum was based on that of ITSN, and the new school continued affiliation programs with other nursing schools as well as a contractual relationship with the CCH that both began at ITSN. In 1937, curricular changes were made in response to the National League of Nursing recommendations published as "A Curriculum Guide for Schools of Nursing." In 1941, the school was officially accredited by the National League of Nursing Education. Between 1943-1945 curricular changes were implemented again, this time in response to the Nurse Training Act (or the Bolton Act) passed by Congress in 1943. In order to accommodate the influx of nursing students preparing to help in war efforts, the CCSN curriculum was accelerated, though returned to its regular pace at the end of WWII. In 1948, men began entering CCSN's nursing education program.

In 1949, the Cook County School of Nursing, along with three other local nursing programs, entered into an affiliation with the University of Illinois and subsequently changed its name to the University of Illinois-Cook County School of Nursing, a change that would last through 1954. While nursing courses had been offered at the University of Illinois in the early 1940s at the request of area hospitals, the new 1949 Affiliate Collegiate program gave hospital students the opportunity to earn their bachelor's degrees and also inaugurated the RN-BSN program. (https://www.nursing.uic.edu/about-us/about-us#history, accessed 10/12/2015)

Students in this new joint program took nursing courses at CCSN while pursuing an academic program of study at the University of Illinois. Curricula at both institutions were adjusted, and some students graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing degree, though CCSN did offer both a diploma and a degree program. When the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois authorized the organization of a School of Nursing as an autonomous unit of the university in 1951, the Affiliate Collegiate program lasted only three more years. In 1954, both the University of Illinois and CCSN decided to sever their relationship and "University of Illinois" was no longer included in the school name. CCSN continued to offer nursing education programs until 1980, when its last class graduated.

Processed by CLIR funded Black Metropolis Research Consortium “Color Curtain Processing Project.” By Olle Larson and Kristin Moo. March 7, 2012. Due to their size, some items in this collection are identifed by their shelf location rather than by box number.

  • NamesCook County School of Nursing.
  • Subject
    • Chicago Health Sciences History.
    • Cook County Hospital (Chicago, Ill.)
    • Illinois Training School for Nurses
    • Nursing schools.
    • Nursing.
  • Geographic CoverageIllinois--Chicago.