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Barbara Bates portrait

The Barbara Bates Center is the preeminent history of nursing research center and archive. 

Our priority is to increase the understanding of the importance of the history of nursing and healthcare to the development of our healthcare system and in crafting effective health policies and patient care strategies.

Through its extensive collections, fellowships, and curricula opportunities, the Bates Center provides considerable evidence for scholars and students to question traditional disciplinary paradigms; to give voice to the historical power of nursing; and to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of local and global approaches to issues of health and illness. 

The Barbara Bates Center is a committed partner in preserving all voices of nursing history, opening access to collection materials, and growing our digital collections. To support our efforts individuals can contribute funds, donate personal papers, and volunteer time.

Upcoming Events:

  • Feb
    Timothy Kent Holliday

    Death Wish: End-of-Life Care in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia

    In the early 1830s, physicians like southern-born Philadelphia physician William Horner used the bodies of living and dead patients to better understand the terrifying new disease cholera. Horner busied himself with the task of amassing a vast collection of anatomical specimens while cholera beset Philadelphia. The care work performed by Horner in the early 1830s—intimate care, for all its violence—reveals the contours of physician-patient intimacy during terminal illness, and especially such intimacy in interracial contexts, in the ascendant years of professional anatomical medicine.