About the Center

Through its extensive collections, fellowships, and curricula opportunities, the Barbara 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 digitized collections and sites. To support our efforts individuals can contribute funds, donate personal papers, and volunteer time.

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Living Legend Designation for Penn Nursing Professor

The American Academy of Nursing has named Julie A. Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing at Penn Nursing, a Living Legend. This honor is bestowed upon a person who has made significant contributions to nursing and health care over the course of their career. The official designation will be made at the Academy’s 2024 conference, Courageous Transformations Towards an Equitable Future, which will take place October 31- November 2, 2024, in Washington, D.C. This is the Academy’s highest honor.

Upcoming Events


    October 23 | 4:00pm - 5:00pm

    Rickets in the History of Medicine: Bit Player or “A-Lister”?


    Weird and Wonderful

    The history of nursing is more than documents, notes, and records. Bates Center treasures that reveal how nursing is embedded in the cultural lexicon and tell the story of nursing education inspire awe and delight.

    Black nurses standing with black internists

    Thinking Historically

    A new curator sees the future in the past.

    A black and white photo of a black cat lying down, looking at the camera

    This Week in the Archives

    This friendly feline found their way into the archives when a c.1930s Penn student captured this stunning photo and saved it in their photo album. The rest of the album is filled with pictures that provide a rich glimpse into life in and around Penn in the early 20th century. From the University Archives and Records Center.