NLN Resources

The National League for Nursing Collection is a critical resource for scholars investigating nursing, nursing education, and nursing accreditation in the United States.

Founded in 1893 at the World’s Fair in Chicago as the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools for Nurses, the National League for Nursing was the first nursing organization in the United States. Isabel Hampton, superintendent at Johns Hopkins Training School in Baltimore, chaired a group of leaders who set the foundation for reforming nursing and nursing education. In 1912 it would become the National League of Nursing Education, and in 1952 it became as it is now known as the National League for Nursing.

The National League for Nursing is a leading organization for nurse faculty and leaders in nursing education. NLN members represent nursing education programs across higher education, health care organizations, and agencies.

To learn more about its robust history, view the timeline curated for their 125th anniversary in 2018.

The NLN’s Unscripted Conversation Saga podcast series takes journeys through the history of nursing education using stories that connect the past to the present and the future to re-imagine our teaching and learning. Season 2 features discussion regarding the NLN’s Curriculum Revolution throughout the years and how successful or not it was. More information about the Curriculum Revolution can be read in some of the digitized Books and Publications.

Video Tape Collection

As part of the Archive Processing Project, the Bates Center has digitized over 150 video tapes produced by the NLN during the 1980s and 1990s. Video topics range from annual convention keynotes to interviews with nursing leaders to health care policies and practice, among many others. These videos are now available for viewing at the Center and a full listing is provided here.

Preview clips of selected videos are highlighted below.

For questions regarding the videos or usage of the videos please contact the Center via email:

Books & Publications

The NLN has an extensive publication history and is a large feature of its record collection. The Center has over 1,100 books, pamphlets, and booklets published by the NLN. A full listing of titles can be found on the NLN Finding Aid

A selection of publications related to the Curriculum Revolution and Demographics are available online below. 

The National League for Nursing’s Curriculum Revolution of the late 1980s advocated for substantive and sustained innovation in schools of nursing. It called for a reexamination of curricular structures and processes: how nursing programs were designed, what they were striving to accomplish and how student learning was facilitated. The demographic publications focus on statistical data from salaries, accredited schools by degree, and faculty data, amongst other data sources. Both are valuable sources for researchers investigating historical trends in nursing education, nursing labor, and accreditation, amongst other fields.

For more information about the collection contents, please contact the Center.

Digitized Annual Reports & Proceedings

Available online are a selection of digitized Annual Report and Proceedings from the NLN. The early annual reports of the NLN are the proceedings of their annual conventions. Contained are the speeches, meeting notes of discussions, and resolutions passed during the event.

A full Table of Contents, and when provided its index, for all the Annual Conventions has been reproduced. In addition, upon request a limited keyword version for select years is available to researchers.

For high resolution still images and well as information on additional digitized report and proceedings, or other materials, please contact the Center. Searchable copies available upon request.


Available Digitized Materials

Video Tape Selection

Books and Publications

Digitized Annual Reports and Proceedings

125th Anniversary


When using the digitized materials in research or classroom use, please use the following citation: National League for Nursing collection, Barbara Bates Center for The Study of The History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania

For other purposes, please contact the Center via email:

Please allow for one week for all video requests. 

If you have materials regarding the National League for Nursing and you would like to donate them, please email: or call (215) 898-4502.