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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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.

Thinking Historically

A new curator sees the future in the past.

Black nurses standing with black internists
    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.


    “A benefit to themselves, to the sick, and to the community”: The Story of Philadelphia’s Black Hospitals & Nurse Training Schools.

    A linograph of Minnie Hogan Clemens from the neck up. Her hair is pulled up into a high bun and she is wearing a turtle neck.

    Who was Minnie Hogan Clemens?

    In 1888, Minnie Hogan Clemens (Dorchester) became the first Black student to attend the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Nurse Training School (HUP). In the local news coverage at the time, Clemens’ acceptance into the program was widely celebrated by the Black community as a sign of progress for Black women, who had “no opportunities for employment in factories, stores or at trades, teaching or menial service alone being open to them.”