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St Philip Nurses

During the first quarter of the twentieth century when southern law and social practice demanded separate facilities for the races, the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) established a separate school of nursing for African American women to provide trained personnel for the St. Philip Hospital. The school opened with the hospital in the fall of 1920. It expanded in 1936 with the addition of a public health nursing course supported by funds from the Social Security Act and administered in conjunction with the United States Public Health Service. 

The School graduated 791 nurses during its 42-year history. From the beginning the St. Philip School of Nursing was registered by the Virginia State Board of Nurse Examiners and subsequently by the Regents of the University of New York in 1936 and National League of Nursing Education in 1942. St. Philip graduated its largest classes during World War II as the school did its part in preparing nurses for the armed services. In 1960 the MCV Board of Visitors made the decision to close the school following the graduation of the Class of 1962. By that point, the MCV School of Nursing was granting admission to students of all races and the cost of maintaining two separate schools had become prohibitive. 

The story of the school is told in A Historical Bulletin of the Saint Philip School of Nursing and Alumnae Association (catalog record). St. Philip alumnae Mayme Wilson Lacy and Pinala W. Monroe compiled this first substantive history of the school in 1978, and The Saint Philip Alumnae Association authorized this fully searchable digital version of the school’s history. The Historical Bulletin includes a general history, information on the curriculum, listing of the faculty, rosters of graduates, class photographs, and other information related to the school. 

The original publication is available for use and is located in Special Collections and Archives at the Tompkins-McCaw Library

Copyright for the materials in this collection is managed by the VCU Libraries. The use of these materials is subject to the stipulations specified in the VCU Libraries copyright page.

 
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