Collection Adds To Nursing Archives

Burns acquires papers from national group of nurse-attorneys

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

In an acquisition that will strengthen a nursing archive already widely regarded as one of the nation's best, Boston College has obtained the papers of a national health care policy group.

The American Association of Nurse Attorneys' Nursing, Law and Ethics Collection includes thousands of reports, publications and pieces of correspondence on nursing ethics dating to the organization's founding in 1982. University representatives and special guests marked the formation of the collection at a Nov. 7 luncheon in the Irish Room of the Burns Library, where it will be housed as part of the Mary L. Pekarski Nursing Archives.

TAANA is a 750-member national organization for nurses who are practicing lawyers and has sought to establish a leadership role in the making of health care policy. As part of its arrangement with the University, TAANA will continue to donate its documents to the archives on an ongoing basis.

"We are developing one of the premier nursing archives in America and this is a significant addition to that collection," said Burns Librarian Robert O'Neill. "Much of what is contained in the TAANA collection has to do with ethics, which is one of the prime considerations of our nursing archives."

The Pekarski Nursing Archives at Boston College is regarded as one of the country's most comprehensive nursing collections, O'Neill said, with particularly strong holdings in nursing history and ethics. Documents in the collection include the papers of the old New England Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing and letters written by Florence Nightingale.

With the TAANA acquisition, the Burns Library adds a significant collection of contemporary material to its nursing research archive, said Henry R. Luce Professor of Nursing Ethics Sara Fry, who was involved in bringing the papers to Boston College.

"We are saving the professional papers of those who have made significant contributions to nursing in the second half of the 20th century," said Fry. "These are the papers of people who have done significant work in advancing the cause of nursing ethics."

The agreement to deposit the papers at Boston College was struck following negotiations between O'Neill and TAANA board member Paula DiMeo Grant, a 1975 alumna of the School of Nursing who practices law in Washington, DC.

O'Neill, Grant and Fry were among those attending last week's dedication luncheon, along with Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ, SON Dean Barbara Munro, Assoc. Prof. Mary Ellen Doona (SON), University Librarian Jerome Yavarkovsky, and Wanda Anderson, reference librarian and bibliographer for nursing-related materials at O'Neill Library. The guests included TAANA President M. Jeanne Trott and other association representatives, as well as family and friends of late TAANA founder Cynthia Northrop, a respected nurse, lawyer and scholar to whom the collection has been dedicated.

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