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Meriden-Wallingford Hospital School of Nursing Records

Identifier: 2005-0092

Scope and Content

The collection contain administrative and historical records concerning the establishment and growth of the School of Nursing, as well as associated memorabilia and photographs. The collection does not contain any student records.

Information regarding student records (transcripts) of graduates of the Meriden-Wallingford Hospital School of Nursing should contact MidState Medical Center, Education Services, 435 Lewis Avenue, Meriden, CT 06451, Phone: 203-694-8235.


  • Creation: undated, 1929-1999


The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.


The Meriden Hospital was chartered in 1885 by the Connecticut General Assembly. The School of Nursing was established in 1892 and consisted of a two year course of study. The first diplomas were awarded in 1897 to two graduates.

By the early 1900s, the curriculum consisted of 100 hours, including cooking lessons at the YWCA. Students lived on the third floor of the Meriden Hospital and provided private duty nursing at homes in the Meriden, Connecticut area. By 1910, the curriculum had expanded to include affiliations in obstetics and pediatrics at Morgan Memorial Hospital and Lying-In Hospital in New York City.

Between 1910 and 1920 the School acquired a residence for the students (Nathaniel Bradley home) which also housed a classroom and demonstration room. During this period, the course of study was expanded to two and a half years, enrollment increased to over 15 students (all of whom received a stipend of $8-10 per month), a dieticitan was employed to provide instruction in theoretical and practical dietics and the Alumni Association was formed. Fourteen of the Meriden Hospital graduates served during World War I.

Enrollment doubled between 1920 and 1930 and the program was extended to three years. New affiliations in Public Health, Communicable Disease and Pediatrics were incorporated. Meriden students could now practice at Hartford Isolation Hospital, Yale University and Lying-In Hospital. Students worked a nine hour day and and lived in temporary cottages until the Bradley Memorial Nurses' Home on Cook Avenue was completed (1928). Admission requirements now included one year of high school and a full-time instructor was employed to teach both theory and nursing practice.

In the years before World War II, enrollment remained steady but two instructors were added to the staff. Student work hours were decreased to eight hours a day and a psychiatric affiliation with Norwich State Hospital was added to the curriculum.

World War II and the advent of the Cadet Nurse Corps resulted in a tripling of enrollment between 1940 and 1950. The faculty was increased to four, TB nursing at Uncas-on-the-Thames was added and students obtained their pre-clinical science course at the University of Connecticut.

The decade between 1950 and 1960 saw a decrease in enrollment (to approximately 50) and in the student work week (40 hours). The curriculum was extended to 1600 hours, however, and the faculty continued to grow, now including a Director (Grace Nicholson), Assistant Director of Education and Health Supervisor, as well as instructors in Science, Nursing Arts, Medical-Surgical Clinical, OB Clinical and Operating Room. Affiliations were extended to Cedar Crest Hospital(TB) and the Institute of Living (Psychiatric).

In 1962, the Nursing Service and the School of Nursing became two separate and distinct entities within the Hospital complex. Miss Thomas remained as Director of Nursing Service and Miss Agnes Plikunas was appointed Director of the School of Nursing in 1963. The existing course (three calendar years) was also modified to a 30 month program (three academic years). During the 1960-1970 period, the School received its first accreditation by the NLN and faculty increased to almost 20 instructors. The increasing strength of the program necessitated changes in the admission requirements to include four years of high school, minimum SAT scores of 850, and pre-nursing aptitude testing. A variety of curriculum changes were also implemented; levels of progression were established, science content was consolidated, and the new science course plus pharmacology were integrated with the content of medical-surgical nursing. In 1969, an affiliation for pediatric nursing was established with Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center Babies Hospital, replacing the previous affiliation with Fordham Hospital (NYC).

The first male nursing student was admitted to the newly named Meriden-Wallingford Hospital School of Nursing in 1970, the same year the Bronson Avenue residence for male students was acquired. Enrollment climbed steadily until 1973 when it reached its high point of 104 students. Faculty also increased (to 21) and was headed by Rita Grygus, who was appointed Director in 1972.

In 1973, the Board of Director regretfully announced the necessity of phasing out the Meriden-Wallingford Hospital School of Nursing, in keeping with the national trend of moving nursing education into a collegiate setting. The last class graduated in 1976.

[Note: Information in the history can be found in "From the Pages of History" in the collection.]


7.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Meriden-Wallingford School of Nursing traces its history to the establishment of the Meriden Hospital Nursing program in 1892. The program flourished from the 1890s until 1973 when it was phased out, following the national trend to move nursing programs from the hospital environment to a collegiate environment. The last class graduated in 1976.

Information regarding student records (transcripts) of graduates of the Meriden-Wallingford Hospital School of Nursing should contact MidState Medical Center, Education Services, 435 Lewis Avenue, Meriden, CT 06451, Phone: 203-694-8235.


Series I: Subject Files (undated, 1929-1999) contains administrative and historical information concerning the establishment and development of the School of Nursing.

Series I: Memorabilia (undated, 1941) includes uniform pieces, pins, and nursing related items.

Series I: Photographs (undated) have not yet been sorted.

Acquisition Information

The Records were donated by in 2005.

Existence and Location of Copies

Portions of this collection have been digitized and digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository

Separated Material

The following materials have been separated from the collection and cataloged:

From Meriden to Buchenwald (2 copies) Dodd Call No.

From the pages of history of the Meriden-Wallingford Hospital Dodd Call No.

Meriden Hospital Bulletin Dodd Periodicals

The Skimmer Dodd Periodicals

Stethoscope Dodd Periodicals

Curo (Yearbook) Dodd Periodicals

Meriden-Wallingford Hospital School of Nursing Records
Archives & Special Collections staff
2006 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
This finding aid was prepared with generous support from Meriden-Wallingford Hospital School of Nursing.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US