The nursing program at Linfield College’s Portland campus is both historic and successful. For the past six months, Rosa Gibson, class of ’12, has been working on locating and preserving artifacts from the nursing program’s early days.
With the college’s support, she has been able to organize and display the collection.
“Most of the items were first on the Portland campus, being shuffled around various closets, said Rachael Woody, Linfield archives director.
“The first half of the collection made it to the archives 10 years ago, before the archives program at the McMinnville campus had been established. The Portland campus continued to come upon old artifacts.”
The first collection opened recently and is located in Peterson Hall at the Linfield Portland campus.
In January 2013, a second exhibit of the collection will be unveiled at the Willamette Heritage Commission in Salem, Ore., and will be on display for nine months.
Only 30 collections are chosen annually to be on display at the Willamette Heritage Commission.
Some of the most notable objects in the collection are daily bulletins from the American Hospital Association, yearbooks, pamphlets about the hospital, alumni materials, binders, letters from the governor, scrapbooks and articles about the medical field.
There are two framed certificates awarded to Emily Loveridge, who started the nursing program in 1890. One designates her as a registered nurse in the state of Oregon from 1911, and the other establishes her as a licensed anesthetist in the state of Oregon from 1914.
Along with documents, the collection includes photos of Loveridge, family, employees, students, physicians, nurses, alumni and patients.
The collection also holds nursing uniforms, a silver tea set, porcelain dolls and a variety of other objects.
When Gibson began the project, the collection was kept in 75 boxes.
“It’s amazing that the campus held onto everything,” Woody said.
Perhaps more interesting than the collection itself is the information that can be gained about the nursing programs founder, Loveridge.
Originally trained in nursing on the East Coast, Loveridge was brokenhearted when her fiancé died of tuberculosis. She never married and always wore black. After her fiancé’s death she decided to travel to Oregon on the Oregon Trail to help care for the sick.
When she first arrived to the hospital, she was shocked by the conditions of the facility. However, she was able to whip it into shape, and it became one of the best teaching hospitals in the Northwest.
At the time, there was no orphanage in Portland. Loveridge, who never had her own children, took it upon herself to adopt and care for all of the orphans.
The new Linfield nursing exhibit not only offers a glimpse into the life of Loveridge, it offers a look into the founding and history of the program that has helped so many.
Madeline Bergman can be reached at