Saving and Celebrating Nursing History

Message from the Vice President


At the Western Conservancy of Nursing History (WCNH), we are a group of nurses from a variety of nursing schools in the Los Angeles area that have now been closed. With the transfer of ownership in these hospitals, we discovered that our archives were being thrown away to make room for new projects. Our goal is to prevent these treasures from disappearing.

In addition to Azusa Pacific University, the following hospitals and school are partnering with us on this project: California Hospital, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, Queen of Angels, Pasadena City College, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Good Samaritan, Methodist Hospital, County General Hospital of Los Angeles, and Huntington Memorial Hospital. However, this is only a start; there are many more in California and throughout the greater United States that we’d love to see get involved.

The California Hospital School of Nursing in downtown Los Angeles has an active alumni chapter and a small room used for nursing archive display purposes. They have been working with an archival specialist to preserve their wonderful collection. This has been the first group to donate their collection to WCNH. You may view their collection here on this website.

They also recently started an oral history program to capture memories before they are gone. They are collecting stories by way of written questionnaires, and audio and video recordings. Margaret Souza, secretary, has provided us an interviewing questionnaire. Please use it for collecting information from your own constituents.

Thanks to Phyllis Esslinger, president, the Huntington Memorial Hospital now has a beautiful hallway display to commemorate its nursing history. WCNH also currently has a small display outside the School of Nursing at Azusa Pacific University. We have received a donation from Kaiser Permanente to launch this project, and Azusa Pacific University has promised us more space on its campus.

We are grateful to other individuals from the community who have also contributed to this effort. For example, we recently acquired the office furniture from a nurse and midwife. One nurse sent the glass syringes she received upon graduation, and another, a daily diary of her experience at school. These precious treasures have become part of our history and legacy and we desire to continue working diligently to preserve more like them.

Our hope for this project is simply to save our history. We want to tell our stories and foster a place for others to share theirs. In the future, we hope to become an archival center for research, build an archival lab, and develop a PhD program for nursing history. We are already on our way with a wonderful group of nurses, archival consultants, supportive family, and gracious friends.

Now, we need you! We are seeking financial assistance, items/information from nursing schools and careers, and input/support from friends, students, and other nurses who share a similar goal of preserving this rich history. If you would like to help, please fill out our online giving form.

Thank you and best wishes,

Diane Harris-Hara, RN
Vice President

Contact Information


Azusa Pacific University
Monrovia Regional Campus
606 E. Huntington Dr.
Monrovia, CA 91016-3637