The Daughters of Charity were extensively involved in many hospitals over the years, dating back to 1823 in answer to a call to staff the Baltimore Infirmary. The predecessor Provinces that combined in 2011 to form our current Province of St. Louise sponsored and/or operated many hospitals stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Coast.
In the 1950s and ‘60s, almost every hospital the Daughters owned or operated began publishing a newsletter, which documented some of the special events, major changes, and goings-on among doctors, staff, and administrators. Essentially, they functioned as the newspapers of the hospitals and, as such, contained information that is valuable both to scholars and to general researchers.
For example, the News Notes of Providence Hospital provides a chronicle of the Hospital’s move from Detroit to Southfield, Michigan over the course of 1964 and 65.
In February 1985, the Lifeline, out of Seton Medical Center in Austin, reported on the Hospital and its service during and after a rare Texas snowstorm, providing a resource to a specific event in the history of Central Texas as it related to the hospital.
The Esprit de Corps out of Hotel Dieu in New Orleans made sure to list every new student in the Hotel Dieu School of Nursing in 1948 – one of the earliest newsletters from any of the hospitals. For those researching a parent, aunt, or grandparent who attended the school, these newsletters continue to provide an opportunity for more information or photographs.
For those with family members who worked at the hospitals, these newsletters often mention or profile staff members, particularly those who were there for extended periods of time.
Currently, the newsletters are available on-site, but not yet available in digitized form. However, they can easily be searched by staff with a location and a year range provided by the researcher.