Scope and Contents
Alice Burford Booth, R.N., was a member of the faculty at the Medical College of Virginia School of Nursing, and a specialist in psychiatric nursing. Her papers, presented to the Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry by her daughter, Patricia B. Woodard, R.N., include a variety of materials important to understanding mid-twentieth-century developments in the fields of mental health and mental health nursing, as well as strategies of nursing education. Booth assembled reference materials and notes concerning the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, as well as course outlines, examinations and assignments in the mid-1940s and again in the mid-1960s, when she returned to teaching after a hiatus to raise her family. Booth also collected a number of published documents, not only relative to mental health, but also concerning contraception and other medical issues, nursing education and accreditation, and informational materials on the region's major public psychiatric institutions. Course notes, examinations, and assignments by Booth herself, as a diploma student at the Medical College of Virginia School of Nursing in the early 1940s -- and later as a graduate student at the Payne-Whitney Clinic, Hunter College, and the Columbia University Teachers College -- offer views of general nursing education and certain psychiatric treatment modalities, such as pre-frontal lobotomy, electroshock therapy, and music therapy.
Biographical / Historical
Alice Constance (Burford) Booth (1920-2004), of Amherst, Virginia, completed high school in Nottoway County at the Blackstone College for Girls in 1940. She enrolled in the Medical College of Virginia (M.C.V.) School of Nursing diploma program, completing this in 1943, and over the next academic year earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at M.C.V., where she was also employed as head nurse of the hospital psychiatric unit. Booth subsequently undertook graduate work in New York City at the Payne-Whitney Clinic, Hunter College, and the Columbia University Teachers College. In 1945, she joined the faculty of M.C.V. as a clinical instructor in psychiatric nursing, advancing to assistant and associate professor before turning to private life at the end of the decade. In the mid-1960s, Booth resumed her career at M.C.V., and served as an instructor of psychiatric nursing for the Associate Degree program. When the Nursing School terminated the program in 1967, Booth transferred to the Student Health Service, where she remained until her retirement in 1982.