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Arlene Keeling Collection

Identifier: 2022-048

Scope and Contents

The Arlene W. Keeling collection contains a limited number of professional and personal materials assembled by Dr. Keeling over her career. These principally concern her coronary care time-in-bed-study research data, and interview transcripts relative to a history of coronary care nursing, 1962–1975, including items from the Bethany Hospital Coronary Care Unit (Kansas City, Kansas). Related items are cardiac nursing patient teaching materials, American Heart Association program materials, and American College of Cardiology brochures. Correspondence files and publication/presentation records illustrate Keeling's professional interests. A sizable collection of photographs documents various professional events, among them the University of Virginia Nursing School Centennial, as well as a trip to England for a nursing conference. Also included are copy photographs used in various publications, and two yearbooks from the Mountainside School of Nursing.

Of particular importance to nursing history researchers is a collection of original manuscript materials, prints, and photographs which Dr. Keeling acquired for use in Bjoring center exhibitions, presentations, and research projects. These include late-nineteenth to early-twentieth-century materials concerning nursing practice and medical treatments, including images of nurses, in addition to a group of original prescription orders made in 1893 and 1904 in Portland Maine. Military Nursing is represented in two Civil-War-era Sanitary Board Reports, and in a variety of World-War-One and World-War-Two-era items, including postcards, a poster, and newspaper articles. Other materials suitable for teaching the history of nursing round out the collection, including a variety of nineteenth and twentieth-century artifacts.


  • Creation: 1861-2006

Biographical / Historical

Arlene Wynbeek Keeling, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., emertia professor, held the Centennial Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of Virginia School of Nursing and was the Director of the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry. Dr. Keeling joined the faculty of the University of Virginia School of Nursing in 1992, becoming Associate Director of the Bjoring Center that year. Keeling was the chair of the School of Nursing's Acute and Specialty Care Department and the Coordinator of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program. A member of Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, Keeling has also served as president of the American Association for the History of Nursing.

Dr. Keeling graduated from Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing, in Montclair, New Jersey, and subsequently pursued her bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in nursing from the University of Virginia. Over the years, she perfected a specialty in acute coronary care nursing, and in this capacity undertook a series of major research studies involving recovery times after invasive cardiac procedures, published in "Applied Nursing Research" in 1994; "The American Journal of Critical Care" in 1996, 2000, and 2004; and in "Pacing Clinical Electrophysiology" in 2000. In addition to numerous other scientific topics, Dr. Keeling's research interests, publications, and presentations encompass nursing history and women's studies. Her book "Nursing and the Privilege of Prescription, 1893–2000" won the 2007 American Association for the History of Nursing Lavinia L. Dock award for exemplary historical research and writing. In 2010, Keeling published, with two faculty colleagues, Barbara Brodie and John Kirchgessner, "The Voice of Professional Nursing Education: A 40-year History of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing." And with Barbra Mann Wall, she served as co-editor and contributing author for "Nurses on the Front Line: When Disaster Strikes, 1878–2010," where she examined the 1918 influenza epidemic in Boston. The University Virginia Nursing Alumni Association awarded Dr. Keeling the Distinguished Professor Award in 2000 and the Faculty Leadership Award in 2005.


2.0 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Emerita Professor, University of Virginia School of Nursing; co-founder of the Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry. Includes coronary care nursing materials (1962-1975) and research data from "time-in–bed" study. Some items restricted. Also a significant collection of general nursing history materials, including 19th and early-20th century nursing practice and treatment materials, photographs, and artifacts. Original prescription orders from 1893 and 1904. Military nursing represented in Civil-War era sanitary reports, and items from the two world wars.


The collection is arranged in four a standard manuscript boxes, with references to artifact donations and oversize images shelved elsewhere. Box 01 containes materials concerning professional activities and research, organized by subject heading. Box 02 contains personal and professional photographs, as well as the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing yearbooks. Box 03 contains Keeling's nursing history collection, organized by subject heading or general identification. Box 04 contains the Coronary Care Unit Study materials: grant application, data analysis, bibliography and reprints, and, finally, the two folders of restricted items containing patient information.

Henry K. Sharp
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry Repository

University of Virginia School of Nursing
P.O. Box 800782
Charlottesville Virginia 22908-0782 United States