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Elizabeth Marie Bear Papers

Identifier: 2022-094

Scope and Contents

The Elizabeth Marie Bear Collection consists of materials assembled by Bear throughout her career. Particular strengths here include correspondence with social anthropologist Esther Lucile Brown in addition to a taped interview with Brown, the subject of Bear's doctoral dissertation. Also present are letters and other items of her colleague and fellow nurse Martha Beth Hicks. Materials from two organizations – the Frontier Nursing Service and the Penn Center of St. Helena Island, South Carolina, a historic African-American cultural and educational institution – are represented. These primarily include photographs and artifacts.

Additional materials collected by Dr. Bear are archived at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, College of Charleston, 125 Bull Street, Charleston, South Carolina, 29424, ( [Addresses current as of November 2014.]


  • Creation: 1946-2014

Biographical / Historical

Elizabeth Marie Bear (1933- ) obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with honors in July 1956 from the University of California at Berkeley. She pursued a Master of Science in Nursing at Wayne State University, Detroit, receiving this degree in 1959. The Catholic Maternity Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico certified her as a nurse-midwife in 1966, and in 1986 she earned a doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Texas. In addition to six-years' practice as a labor and delivery staff nurse at the University of California San Francisco – begun immediately after completion of her Masters degree – Bear concurrently served as an instructor at the University of Florida College of Nursing. She held the chairmanship of the Maternal Child Nursing Program at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing from 1966 to 1972, then moved to the University of Kentucky College of Nursing to become the coordinator of the Certified Nurse Midwife program, holding this position until 1987. That year she joined the faculty of the College of Nursing at the Medical University of South Carolina, where she also coordinated the Certified Nurse Midwife program until her retirement in 1998.

Among the many instances of professional recognition Dr. Bear has received over her career are the U.NM. College of Nursing Professor of the Year Award for the 1969 academic year, Outstanding Educators in America for 1975, Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society membership in 1979, and induction as a Fellow of the American College of Nurse-Midwives in 1994. In the 1990s, she served as principal investigator for a number of grant-funded projects concerning nurse-midwifery and education, in addition to obtaining a place on the editorial Board of Advanced Practice Nursing Quarterly, a seat she still holds. She is recognized internationally for numerous paper presentations and publications on maternal/child health care, as well as an array of consultation projects, and professional, university, and community service activities.


1.25 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



(b. 1933) Maternal Child Nursing professor, Certified Nurse Midwife program. Materials from throughout her academic career at the University of New Mexico, University of Kentucky, and Medical University of South Carolina Schools of Nursing; especially items concerning social anthropologist Martha Beth Hicks. Frontier Nursing Service and Penn Center of Saint Helena Island, South Carolina are represented.


The Bear Collection is arranged by subject, in general alphabetically. Within folders the organization is chronological. Frontier Nursing Service materials are grouped separately.

Papers of Elizabeth Marie Bear
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