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Thelma Shobe Cook Papers

Identifier: 2022-098

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of personal papers, images and ephemera related to Thelma Shobe Cook’s career. The majority of the collection consists of the correspondence, documents and publications surrounding the establishment of the Thelma Shobe Cook Endowed Chair in Ethical Spiritual Dimensions of Nursing Practice.

Additions: This collection consists of the contents of one scrapbook and an autobiographical book. The scrapbook contained correspondence from and to Cook from colleagues regarding the creation of the Thelma Shobe Endowment Lectureship at University of California San Francisco School of Nursing and a corresponding website created by Patricia Brenner, R. N. Ph.D., FAAN, Thelma Shobe Endowed Chair and Lectureship in Ethics and Spirituality. Cook was instrumental in every stage of planning from the mission statement to the finances and the University of California San Francisco Foundation Endowed Fund Agreement. The lecture Spirituality, Ethics, Medicine: Uneasy Partners was given by Margaret Mohrmann, MD. PhD. Also in this collection are various media articles and photos regarding Shobe and her husband, Monford Cook regarding their donations to the University of California San Francisco, School of Nursing. The scrapbook represents the years 2005 to 2007 and the various activities that Thelma Shobe Cook was involved in especially the Lectureship at the UCSF School of Nursing. The scrapbook mainly consists of correspondence was illustrates not only how involved Cook remained in every aspect and stage of planning but also how thoughtful she was of people involved in the project and thorough she was to details. The scrapbook concludes with information about Shobe Cook’s attendance at the schools Alumni Centennial April 28th, 2007 and her induction into the Wall of Fame. This collection also contains a book written by Cook called Smoother Pebbles and Prettier Shells: A Spiritual Odyssey which is both an autobiographical account of her life and an explanation of her Christian beliefs.


  • Creation: 1948-2004

Biographical / Historical

Thelma Shobe Cook was born March 27, 1924 in Visalia, California. She received her nursing diploma from St. Luke’s School of Nursing in the Mission District of San Francisco and graduated August 31, 1951. After graduation she entered the University of California, Berkeley and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing on August 2, 1952. She received her certificate of Public Health Nursing on May 26, 1953. Ms. Cook began her career in February of 1953 as the Alameda County Health Department Public Health Nurse. In 1958 she was promoted to supervising Public Health Nurse. Thelma Shobe Cook earned her master of Public Health in 1964 from the University of California School of Public Health at Berkeley. In the Spring of 1965 she went to work for the Oakland Unified School district as the school nurse and worked there until she retired in 1979.

After retirement Thelma Shobe Cook worked to establish the an endowed chair in Ethical Spiritual Dimensions of Nursing Practice at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. In her words

“I belong to no religious organization and I espouse no orthodoxy. I do believe, however, that man is more than flesh and bones; illness may be/can be a spiritual crisis; recovery may be/can be a spiritual journey.”


1.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



(b. 1924) Public health nurse in the San Francisco area, 1953–1979. Includes materials on her work to establish an endowed chair in "Ethical Spiritual Dimensions of Nursing Practice" at the University of California San Francisco.


The Thelma Shobe Cook Papers have been arranged in one series, chronologically as presented by the donor.

Additions: This collection consisted of a scrapbook and a book. I dismantled the scrapbook and took the leaves out of the plastic covers but kept the scrapbook in its original order. The dates were not in exact chronological order but Thelma Shobe Cook was the creator of the scrapbook and her intentions were preserved by this type of organization. Therefore the scrapbook makes up first four folders of the collection. Mixed up in each of these four folders are correspondence, photos, drafts of website construction, drafts and final copies of content on the website and presentations delivered at the Shobe Endowed Lectureship on March 22, 2007 at UCSF School of Nursing. The last folder contains the book Smoother Pebbles and Prettier Shells: A Spiritual Odyssey 127 pgs which I took out of the plastic binding.

Thelma Shobe Cook Papers
Betsy Johnson-Whitten
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2007: Additions processed by Maureen Spokes

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