:: Nightingale Club Records

Summary and Significance

The origins of the Nightingale Club date to the onset of the great Influenza Epidemic of 1918/1919. When influenza began to strike the migrant labor families of the Coachella Valley, Dr. Florella M. White of Palm Springs asked for the help of married nurses in Riverside. Once married, nurses of that era were no longer employable, so they made ideal health volunteers. Five Riverside residents responded to Dr. White's call and, in a makeshift cottage hospital, nursed patients back to health. By the time the nurses returned to Riverside, the influenza epidemic had struck the city, particularly the dormitories of Sherman Institute and the barracks at March Field. Again the nurses' talents were put to good use nursing the sick at a makeshift hospital on 12th and Chestnut Streets.

From the experience of the epidemic, several of the married nurses were determined to find a way to permanently contribute their skills to the community. In 1921 these women sponsored a Better Baby Contest at Riverside's Southern California Fair, in order to promote infant and child health practices and screen children for health problems. On 7 November 1921, they formally organized as an auxiliary of the Riverside County Clinic under the name of the Well-Babies Conference. For several years thereafter, this group ran children's health clinics at the Southern California Fair.

The Well-Babies Conference changed its name to the Married Graduate Nurses Conference on 9 January 1922, and then to the Married Nurses Club by the end of the same year. Its present name, the Nightingale Club, was finally adopted on 4 June 1923. Originally, membership was limited to 25 married nurses residing in the City of Riverside, but during the subsequent decades, the membership rules were broadened. By 1970, the number of members increased to 40, and nurses living in the vicinity of Riverside were also eligible for membership. On 20 March 1978 the Club voted to do away with any arbitrary cap on its membership. Thus, unmarried nurses have been eligible for membership since 16 April 1973.

In the early years, the Club continued to supply nursing talent during health crises such as the Long Beach Earthquake of 1933 and the local polio epidemic of 1934. But as married nurses became more acceptable in the workplace, the Clubs' activities became increasingly educational and social. Since 1962, the Club has concentrated its efforts on providing nursing scholarships, primarily at Riverside Community College and the Stella Maris Nursing School in Zacapu, Mexico.

Besides documenting the activities of the Nightingale Club itself, these records provide incidental information on the local health and social service agencies with which the Club has cooperated in the past. They also shed light on the history of public health services in Riverside County.


Processing included replacement of all base metal clips and staples with vinyl-covered clips. The whole collection was transferred into acid-free storage containers. Newsprint clippings and records on foolscap paper were recopied onto acid-free bond.


Held in the Riverside Local History Resource Center at the Main Library.

Only loose items physically separated from the Club's minutes were placed in series folders. All reports, correspondence, roll call rosters, etc. interfiled with the minutes were left in situ. See also folder marked Processing Notes at the end of the Collection.

Brief List for the Nightingale Club Records

Box I

Folder 1, Constitution and By-laws, 1922-1988, (8 items)

Folder 2, History and List of Presidents, 1962-1972?, (3 items)

Folder 3, Membership Lists, 1978-1981, (16 items)

Folder 4, Agenda and Introductions, 1979-1981, (5 items)

Folder 5, Correspondence, Incoming, 1961-1981, (25 items)

Folder 6, Correspondence, Outgoing, 1967-1970, (3 items)

Folder 7, Gift Acknowledgments, Receipts, etc., 1970-1981, (4 items)

Folder 8, Committee Materials, 1979-1980, (4 items)

Folder 9, Hostesses Schedules, 1979-1981, (5 items)

Folder 10, Scholarship Materials, 1971-1988, (4 items)

Folder 11, Obituaries and Death Lists, 1979-1980, (3 items)

Folder 12, Brochures from Social Service Agencies, 1924-1980, (9 items)

Folder 13, Newspaper Clippings, 1921-1979, (8 items)

Folder 13a, Newspaper Clippings on Acid-Free Bond, same as Folder 13

Folder 14, Miscellaneous, 1967-1980?, (8 items)

Box II

(All minutes are in chronological order.)

Minutes, 7 November 1921 to 18 June 1923
  • In black "composition book" with paper covers. "Proposed Constitution" filed after 6 February 1922 minutes. Annual report interfiled after 6 November 1922 minutes. Dues payment ledgers and two alphabetical lists of Riverside civic leaders and prominent businesses, together with their addresses, are at back.
Minutes, 4 June 1923 to 12 December 1932
  • In three-ring binder with black leather cover. Photo of Well-Baby Contest mounted within minutes of October 1923 meeting. Dues payment ledgers and membership lists interfiled.
Minutes, 16 June 1933 to 20 December 1943
  • In three-ring binder with black leather cover. Membership lists, treasurer's reports, and some correspondence interfiled.
Minutes, 17 January 1944 to 17 September 1951
  • In three-ring binder with black leather cover. Membership lists and roll call rosters interfiled.
Minutes, 15 October 1951 to 15 June 1953
  • Loose sheets in folder. Annual reports, membership lists, and roll call rosters interfiled and at back. (Some water damage.)
Minutes, 21 September 1953 to 19 June 1967
  • Loose sheets in folder. Annual reports and roll call rosters interfiled and at back.
Minutes, 16 September 1967 to 20 December 1976
  • Loose sheets in folder. Roll call rosters and "hostesses" lists interfiled and at back.
Minutes, 21 February 1977 to 20 June 1983
  • In three-ring binder with brown, leatherette, zippered cover stamped in gold "Nightingale Club." Roll call rosters interfiled.
Minutes, 19 September 1983 to 16 December 1985
  • Loose sheets in folder. Roll call rosters interfiled.
Minutes, 20 January 1986 to 15 June 1987
  • Loose sheet in folder. Roll call rosters interfiled.
Minutes, 21 September 1987 to 15 June 1992
  • In three-ring binder with blue plastic cover.
Minutes, 20 September 1992 to 15 June 1998
  • In three-ring binder with black plastic cover.
Memo Book I
  • Treasurer's reports, 1936-1950;
  • Roll call rosters, 1941-1947;
  • Dues payment ledgers, 1937-1940.
  • Pocket memo book with black leatherette cover.
Memo Book II
  • Roll call rosters, 1940-1941;
  • Dues payments ledgers, 1940-1942;
  • Treasurer's monthly reports, 1940-1941.
  • Pocket memo book with red leatherette cover.
Memo Book III
  • Treasurer's report to "Charity Tree Board," 1936-1944;
  • Miscellaneous membership and dues payment ledgers, 1937-1947.
  • Pocket memo book with black leatherette cover.
Memo Book IV
  • "Nightingale Club Services," 1953-1978.
  • Lists community services performed by Club.
  • Spiral bound notebook with red paper cover.
Memo Book V
  • "Scholarship Students," 1962-1975.
  • Lists student nurses receiving Club scholarships.
  • Pocket-sized spiral bound notebook with red paper cover.

Local History