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Acknowledgments When I made the transition from a history teacher to a nurse, during the mid-1970s, I did so with what I now realize were only hazy notions of what this change would involve. But once tied to the professional aspirations of nursing, by my own ambitions and academic credentials, my first inclination was that my research would help to fan the flame of righteous indignation about nursing’s long history of struggle and exploitation. In so doing, I understood that I might help nursing to advance another step further toward the elusive goal of an undisputed, full professional status. After all, most of what I read and heard reinforced the “facts” of nursing’s historical trials and tribulations. And so, with a crusader’s zeal and a dogeared copy of Jo Ann Ashley’s classic essay on exploitation and early nursing (Hospitals, Paternalism and the Role of the Nurse [New York: Teachers College Press, 1976]), I set out to express my allegiance, albeit in scholarly terms, to nursing’s professional destiny. Gradually, however, I began to realize the obvious, that what I found might not fit my preconceptions. I am especially grateful to those individuals who gave me the courage to challenge familiar ways of thinking and to complete this book. My deepest thanks to Bill Lewis, for his steadfast companionship and unfailing patience in reviewing my work; Jeff Stewart, for his generous insights and for always urging me forward; Floris King, for believing in the promise of this undertaking from the beginning; Diane Kjervik, for her wisdom and belief in empowerment; Steve Ruggles, Matt Sobek, and the members of the Social History Research Laboratory for sharing their experience and skill in quantitative analysis; John Eyler, for always listening and inspiring; Debbie Miller and the staff of the Minnesota Historical Society for their enthusiastic support; and Sharon Aadalen, for her foresight in preserving many of the records on which this study is based. —Tom Olson xiii Olson_FM_3rd.qxd 1/13/2004 2:19 PM Page xiii The history of working people in the United States deserves careful readings of primary materials such as those provided in the records of St. Luke’s. Historians do the best we can with what evidence survives, but we always wish there were more. It was thrilling to see Tom Olson uncover these “new” records that so much improve our understanding of what it meant to be a young working woman in early-twentieth-century Minnesota and in the early field of trained nursing. I am grateful to Tom Olson for inviting me to join him in this project. It bodes well for scholarship when colleagues from different academic fields find they share common intellectual ground and can enhance each other’s work. —Eileen Walsh We are very grateful for the financial support of the following organizations : Sigma Theta Tau International; the University of Minnesota; Zeta and Gamma Psi Chapters of Sigma Theta Tau International; the American Nurses Foundation (Council on Graduate Education for Administration in Nursing Scholar); the University of Hawaii at Manoa; and the Minnesota Historical Society. Most of all, we are indebted to the women of St. Luke’s, both those to whom we were able to speak in person, as well as to those whom we came to know through the records that they left behind. Alternately perplexing, humorous, somber, and inspiring, we could not have asked for better company in this journey of discovery. Nor could we ever thank them enough for their profound teaching about the enduring traditions that lie at the heart of nursing. xiv Acknowledgments Olson_FM_3rd.qxd 1/13/2004 2:19 PM Page xiv ...


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