Watts School of Nursing Records, 1975-2013

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Summary

Creator:
Watts School of Nursing.
Abstract:
Watts School of Nursing (SON), formerly Watts Hospital Training School for Nurses, is North Carolina's oldest nursing school, established by George W. Watts in 1895. In 2019, Watts SON became Watts College of Nursing and their long-standing diploma program transitioned to a baccalaureate program in January 2020. Types of materials include nursing student composites, photographs of Watts Hospital, and a certificate. Materials date from 1975 to 2013.
Extent:
5.5 Linear Feet (3 flat boxes, 5 map folders)
Collection ID:
AR.0162

Background

Scope and content:

Contains nursing student composites, photographs of Watts Hospital, and a certificate pertaining to Durham's Watts School of Nursing. Materials date from 1975 to 2013.

Biographical / historical:

Watts Hospital was established by George W. Watts in 1895 in Durham, North Carolina. The hospital was built on a four-acre tract of land at the intersection of Guess Road (now Buchanan Boulevard) and Main Street. The 22-bed hospital consisted of a central administrative building flanked by two patient wings, one for men and one for women. Laundry and autopsy rooms were housed in the hospital's basement. In 1895, Watts donated the hospital, along with an endowment of $50,000, to Durham County. Watts Hospital operated as a private segregated hospital that served only Durham's white citizens, with many of its beds reserved for charity patients. Central to the mission of Watts Hospital was nursing education. Watts Hospital Training School for Nurses began in 1895 as a two-year diploma program, its first graduate receiving her nursing degree in 1897.
In 1907, George W. Watts decided to build a new Watts Hospital on a 56-acre tract of land north of Trinity College of off Durham's New Macadam Road (later Broad Street) to accommodate Durham's growing population. The new hospital opened in December 1909 and cost a million dollars (half for the building and half for an endowment). During World War I, several Watts Hospital nurses volunteered for overseas military service. In 1926 the hospital was enlarged with the Valinda Beale Watts Pavilion. In 1931, the hospital opened an outpatient clinic, free to charity patients except for laboratory fees. In the 1930s and 1940s, financial strain resulted in more crowded conditions in the hospital and overwork and underpay for the employees. Watts Hospital became public in 1953. In 1956, Watts Hospital Training School for Nurses became the first diploma program in North Carolina to achieve National League for Nursing accreditation.
By the early 1960s, Watts Hospital was overcrowded and outdated, while Durham's African American Hospital, Lincoln Hospital, was even more ill-equipped to meet local health care needs. At this time, African Americans were admitted to Watts Hospital on a limited basis and a plan to build a new integrated Watts Hospital was proposed. This proposal was ultimately defeated by both Durham's African American citizens, who feared that the plan would not adequately meet their needs and that they would lose Lincoln Hospital, and by Durham's white citizens, who feared integration. Watts Hospital closed in 1976 when Durham County General Hospital opened. At this time, Watts Hospital Training School for Nurses moved to Durham Regional Hospital and was renamed Watts School of Nursing (SON), becoming part of the Duke University Health System.
In 1980, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics opened on the grounds of Watts Hospital's 1909 campus. In 2004 Watts SON developed an articulation agreement with the University of Mount Olive, which ended in 2019. In 2007 Watts SON was relocated to a facility on Coasdaile Drive in Durham, North Carolina. In 2019, Watts SON became Watts College of Nursing and their long-standing diploma program transitioned to a baccalaureate program in January 2020.

Acquisition information:
Accession A2019.064 (transferred by Peggy Walters, July 2019)
Processing information:

Processed by Archives intern Caroline Waller under the supervision of Lucy Waldrop: July 2019

Arrangement:
Organized into the following series: Records, 1975-2013.
Rules or conventions:
DACS

Subjects

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Corporate Name(s):
Watts Hospital (Durham, N.C.)
Watts School of Nursing
Topical Term(s):
History of Nursing.
Nursing.
Education, Nursing.

Contents

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Restrictions:

None.

Terms of access:

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Watts School of Nursing Records, Duke University Medical Center Archives.