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On June 3, 1892, the Alumnae Association of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses was incorporated by graduates of the school’s first two classes. Isabel Hampton Robb, the school’s founding superintendent, guided the association’s early formation. It became the third nursing school alumni association to organize in the United States. As stated in its constitution, the objective of the association was “the promotion of unity and good feeling among the Alumnae, and the advancement of the interest of the profession of Nursing, and of providing a home for its members, and making provision for them if ill or disabled.” They adopted “Vigilando” as their motto and produced a Maltese cross badge in blue and black enamel on a background of gold with the letters JHH. Read More >

During the association’s first year of operation, members established a building fund and a sick benefit fund, which provided interest-free loans for members. The association ran a registry offering referrals of graduate nurses engaged in private duty nursing from 1896 to 1946, and an hourly nursing service for people of moderate means from 1898 to 1924. At the suggestion of Mary Adelaide Nutting, second superintendent of the school, the association organized an Endowment Fund Committee in 1915 to raise money for nursing education at Johns Hopkins.

When Robb organized the Associated Alumnae of Trained Nurses of the United States and Canada in 1896, the Johns Hopkins alumnae voted to join the association, which ultimately became the American Nurses Association. Over the years, Johns Hopkins nursing alumni have played major roles in state, national, and international nursing professional organizations, including the American Red Cross.

From 1901 to 2003, the association published The Johns Hopkins Nurses Alumnae Magazine, later named Vigilando. The magazine included reports of meetings, news items related to nursing education and practice, and news notes from individual members. Alumni preserved an archive of the magazine, as well as important records and artifacts related to their history. In 1937, the association expanded these historical activities by sponsoring an oral history project related to Isabel Hampton Robb. Eventually the association funded the publication of two school histories: Ethel Johns and Blanche Pfefferkorn, The Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing 1889-1949; and Mame Warren, Our Shared Legacy: Nursing Education at Johns Hopkins, 1889-2006.

The name of the association evolved to represent the inclusion of the first male graduates in 1970 by changing alumnae to alumni. After the hospital-based nursing school closed in 1973 and a nursing education program began at the Johns Hopkins University School of Health Services, the association moved to incorporate with the Alumni Association of The Johns Hopkins University.

From the 1920s onward, the association advocated for their school’s affiliation with The Johns Hopkins University in order to offer degree-granting programs. After the closure of the hospital school, followed by the closure of the School of Health Services in 1979, alumni were more determined than ever to move forward in their effort to establish a university-based school of nursing. Through their commitment and collaboration with the Consortium for Nursing Education, Inc., which was funded by Johns Hopkins, Church Home, and Sinai hospitals, the alumni realized their vision of establishing a fully accredited baccalaureate degree program. The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing opened in 1984.

The Johns Hopkins Nurses Alumni Association expanded its membership as the school added graduate and post-graduate programs. In 1995, membership opened to nursing graduates of The Johns Hopkins University’s McCoy and Evening Colleges, and in 2004 to affiliate members from the Church Home and Hospital School of Nursing. The Johns Hopkins Nurses Alumni Association continues its commitment to the school and advocates for its ongoing success.

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Records of the Johns Hopkins Nurses Alumni Association

Records of Johns Hopkins Nurses Alumni Association document the activities of the alumni association as well its members as they supported their school and documented their history.

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