Vashti Bartlett A Hopkins Nurseon a Global Mission
Vashti Bartlett's travels
There are many hospitals on that desolate coast — not palaces for pain such as one sees in these great cities ....—V.B.

ashti Bartlett first embarked on foreign service when she joined Dr. Wilfred Grenfell's Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen and traveled to Newfoundland where she served on the staff of the mission's hospital in St. Anthony. The purpose of the mission was to care for the native population and the fishermen and their families who had settled along the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. In this remote and impoverished area, battered by harsh climatic conditions, the Grenfell mission offered the only means of health care. The intention was to quell the rise of alcoholism, to provide primary health care, and to teach modes of hygiene and prevention of illness to the semiliterate population. During the first quarter of the twentieth century, Grenfell made numerous trips to Johns Hopkins where he recruited students, physicians, and nurses such as Bartlett to staff the mission hospitals.

Bartlett wearing parka
Bartlett with sled dogs.

View of St. Johns Harbor, Newfoundland
The harbor at St. Johns, Newfoundland.

Selections from Bartlett's writings on her nursing work in Newfoundland

[The trip to Newfoundland] ...seemed a most terrible undertaking to my family and friends and it was with some little wonder myself as to what was before me that I said good-by and left New York (on May 13, 1908) on the Red Cross Line steamer, Rosalind...

There are many hospitals on that desolate coast —not palaces for pain such as one sees in these great cities but humble wood buildings where a qualified doctor and trained nurse reside. Needless to say the patients come often from very long distances in their boats in Summer or in dog-sleighs in Winter.

For the first three years it was largely a question of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. Within the more than thirty years he [Doctor Wilfred Grenfell] has worked there he has effected a revolution so complete that it seems like a Miracle. He has build [sic] hospitals, orphanages and saw mills, and workshops…and has launches attached to the land hospitals for the conveyance of patients to and fro, since there are no roads.

St. Anthony's Mission Hospital

St. Anthony's Mission Hospital, Newfoundland, where Vashti Bartlett served on the staff.


Bartlett going for a ride.


V A S H T I . ..B A R T L E T T . ..E X H I B I T