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Teresa E. Christy Papers

Identifier: RG99.0292

Scope and Contents

The Teresa E. Christy papers document her professional career as professor of nursing history. These papers include correspondence, off-prints, book reviews, speeches, and drafts of her papers from college courses as well as for journal publication. They are divided into the following series: Biographical, Writings, Committees


  • 1961-1981


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Teresa Elisabeth Christy was born March 31,1927, in Brooklyn, New York. When she was a child her family moved to Cambria Heights, New York, where she graduated from Andrew Jackson High School. At age 13, Christy received the American Legion medal for accomplishments in history studies. She received her B.S. degree in nursing in 1949 from the Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in Purchase, New York. From 1947 to 1950, Christy worked as a staff nurse in an operating room and in a delivery room at two New York hospitals. She was a nursing instructor at St. Joseph School of Nursing in Joliet, Illinois, from 1950 to 1960. She received her M.S. degree in 1957 from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Christy returned to New York in 1960 and served as assistant professor in the Department of Nursing at Molloy College. She was named head of that department in 1963. In 1965 she was the recipient of the Clara Hardin Fellowship for doctoral study in nursing, a national competition. In 1966, Christy served as research assistant to Dr. Mildred L. Montag at Columbia University Teachers College, where she compiled reports on the evaluation of the Community College nursing programs that Montag established just eight years earlier. Christy received her Ed. D. degree in 1968 from Columbia University, with her dissertation, "A History of the Division of Nursing Education of Teachers College, Columbia University, 1899-1947," which was published in 1969 as Cornerstone for Nursing Education. She served on the faculty at Columbia College from 1968 to 1970. During that time Christy was under contract with the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) to write a history of nursing. This was accomplished through interviews of nursing leaders and through review of Bureau of Health files and other research. The result was her Nursing Leaders series, published in Nursing Outlook.

In 1970, Christy was named associate professor of nursing and director of the graduate program in Medical-Surgical Nursing at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. In her May 1974 letter of resignation to Adelphi University administrators, she explained that by joining the faculty of the University of Iowa College of Nursing, "I can work solely in my area of major interest -- research, writing and teaching in the History of Nursing." At the University of Iowa, Christy was promoted from associate professor to full professor in 1975.

Christy was chair of the Committee on the Status of Women Faculty at Adelphi University in the early 1970s. During this period she also wrote about the Equal Rights Amendment and presented on the Women's Liberation Movement. At Teachers College, Columbia University, Christy served on a committee to preserve the nursing archives.

Christy was considered an expert on the history of nursing. She was the founder of the International History of Nursing Society, later named the American Association for the History of Nursing. She delivered 139 lectures nationwide and published more than twenty papers in nursing journals. She was a member of Pi Lambda Theta, Kappa Delta Pi, Sigma Theta Tau, the American Public Health Association, American Nurses Association, and National League for Nursing. In 1976 she received the Centennial Scholar Award from Johns Hopkins University. In 1979 she was named a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Teresa E. Christy died April 3, 1982. The American Association for the History of Nursing established an annual fellowship in her honor. The University of Iowa Foundation established the Teresa E. Christy Nursing History Research Fund, used to maintain The History of Nursing Microfiche Edition at Teachers College, Columbia University, and to support doctoral students conducting historical research in nursing.


8.00 linear feet


Nursing historian and educator. Correspondence, articles, speeches.

Method of Acquisition

Theses papers were donated to University Archives by Mary Patricia Donahue in August 1994. Guide posted to the Internet May 2009.

Related Materials

Folder, "Christy, Teresa E.," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

Records of the College of Nursing (RG16.0001.001)

Nursing resources in A Bibliography of the History of the University of Iowa.

Iowa Women's Archives Collections Related to Nurses and Nursing Education

Papers of Mary Patricia Donahue, Iowa Women's Archives (IWA0512)

Denise Anderson, May 2009
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242