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Myrtle Kitchell Aydelotte papers

Identifier: IWA0036

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Scope and Contents

The Myrtle K. Aydelotte papers date from 1934 to 2001 and measure 21 linear feet. The papers are arranged in eight series: Personal, Advising and consulting, Conferences, Employment, Professional associations, Professional correspondence, Research, and Photographs.

The Personal series is devided into nine subseries: activities and interests, biographical, correspondence, education at the University of Minnesota, education at the State University of Iowa (not the University of Iowa), education at Stanford University, education, honors and awards, and gifts. The activities and interests subseries contains information about various associations she was involved with during her time at school, as a nurse, and as a professional teacher. The biographical subseries has autobiographies of Myrtle Aydelotte and her husband William Aydelotte as well as newspaper clippings and rememberances of Aydelotte's time in the army. The correspondence subseries focuses on her personal correspondence with friends and family. The four education subseries contain class notes from her time both as a student and a nursing professor. The honors and awards subseries includes the honors she recieved from 1949 all the way to 2001. The gifts subseries focuses on gifts she revieved and gave to various institutions.

The Advising and consulting series (1950-2001 and undated) consists of correspondence and Aydelotte's notes resulting from her many consulting positions. This series documents Aydelotte's independent consulting visits as well as the advisory and editorial boards on which she served.

The Conferences series (1949-1996 and undated) mainly consists of papers Aydelotte gave at conferences, workshops, and seminars during her career. The correspondence related to the events is also included.

The Employment series (1945 -1996 and undated) is divided into four main subseries: Army, State University of Iowa College of Nursing, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and Veteran's Administration. These subseries contain Aydelotte's administrative papers, committee materials, and other materials which relate to her four main places of employment.

The Professional associations series (1950-1999 and undated) includes the records pertaining to her involvement in professional organizations. The three most prominently represented here are the American Nurses Association, the National League for Nursing, and Sigma Theta Tau.

The Professional correspondence series (1957-2000 and undated) includes all the correspondence that Aydelotte specifically labeled as professional. Additional correspondence can be found throughout the collection.

The Research series (1951-1998 and undated) contains papers Aydelotte wrote for publication and her notes and drafts from her large research studies. Correspondence with publishers, editors, and co-authors is interfiled with the publications in this series.

The Photographs series (1976-1990 and undated) contains photographs of Aydelotte with other nurses and one undated portrait. Several of the photographs are of early graduating classes of the University of Iowa College of Nursing.


  • Creation: 1934-2001


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

However, copyright status for some collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge the Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Myrtle Elizabeth Kitchell, nursing leader and innovator, was born in Van Meter, Iowa, on May 31, 1917. Graduating high school at the age of sixteen, she took a year off and then entered a five-year baccalaureate nursing program at the University of Minnesota. She received her B.A. in nursing education in 1939. After obtaining her degree, Kitchell worked as Head Nurse at the Charles T. Miller Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, from 1939 to 1941. From 1941 to 1942 Kitchell was a surgical teaching supervisor at St. Mary's Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kitchell entered the Army Nurse Corps as an assistant chief nurse, a captain, at the 26th General Hospital in North Africa from 1942 to 1945, and, in 1945, she was chief nurse at the 52nd Station Hospital in Italy. After the war, Kitchell returned to the University of Minnesota to work on a master's degree in education and to serve as an instructor at the School of Nursing. She received her degree in 1948. From 1949 to 1957, Kitchell was the Director and Dean of the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) College of Nursing. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Educational Psychology in 1955 from the University of Minnesota.

In 1956, Myrtle Kitchell married William O. Aydelotte, then the Chairman of the History Department at the State University of Iowa. They had two children, Marie in 1957, and Jeanette in 1959.

Aydelotte was a professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing from 1957 to 1962; from 1963 to 1964, she was the associate chief nurse and chief nurse of nursing research at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Iowa City, Iowa. Aydelotte resumed her professorship at the University of Iowa College of Nursing from 1964 to 1976; from 1968 to 1976 she was the director of nursing for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

She retired from the University of Iowa in 1976. After 1976, Aydelotte held positions in the American Nurses Association and the Center for Nursing Innovations. She also held visiting professorships at the University of Illinois College of Nursing and at Yale University.

Aydelotte wrote and published prolifically. She is considered a national authority on societal change and its effect on health care delivery. Aydelotte has been a member of the National League for Nursing; the American Nurses Association; Sigma Theta Tau, the international honorary for nursing; as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She has also been involved with the Iowa Citizens' League for Nursing, the Iowa Hospital Association, and the Iowa Nurses Association.


21.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Professor of nursing,1957-1976, dean of the College of Nursing, 1949-1957, and director of nursing for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics,1968-1976.


The 2004 accession is shelved in boxes 47-50.The total number of boxes in the collection is 52.

Method of Acquisition

The papers (donor no. 37) were donated by Myrtle K. Aydelotte in 1996 and subsequent years.

Related Materials

The William O. Aydelotte papers (University of Iowa Archives, University of Iowa): William Aydelotte was Myrtle Aydelotte's husband.

Neumann, Tali, "The Administrations of Marie E. Tenor, Helen F. Watters, Myrtle Kitchell Aydelotte, and Mary E. Fuller: Four Directors of Nursing Service, The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics 1949-1979." M.A. Thesis, University of Iowa College of Nursing, 1987. (Housed in Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, University of Iowa - T1987 N492)

Robnett, Michelle Kearns, "The Growth of a Nursing Leader: Myrtle Kitchell Aydelotte" M.A. Thesis, University of Iowa College of Nursing, 1986. (Housed in the Iowa Women's Archives printed works collection - T1986 R666)

"Education for Nursing: A History of the University of Minnesota School" [shelved in the printed works collection RT81.M6 G7 1960]

Kristen Rassbach, 1997.
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Repository Details

Part of the Iowa Women's Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)