black & white photo of painting

Nursing quarters, in a nurse’s words

“The head nurses slept in the little sitting rooms between the wards, on folding cots with cane bottoms, the bed clothes and mattresses being kept in the closet. As many of the assistant nurses as there was room for slept in The Brick [a separate ward building built in 1855]. The remainder of the nurses slept in the attic of the main Hospital, three in a room. Our room overlooked Blossom Street, and whenever the fire bell, which was just across the street, rang, we were wakened until we learned to sleep through the noise.”

Mary E.P. Davis, cofounder of the American Journal of Nursing, describing her years as a student nurse at MGH in the late 1870s