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Jo Ann Ashley MC 115

Biographical Sketch.

Jo Ann Ashley (b. 1939-d. 1980), nurse, author, and educator, was born and raised in Kentucky. She obtained, a nursing diploma from Kentucky Baptist College in 1961, a B.S. degree from Catherine Spaulding College (Louisville, KY) in 1964, and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York 1972. A highly regarded teacher and sought-after speaker, Ashley achieved national recognition with the publication of her book, Hospitals, Paternalism, and the Role of the Nurse (New York: Teachers College Press, 1976). This book, published at the height of the women's movement in the 1970s, created (and still engenders) controversy with its pointed condemnation of sexism towards and exploitation of nurses by hospital administrators and physicians. Ashley remained, almost to her death, a prolific writer, public speaker and lecturer on a variety of topics germane to nursing but she was particularly interested in the role of nursing within the health field, power in nursing, and nursing's historical perspective. A woman of almost boundless energy, Ashley also composed nearly three hundred poems. Much of Ashley's poetry reflected her interest in social thought and ideas on woman's role in society. Cancer tragically brought an abrupt end to her exceptionally productive career.


This collection spans Ashley's professional life, documenting both her educational and academic experiences. Also included is an extensive collection of her speeches, articles and research files documenting her association with various institutions. Included as well are correspondence, photographs, and audio-cassette tapes of Ashley's participation in talk shows, addresses and class discussions which reflected her interest in the role of nursing within the health field, power in nursing and nursing's historical perspective.

Series Description. This collection has been arranged into six series:

Series I. Personal, 1972-1980. This series contains curriculum vitae and "Steppingstones of Life" which outlines Ashley's activities from birth (1939) to 1976, as well as personal correspondence relating to faculty positions, cards and letters from friends and family, and letters in which Ashley expresses her thoughts and feelings about health, life and death to a friend.

Series II. Academic and Professional Affiliations, 1966-1980. This series is of papers accumulated in the period when Ashley studied or worked at Columbia University, New York and finally, at West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia. Included are class notes, teaching notes, masters thesis and dissertation. Folders marked with an asterisk (*) are restricted and closed to research.

Series III. Addresses and Publications, 1972-1980. Included in this series are the large number of addresses Ashley presented on various occasions, journal articles, and her bibliographical notes on specific subjects (spanning the years 1896-1979) relating to her major field. Also, found here is correspondence referring to the publication of Ashley's book Hospitals, Paternalism and the Role of the Nurse, and comments to Ashley on her published articles and book.


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