Nurse’s Cap Collection

The nurse’s cap originated in the early Christian Era as a head covering for deaconesses that cared for the sick. During the 1800’s, head coverings evolved into the more familiar white cap that was first used by Florence Nightingale. Around 1874, the Bellevue Training School in New York City adopted a special nursing cap to identify nurses who had graduated from Bellevue. Other nursing schools also developed unique caps as a way to identify the graduate nurse and her school of nursing. Visit the museum to see the different styles of nursing caps worn throughout the decades.

The Jewett Training School for Nurses in Brooklyn, NY nurse's cap
Jewett Training School for Nurses

Bushwick Hospital – The Jewett Training School for Nurses in Brooklyn, NY opened to educate nurses in 1891. The school was located within Bushwick Hospital and over time, the school frequently became referred to as Bushwick Hospital School of Nursing. After its time as Bushwick Hospital, the building became a nursing home and later a center for juveniles.

Long Island College Hospital School of Nursing nurse's cap
Long Island College Hospital School of Nursing

LICHSON, the Long Island College Hospital School of Nursing, is an honored contributor to the museum. The building ceased operations in 2014, after more than a century of serving the Brooklyn, NY community. Over the years, the school had graduated many young nurses.

This cap is loving made of organdy and worn forward on the head near at the hairline.

University of Massachusetts Nurse's Cap circa 1970
University of Massachusetts

Circa 1970s nursing cap from the University of Massachusetts. The black velvet band was applied upon graduation and K-Y jelly was used to secure the ribbon to the cap. Nurses are always so ingenious and creative in their problem solving.

Temple University Nurse's cap
Temple University

We received this lovely cap from Temple University 1978. It is in great shape and came with a Nurses Unit list tucked inside. The donor graduated from Temple University in 1978 with a BSN, one of the few BSN programs in the Philadelphia area. The school was called the Allied Health School.

Sharon Hospital School of Nursing

Located in northwestern Pennsylvania, Sharon Hospital School of Nursing is a historical program for educating young nurses. The Hospital-based program began educating nurses in 1899. The program continues today with expanded affiliations with Penn State, Slippery Rock both in Pennsylvania and Youngstown State in Ohio.

Due to the school’s early adoption of hospital hospital-based nursing programs, it utilized both the hospital courses with college-level academic courses at a university next door. Young nurses are able to capitalize on education that normally isn’t offered elsewhere due to this dual-enrollment. When students graduate they are able to transition into higher courses or into the workforce.

St. Xavier School of Nursing
St. Xavier School of Nursing

St. Xavier School of Nursing was founded in 1935. The college integrated with the Mercy Hospital and launched the first BSN program in Illinois. This joining together enabled the melding of general education with hospital-based lab courses and clinical practice. We congratulate the School of Nursing on the 80 year anniversary of its founding!

St. Joseph’s College
St. Joseph’s College

The St. Joseph College Nursing program evolved from a modest beginning to a flourishing school for passionate young nurses. St. Joseph School for Women was founded in 1916 by the Sisters of St. Joseph and the first class graduated in 1920. The School transitioned over the years to become the St Joseph College of Nursing. We are so pleased to add theirs to our collection of nursing caps.

Bishop Johnson College of Nursing
Bishop Johnson College of Nursing

Bishop Johnson College of Nursing, now The Good Samaritan Hospital, Los Angeles, California was established in the late 19th century. Episcopalian nuns managed the hospital under the auspices of the Episcopal diocese. The first Episcopal Bishop named Johnson arrived in 1896. It is through his interest and energy the hospital grew. A School of Nursing was established at Good Samaritan Hospital. The school continues and bears his name.

NYC Visiting Nurse Service
NYC Visiting Nurse Service

We received a beautiful New York City Visiting Nurse Service Cap today. It is from 1952 and you can tell it is well worn. The beautiful pin on the cap gave the alert of what the nurse was doing in the neighborhood. The nurse graduated from Cornell University New York Hospital. Imagine the children she worked with during the polio outbreak.