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Doris E. Roberts papers

MC 185

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing
Roberts, Doris E., 1872-1993
Doris E. Roberts papers
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
MC 185
1.25 Linear feet
Doris E. Roberts, R.N., Ph.D. was an internationally known nurse leader and educator in the field of community health services. These papers span Roberts’ professional career and documents her educational and academic experience, as well as awards and recognition received as a public health and nursing leader. This collection is comprised of addresses, articles, and documents relating to professional associations, as well as photographs of Roberts.
Cite as:
Doris E. Roberts papers, Barbara Bates Center for The Study of The History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
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Doris E. Roberts, R.N., Ph.D. was an internationally known nurse leader and educator in the field of community health services. Roberts was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1915. She graduated from Peter Bent Brigham, School of Nursing, Boston, MA (1938 ). She accepted a position of staff nurse with the New Haven Visiting Nurse Association. After two years Roberts went to Simmons College, Boston, MA and obtained a certificate in public health nursing (1941) . In 1944 she received a bachelor’s degree from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. After serving as senior nurse and director of nursing services with the Neighborhood Association, Millburn Association, NJ (1942-1944), Roberts joined the U S Public Health Service (1945-1975). As a commissioned officer she had various assignments, first with the Tuberculosis Program (1945-1955), then as chief nurse with same program. During this period Roberts worked with local, state and national agencies, taking part in operational research and seeing the importance of systematic study and program evaluation at all levels of health care.

In 1966, Roberts became Chief of the Public Health Nursing Service and. responsible for designing and conducting studies. In this position she was able to introduce epidemiological concepts and study methods into state and local public health agencies. Her major concerns were the need to bring educators and practitioners together to share resources for problem solving and to collaborate as a way to improve the quality and effectiveness of health care. Her writings were published in many professional journals. Roberts ‘influence extended beyond the United States. She provided consultation and assistance to the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, and Southeast Asia Regional Office of WHO.

In 1958, she received a master’s degree in public health from the University of Minnesota, and in 1967 a doctorate degree in epidemiology from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Roberts had memberships in Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Science and Delta Omega Society. Also, she was the recipient of awards for distinguished service in public health.

Following her retirement (1975) from the US Public Health Service, Roberts continued her career as a consultant in public health and in health services evaluation research for ten more years. Following these years she became active in volunteering in outreach programs in the community for homeless and neglected people.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Barbara Bates Center for the Study of The History of Nursing

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Center staff, updated by Bethany Myers

Access Restrictions

This collection is unrestricted.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Center with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Mabel Harmon Morris and Doris E. Roberts, 1999.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)
  • United States Public Health Service.
  • Personal papers
  • Nurse
  • Public health nursing
Personal Name(s)
  • Roberts, Doris E., 1872-1993
  • Community health nursing

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Collection Inventory

Series 1.  Personal, 1872-1993 (Bulk, 1957-1993) .

Scope and Contents note

This series includes a biographical sketch, education transcripts , course papers, commencement program, historical manuals for midwifery, hospital nursing , and visiting nursing for the years 1872-1906.

Box Folder

Biographical sketch by Doris E. Roberts, 1992.

1 1

Biographical sketch, Who's Who In American Nursing, and The World Who's Who of Women, 1980-1993.

1 2

College and high school transcripts, 1957-1967.

1 3

Course papers.

Box Folder

Anthropology; 165, University of Minnesota, December 1957.

1 4

Priorities for Public Health Nursing Service, University of North Carolina, (also, Epidemiology Applied to Nursing Practice), July 1966.

1 5

The Social Structure and Public Health, University of North Carolina, August 1966.

1 6

Curriculum Vitae, 1982.

1 7

Geneva College, Class of 1944, booklet, "The 50 Year Reunion Survey", 1944.

1 8

Program, Annual Commencement, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, June 1967.

1 9

United States of America, passport, 1969-1974.

1 10


A Manual for Midwives and Monthly Nurses, Fleetwood Churchill, MD, 3th edition, Fannin and Co., 1872.

A Manual for Hospital Nurses, Edward J. Domville, 3rd edition, J. and A, London, 1878.

Visiting Nurse Manual, Edna L. Foley, RN, National Organization for Public Health Nursing and Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago, 1914 (includes a note card from Harriet Fulmer, Chicago VNA, 1906).

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Series 2.  Awards, 1967-1973.

Scope and Contents note

In this series are the awards Roberts received from the American Public Health Association, Geneva College, and University of Minnesota; also newspaper clippings and journal announcements of awards.

Box Folder

Correspondences re; doctor of philosophy degree and awards, 1967-1973.

1 1

Certificate, Contribution for Advancement of Public Health Nursing, Council of Education for Public Nursing, 1978.

1 2

Sedgwick Memorial Metal, American Public Health Association, 1979.

1 3

University of Minnesota Outstanding Achievement Award, School of Public Health, 1983.

1 4

Newspaper clipping and journal announcements of honors and awards, 1971-1973.

1 5

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Series 3.  Addresses, Articles, and Papers, 1952-1993.

Scope and Contents note

This series includes the large number of addresses and papers presented on numerous occasions, and many articles published in the various journals by Roberts and co-authors.


Box Folder

The Nurses' Function in Programs of Prevention and Control Tuberculosis Nursing Institute, Louisville, Kentucky, November 13, 1951.

1 1

Integration of Tuberculosis in a Generalized Public Health Nursing Program.

1 2

Explore and Experiment, Midwestern Conference on Public Health Nursing, National League for Nursing, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 13, 1960.

1 3

Nurse Graze Into Crystal Ball, The Role of Research in Eradicating Tuberculosis, National Tuberculosis Association Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA, May 18, 1960.

1 4

How Effective Is Public Health Nursing, Public Health Nursing Section, American Public Health Association, Annual Meeting, Detroit, Michigan, November 14, 1961.

1 5

A Method of Evaluation of Nursing Service Public Health Nursing Service Branch, Division of Nursing, U.S. D of HEW, Washington, DC, 1962.

1 6

Evaluation of Patient Needs-The Basic Step Directors and Supervisors of Public Health Nursing, NY, State Department of Health, Albany, NY, November 1, 1962.

1 7

Strengthening Nursing Practice Through Epidemiology, Regional Clinical Conference, Philadelphia, PA and Kansas City, Missouri, November 1967.

1 8

Social Roles and Disease Control, American Public Health Association, Miami, Florida, 1967.

1 9

Comprehensive Health Service Conference on Comprehensive Care" (handwritten), February 1968.

1 10

Analysis of The Utilization of Home Health Services, Conference on Medicare Home Health Care," Philadelphia, PA (handwritten), March 1968.

1 11

Program Evaluation for Planning, Annual Meeting, Southern Branch, American Public Health Association, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 20, 1969.

1 12

Centennial Award of American Public Health Association to Margaret B. Dolan Atlantic City, NJ, November 14, 1972.

1 13

Community Health Nursing Curriculum Responses to the Primary Care Movement, 3rd Conference of Association of Faculty of Graduate Program of Public Health Nursing, Atlantic, Georgia, May 3, 1979.

2 14

Developing An International Public Health Perspective, University of Minnesota, June 13, 1983.

2 15


Box Folder

A Brief Look at the History of Agency Involvement in Program Evaluation by Gene V. Lung, RN., B.S., MN., Palm Beach County Health Department, Annual Meeting, American Public Health Association, Houston, TX, October 29, 1970.

2 16


Box Folder

The Positive Approach to a Tuberculosis Nursing Program Public Health Report, Vol. 68, No. 3, March 1953.

2 17

How Effective Is Public Health Nursing?, American Journal of Public Health,Vol. 52, No. 7, July 1962.

2 18

Nursing for Community Health, Education Medica Y Salud, Vol. 13, No. 11 (rough draft and correspondence), December 1979.

2 19

Public Health Nursing Comes of Age, American Journal of Public Health," Vol.75, No. 10, October 1985.

2 20-21
Box Folder

The Nonhospitalized Tuberculosis Patient Public Health Reports," Vol.71, No. 9, September 1956.

2 22

Epidemiologic Analysis in School Populations as a Basis for Change in School Nursing Practice American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 59, No. 12, December 1969.

2 23

Maternal and Infant Health and Their Association Factors in an Inner City Population, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 62, No. 4, April 1972.

2 24

Epidemiologic Analysis as a Basis for Change in School Nursing Practice- Report of Second Phase of a Longitudinal Study, American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 62, No. 4, April 1972.

2 25

Reprints articles from various authors and journals, 1970-1993.

2 26-29
Box Folder

Evaluation of a School Health Program Directed to Children with History of High Absence: A Focus for Nursing Intervention, Long, Whitman, Johansson, Williams and Tuthill (for publication American Public Health Journal), 1973.

2 30


Box Folder

Introductory remarks and "Evaluation of Practice," Annual State Director of Nurses Meeting (handwritten), April 1971.

2 31

The Role of Nursing in Family And Community Health World Health Organization, Geneva, 1974.

2 32

Developing an Evaluation Design for Decentralized Health Manpower Education Program (A Reaction Paper), undated.

2 33

The Challenge of Nursing Research (handwritten), undated.

2 34

Evaluating Nursing Care(handwritten), undated.

2 35

Research and Nursing Practices"(handwritten), undated.

2 36
Box Folder

Observation of Medication Errors Made by Diabetic Patients in Home, 26th Annual Meeting, American Diabetes Association, Chicago, 1966.

2 37

Behavioral Science Measures: Their Potential Contribution to Understanding the Course of Chronic Diseases, undated.

2 38

Should James Go to School? Working Mothers' Responses To Symptoms, undated.

2 39

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Series 4.  Other Associations, 1962-1993.

Scope and Contents note

This series documents Roberts nursing career as a nursing leader in Untied States, Europe, and the Orient; and her association with the American Public Health Association, National Academy of Science and Veterans Administration.

Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Box Folder

A Forty Year History of the State and Territorial Directors of Nursing, 1935-1975, 1976.

2 1

Correspondence re: appointments and education, 1957-1967.

2 2

Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing to Meet Licensure Requirements in United States, final report, 1977-1979.

2 3-4

Historical data, Division of Public Health Nursing, in the U.S.Public Health Service, 1963.

2 5

Memorandum re: establishing a Division of Public Health Nursing, 1958.

3 6

Project report "Implication for Nursing at National Level" (handwritten), 1969.

3 7

Proceedings of Perinatal Nursing Conference, Battelle Seattle Research Center, 1975.

3 8

How to Study Patient Progress, Public Health Service, 1964.

3 9

Redesigning Nursing Education for Public Health, 1973.

3 10

Special assignments, World Health Organization, correspondence, 1962-1979.

3 11

World Health Organization.

Box Folder

Community Health Nursing, report of WHO Expert Committee, 1974.

3 12

Guide to Curriculum Review for Basic Nursing Education, WHO, 1985.

3 13

Nursing in Support of the Goal Health for All by the Year 2000, meeting report WHO, 1982.

3 14
Box Folder

Correspondence and various federal forms, (insignia pin), 1974-1976.

3 16

Announcement and invitation to events to honor Doris E. Roberts, 1975.

3 17
Box Folder

WHO Features, "Nurses Lead the Way", June 1985.

3 15

Other Associations.

American Public Health Association.
Box Folder

Correspondence re: appointment to various committees, 1977-1980.

3 18

Report, "Field Teaching Conference," PHNS, Southern Branch, Roanoke, Virginia, 1962.

3 19
Box Folder

National Academy of Science , The Elderly and Functional Dependency, June 1977; "Background of the Institute of Medicine," April 1973; correspondence, 1973, 1983; and "Science and Hope," Philip Handler, 1976.

3 20

University of Minnesota, "National Perspectives for Public Health/Community Health," June 1982 and 1983, including correspondence, 1984.

3 21

Other, miscellaneous correspondence, incoming and outgoing, 1983-1993.

3 23
Box Folder

Veterans Administration, correspondence re: scholarship program, 1984.

3 22

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Series 5.  Photographs, 1964-1990.

Scope and Contents note

Included in this series are portrait photos taken of Roberts during her nursing career. There are group pictures taken on various social, ceremonial, conferences or seminar occasions.

Box Photo

Doris E. Roberts sitting at piano Simmons College, Boston, MA, 1940.

3 1

Portraits- Doris E. Roberts.

Box Photo


3 2


3 3


3 4a-d


3 5


3 6a-d


3 7
Box Photo

Doris E. Roberts sitting at a desk, 1964.

3 8

Doris E. Roberts accepting Academy of Nursing, Honorary Award, 1993.

3 9a

Margaret Arnstein, portrait, 1958.

3 10

Staff of the Division of Public Health Nursing, Fall 1958.

3 11

WHO CONFERENCE on Primary Care , Geneva, Switzerland, December 1981.

Box Photo

Panel participants.

3 12

Group participants.

3 13
Box Envelope

Retirement Reception for Doris E.Roberts, June 1975.

3 1

For portrait 4a-4d.

3 1

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