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William H. Helfand collection

MC 220

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
William H. Helfand collection
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
MC 220
0.16 Linear feet (1 half size document box, 3 posters, 9 folios of sheet music)
This collection contains donations made by William Helfand, a noted collector of medical ephemera. Materials include printed pamphlets, sheet music, and posters.
Cite as:
William H. Helfand collection, Barbara Bates Center for The Study of The History of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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William H. Helfand is a collector of medical ephemera. He is a consultant to the National Library of Medicine, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other institutions in areas relating to art and medicine. He has degrees in Chemical Engineering (University of Pennsylvania, 1948), Pharmacy (Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, 1952), and was awarded honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters by the Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University in 1981, and Doctor of Science by the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science in 1976.

He has written five books, including Pharmacy: An Illustrated History (with David Cowen, Harry N. Abrams, 1990) and  The Picture of Health (University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1991). He has published a number of articles on the history of pharmacy and on prints, caricatures, posters, and ephemera relating to pharmacy and medicine in  Pharmacy in History, Medical History,  Revue d'Histoire de la Pharmacie and other journals. Exhibitions of portions of his collection of prints and ephemera in the fields of medicine and pharmacy have been held many places, most recently in exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Library of Medicine. In 1986 he received the Pepys Medal of the Ephemera Society, London, for outstanding contributions in the field of ephemera studies. In 1972 he received the Kremers Award of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy, and in 1989, he received the Urdang Medal for distinguished historical writing from the same organization.

In 1987, he retired after more than 33 years as an executive with Merck and Co., the multinational pharmaceutical company.

References: "Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Varieties of Medical Ephemera - William Helfand." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 21 Sept. 2011. Web. 12 Feb. 2014

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 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 William H. Helfand.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

See also: MC 222, Postcard collection.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Posters
  • Printed ephemera
  • Sheet music
Personal Name(s)
  • Helfand, William H.
  • Nursing.
  • World War, 1914-1918--Medical care

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Collection Inventory

Series 1.  Ephemera.

Box Folder

1917.  Correspondence.

1 1

circa 1932.  Nurses' Medical and Fever Chart.

1 2

circa 1962.  Schoolgirls Own Library: Lost Memory Girl.

1 3
Various ephemera, circa 1936-1959.
Scope and Contents note

Pamphlet: Florence Nightingale and the Founding of Professional Nursing. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 1959. 24 pp., illustrated.

Allentown Hospital [PA] School of Nursing, 35th Commencement program, May 22, 1936.

Nurses’ Prayer, by Mary Stuart. Compliments of W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, “Publishers to the Nursing Profession.” c. 1930s.

The Nightingale Pledge. Printed leaflet. W. B. Saunders Company, c. 1930s [?]

Pennsylvania Practical Nurses’ Association [Pittsburgh, PA] Leaflet, c. 1950.

Advertising circular: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. “Answering the Call: The Metropolitan Nurse.” c. 1950. 4 pp. leaflet, illustrations.

Bertha B. Burgstresser calling cards, circa 1900-1910?.

FlatFile Drawer

Application: Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Nurse Training Arrangements, signed by Margaret Cay, October 23, 1877.

A 3

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Series 2.  Sheet Music.

FlatFile Drawer

Somewhere in France is the Lily. Words by Philander Johnson and music by Jos. E. Howard. New York, 1917.

A 3

That Red Cross Girl of Mine. Words and Music by Ed. C. Cannon, Columbus, Ohio, 1917.

A 3

My Angel of the Flaming Cross. Words and music by Byron Gay. New York, 1918.

A 3

Good-night, Nurse, 1912.

A 3

The Rose of No Man's Land, 1918.

A 3

I Don't Want to Get Well, 1917.

A 3

The Woman in White, 1939.

A 3

The Angel of No Man's Land, 1918.

A 3

There's an Angel Missing From Heaven: She'll be found somewhere over there [Dedicated to the American Red Cross], 1918.

A 3

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Series 3.  Posters.

FlatFile Drawer

French advertisement for aspirin by Maurice Cliot. 148 x 77 cm.; Aspirine-- Usines de Rhone, circa 1910.

A 3

Help Your American Red Cross/Enroll Today $1.00, World War I poster (Lithograph). By A. R. B., 46" x 31", circa 1918.


"What Are You Doing to Help? Join the American Red Cross Today. Subscriber memberships $2 and Up," World War I poster. By Gordon Grant. Charcoal on board. 36" x 25", circa 1919.

A 3

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