Pass Christian, Mississippi and St. Louis, Missouri: 1937 - 1948. 10½” x 13½”. 16 loose photo album leaves with 241 black and white photographs and three items of ephemera; around one quarter are inserted into corner mounts, the rest are adhesive mounted. Most photos measure from 2½” x 1¾” to 4½” x 2 ¾” and approximately one third are captioned. Leaves very good with chipped edges that are prone to more of it, photos generally very good or better.
This album depicts Geneva Morgan as she progressed from sixth grade to graduation from nursing school. She grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi and attended St. Mary's Infirmary's nursing school in St. Louis Missouri. According to her obituary, she worked as a night nurse in Richmond Heights, Missouri until her retirement in 1982.
The album begins with three photos of the grounds and students at St. Philomena's School in Pass Christian which Geneva attended before high school. Next are a number of photos of Geneva and her classmates who graduated from Randolph High School in 1944. Randolph was built in the late 1920s after receiving a grant from the Rosenwald School Building program. These images include many full length portraits of students, including several young men who are in military uniforms. Other photos show Geneva and her friends and family around her home and three interesting shots feature African Americans marching in a parade which may be part of a school graduation processional.
Around 70 photos depict Geneva and fellow African American nursing students. These include group shots, photos of the St. Mary's Infirmary grounds as well as several that appear to be part of a graduation ceremony inside a chapel. Although the photos related to Geneva at nursing school do not have captions, we know she attended the school at the St. Mary's Infirmary in St. Louis based on a piece of ephemera pasted among the nursing photos with “SMI” as well as a couple of photos of nurses taken outside which shows signage for “S.M. Arnold, Inc.” which was located across the street from SMI at the time. In 1933 the hospital was only the second in St. Louis to accept black patients and it was the first in the city with an integrated nursing staff. It was also the first Catholic nursing school in the United States to accept African Americans.
Excellent photos capturing life in a segregated Mississippi and documenting a group of African American nurses in the Midwest. Very good. Item #1472