This sweet photograph from November 1941 shows Evelyn Stewart Barnes (1919-2008) of Kingston, New Jersey, in her first nursing uniform. She was the daughter of Benjamin and Maude Eisenberger Stewart. Evelyn had graduated from Beaver College (now called Arcadia University) in 1941 with a B.S. degree in Home Economics. Loving school, she decided to continue her education by attending Yale University’s School of Nursing in New Haven, Connecticut. She had married Thomas Barnes, from her Kingston neighborhood, in 1943. While her husband, Tom, was in the Army, she lived in New Haven, CT, on her own, and attended graduate school. On 13 April 1944 Evelyn received her Master of Nursing degree from Yale University after many months of hard study, student nursing, and examinations.
Shown above are Evelyn’s first nursing cap, her diploma, and the program from the graduation exercises. The Connecticut State Board of Examiners for Nursing in 1944 required a passing percentage of at least 70% in these subjects: Medical Nursing; Surgical Nursing; Pharmacology and Therapeutics; Nutrition, Foods and Cookery, and Diet Therapy; Obstetric and Gynecologic Nursing; Anatomy and Physiology; Nursing of Children; Microbiology; Communicable Disease Nursing; and Psychiatric Nursing. Since Evelyn had passed all of the exams, she was a certified Registered Nurse as of 21 September 1944.
Two beautiful graduation portraits of Evelyn Stewart Barnes from her time at Beavers College and Yale University School of Nursing, above and below.
After receiving her R. N. degree, Evelyn moved back to New Jersey. She had been recruited to become an Army nurse, but she didn’t think her specialty was surgical nursing. Evelyn raised her two young children while juggling shifts at local nursing homes, so she could be with them as much as possible. In 1955, Evelyn heard of a new program that was starting up in Somerset County, NJ, sponsored by the Somerville Elks, to help disabled children in the community. They were looking for a registered nurse to oversee the fledgling facility, to be housed in a basement room at the local High Street School. The Elks hired Evelyn Barnes to start up the program. She stayed as nurse and then director for what became the Somerset Handicapped Children’s Treatment Center for 42 years, retiring in 1997.
During her tenure, Evelyn had a dedicated staff of a secretary, speech therapist, occupational, and physical therapists who supported her in helping the children. The Special Child Health Services of Trenton, NJ worked with Evelyn in making sure services were provided for local children in need. Evelyn also worked with many wonderful volunteers from the Elks and Women’s Auxiliaries, from not only the Somerville Elks (B.P.O.E. 1068), but also Manville, Bound Brook, Middlesex, Plainfield, Flemington, and Princeton Lodges. The Center’s goal was to help any children from birth to age 21 that needed assistance.
In 1993 a 3,600 square-feet special playground for the children was built by the Elk Lodges, and dedicated to Evelyn, much to her surprise.
Evelyn, or “Mrs. B” as she was called, was really a pioneer in getting so many services all under one roof. Another of her skills was a knack in finding the best people to work with her. Amazingly, during her 42 years at the treatment center, Evelyn only had two secretaries. Along with the Somerville Elks, the Somerville Red Cross, and the Evening Membership of the Somerville Civic League, Evelyn started a swim program for physically handicapped children, which was one of the first in New Jersey. The staff and volunteers at the Treatment Center also ran many other fun events, such as trips for the children to Disney World and Dorney Park, fishing derbies, and holiday parties. Below, Evelyn is shown at one of the parties with her two granddaughters.
Later, the Elks twice built new and more modern facilities, and they are now located at 377 Union Avenue in Bridgewater, NJ. This link tells more about the Treatment Center: http://www.somersetchildrenstreatmentcenter.com/16842.html
Here’s one last picture of Evelyn Stewart Barnes, Registered Nurse, at her desk from June 1978 while working. She was quite a remarkable woman!
Workday Wednesday is a blogging prompt suggested by GeneaBloggers to celebrate the careers and occupations of family and ancestors. Any nurses in your families, dear readers?