Stephenson, Elsie

Scope and Content

Nurse training and professional education 1935-1947; Red Cross work 1944-1967; Chief Nursing Officer posts 1948-1956; professional activities 1949-1967; personal papers 1934-1967; professional interests 1937-1959; nursing history and practice 1902-1967; publications 1937-1962; Bill Gardner's files 1918-1968; photographs

Administrative / Biographical History

Elsie Stephenson trained as a State Registered Nurse, Midwife, Fever Nurse and Health Visitor in England 1935-1942. She undertook war work in Egypt, North Italy, Germany and Yugoslavia 1944-1946; she was Deputy Chief Matron British Red Cross Society 1947-1948, and Chief Nursing officer in East Suffolk and Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1948-1956. She became first director of what became known as the Nursing Studies Unit (1956) and later of the Department of Nursing at University of Edinburgh (1965), and had numerous special appointments and honours.


Not yet arranged

Access Information

Public access to these records is governed by the UK Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the latest version of the Scottish Government Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland). Whilst some records may be accessed freely by researchers, the aforementioned legislation and guidelines mean that records with sensitive information on named individuals may be closed to the public for a set time.

Where records are about named deceased adults, they will be open 75 years after the latest date in the record, on the next 01 January. Records about individuals below 18 years (living or deceased) or adults not proven to be deceased will be open 100 years after the latest date in the record, on the next 01 January. Further information on legislation and guidelines covering medical records can be found on the LHSA webpage (

LHSA can support the use of records closed to public access for legitimate clinical, historical and genealogical research purposes. Please contact the LHSA Archivist for more details regarding procedures on how you can apply for permission to view closed records. Telephone us on: 0131 650 3392 or email us at

Acquisition Information

Department of Nursing Studies, University of Edinburgh, 1982


Compiled by Mike Barfoot and Jenny McDermott using existing handlists

Other Finding Aids

Manual summary list available

Custodial History

Papers held within family


No further accessions are expected

Related Material

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (LHB1)

Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion (LHB3)


Allan, Sheila. Fear not to sow: the story of Elsie Stephenson, first director of university nursing studies in Europe. Cornwall: Patten Press, 1990.