Important Changes at the Library this Fall
Since most of our buildings are closed, some in-person Library services or resources described on this page are currently unavailable. For more details on how the Library can help this semester, check out our services updates or feel free to email us, chat with us, or reach out to a librarian or specialist in your discipline.

Ethel Johns fonds

Media Type: 
Multiple media
Call Number / Archival Reference Number: 
STEM Field: 
Fonds includes correspondence, reports, minutes, notes, photographs, drafts of Johns' unfinished autobiography and related papers, and manuscripts of a considerable number of her articles and speeches the majority of which were published. Among the letters here included are those which Johns wrote to Eileen C. Flanagan during the period 1949-1967, and which the latter has donated.
Biography/Administrative History: 
Ethel Johns, the first director of the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia, was born in England in 1879. She spent her adolescent years on the Wabigoon Indian Reserve, Ontario, where her father was the teacher. Cora Hind visited the Reserve, by chance, and became interested in Ethel and was helpful in facilitating her admission, in 1899, to the Winnipeg General Hospital Training School for Nurses. Following her graduation, in 1902, Miss Johns engaged in private duty nursing for a short time before returning to Winnipeg General Hospital in 1905 to work as a teacher, head nurse, and nurse in charge of the x-ray department, radiology then being in its infancy. In 1914, she went to Teachers College, Columbia University. She returned to Canada in 1915 to accept the position of superintendent of The Children's Hospital of Winnipeg. In 1919, Johns was appointed to the dual position of director of nursing service and education of the Vancouver General Hospital and coordinator of the newly established programme in Nursing at the University of British Columbia. The Rockefeller Foundation, in 1925, invited Ethel Johns to serve in an advisory capacity in a programme to develop schools of nursing to prepare young women who wished to enter the public health field. She became a field director of the Foundation's nursing programme in Europe and assisted in the development of nursing schools connected with universities at Debrecen, Hungary and Cluj, Romania. In 1929, Johns served for three years as Director of Studies for the Committee on Nursing Organization of the New York Hospital - Cornell Medical College Association Project. Johns returned to Canada in 1933 to become the editor and business manager of The Canadian Nurse, a position which she held until her retirement in 1944. The Canadian Nurses' Association recognized Ethel Johns' distinguished contribution to nursing by awarding her, in 1940, the Mary Agnes Snively Memorial Medal, and in 1958, an honorary life membership in the Association. Mount Allison University, in 1948, conferred upon Ethel Johns the degree, Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. Ethel Johns’ retirement was spent largely in Vancouver where she collaborated with Blanche Pfefferkorn in writing a history of the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing. During her retirement, Miss Johns also edited and composed for the J.B. Lippincott Company a series of pamphlets entitled 'Just Plain Nursing.' She also wrote a history of the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing. Johns died in Vancouver on September 2, 1968.
75.5 cm of textual records and published materials, 10 photographs: 25.5 x 20.5 cm or smaller, 1 album
Hosting Institution: 
University of British Columbia
Collection Contact:
Back to top