The Barbara Purtak Central Archive for Polish Nursing

The Archive’s history is long and difficult. It has no have adequate site for decades, objects have been collected and stored in insufficient conditions: in private houses, entresoles, cellars. Until 1999 in the PNA Warsaw Branch site (Koszykowa 8 str.); January 1999 – autumn 2000 in a provisional barrack at the Institute of Mother and Child (Kasprzaka str. – the Commission’s activity was suspended that time). In the year 2000, thanks to a friendly cooperation of the PNA Management Board with the Mazovian Regional Chamber of Nurses and Midwives, and the director of the Nurses’ Hotel in Warsaw (Reymonta 8 str.), PNA has rent a place there. At the beginning the Archive was located in a quite large cellar. The Commission – redardless difficulties (lacking funds, no computer or telephone) – leaded by Halina Stecka-Fajfer renewed. The collections have been ordered (mostly by the archivists – Barbara Purtak and Aniela Jabłkowska-Sochańska, responsible for the collection of the Graduates of the Warsaw Nursing School) and used for research and publications. Two more moves followed, finally to a local where a quite work is possible. The place has been equipped thanks to the PNA MB, the sponsors, the Main Chamber of Nurses and Midwives, the Małopolska Chamber of Nurses and Midwives, donations of the Commission members. After evaluation of it’s resources and activity potential, the collection has been named as the Barbara Purtak Central Archive for Polish Nursing (CAPN). The opening ceremony took place on September 16th, 2008.

The Commission’s of History and the Central Archive’s activity is based on their members’ voluntary work.

The Barbara Purtak Central Archive for Polish Nursing collects, maintains and makes accessible different types of documents: biographies and memorabilia of meritorious nurses, awarded with the Florence Nightingale Medal, nurses important in education, professional development or health care; monographs of schools and hospitals; elaborations on nursing history, on the role of monastic convents in nursing development, on nurses’ and midwives’ participation in wars, government works, on the repressed nurses’ histories; documents of Polish and foreign nursing organizations: Polish Association of Professional Nurses, Polish Nurses’ Association, Nurses and Midwives Unions, Nurses and Midwives Chamber, numerous special organizations.

The CAPN consists of the archival collection of the Graduates of the Warsaw Nursing School and Warsaw Nurses’ Nursing School.

The CAPN collects and maintains the PNA documents concerning it’s international cooperation, publishing activity, congresses and conferences, students’ contests, research workshops, language holidays, commissions (in particular of History), the Nursing Leaders’ Circle, the PNA Students’ Circles, nursing artistic creativity, manuals and textbooks, other books concerning nurses’ and midwives’ activity during the World War 2, professional journals, students’ thesis.

We have over 3000 registered units, including more than 10000 documents, 1000 biographical notes (including 651 biographies), and the library of 2500 volumes (56 archival units).

The Commission of History cooperates with the History of Medicine Unit – Polish Academy of Science, the Institute of National Remembrance, the National Archives, the Parliament Archive, nurses’ and midwives’ organizations. Our gratitude belongs strongly to the Chamber of Nurses and Midwives – Małopolska Region, the Catholic Association of Polish Nurses and Midwives – Cracow Branch, and the Sisters Dominicanes Convent in Cracow – Gródek.


in collecting documents, memorabilia, banners of closed schools, nursing caps and uniforms, school badges, chronicles, photographs, films, remembrances and correspondence, stams, postcards with nurses or midwives images, press cuttings, nursing equipment and tools.

Collection of Zespół Medycznych Szkół Policealnych, Warsaw, Świętojerska 5 Str.:


Photo by: Tomasz Budzarek