Sarah F. Martin illustrated manuscript memoir of Mary Cary Packard, R.N., and manuscript autobiography, 1863-1951, bulk 1863-1936

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Packard, Mary Cary, 1858-1936, Martin, Sarah F., 1864-, History of Medicine Collection (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library), and Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture
Mary Cary Packard (1858-1936) and Sarah F. (Florence) Martin (1864- ) were professional nurses trained Boston and based in Baltimore from 1887, where they managed the Robert Garrett Hospital for Children as well as the Robert Garret Sanitarium for Children in rural Mount Airy, Maryland. Collection comprises a 109-page manuscript memoir of Mary Packard's life, assembled by Sarah F. Martin around 1936, and a 20-page handwritten autobiography by Martin, 1940, wih a few photographs and booklets pasted in. The Packard memoir contains a detailed biography, 34 photographs, clippings, memorabilia, cards, and letters, all captioned in detail by Martin. The collection documents the lifelong friendship and professional lives of the two women, their family, friends and colleagues, and their Baltimore home, "Clovelly." Other topics include the history of Maryland's public health system and children's hospitals, and the genealogies of the Alden, Cary, Packard, and Parker families of eastern Massachusetts. Acquired as part of the History of Medicine Collection and the Bingham Center for Women and Women's History and Culture at Duke University.
1.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes)
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Collection comprises two items: a 109-page scrapbook memoir of Baltimore-based professional nurse Mary Cary Packard, assembled by her close companion and colleague Sarah F. Martin starting in 1934 and completed shortly after her friend's death in 1936, and a shorter handwritten autobiography by Martin narrating her own life, created around 1940.

The Packard memoir starts with the 1934 dedication, and a 10-page biography of Packard's life and career in public health and nursing, handwritten in ink by Martin. Subsequent album pages abound with news or literary clippings; humorous verses and lyrics (some composed by Packard); memorabilia; postcards, Christmas and Valentine cards, and letters; and professional literature from nursing associations referring to the activities and accomplishments of Mary Cary Packard.

Also found in the scrapbook are 34 pasted-in photographs in the form of well-captioned albumen cartes-de-visite, cyanotypes, and gelatin silver prints. These are numerous portraits and snapshots of Packard, and a few of Martin, and photos of family, friends, nurses and physicians, and patrons of medical institutions such as the Jacobs and Garrett families. Other photographs offer views of hospital buildings, schools, and ancestral homes and towns. In addition, there are a number of photographs taken by Packard and Smith of the medical staff at the Garrett Sanitarium for Children in Mount Airy, Md., and photos of the exterior and interior of their home, "Clovelly," built for Packard in 1912 in the Baltimore suburb of Ten Hills. There are no depictions of the interiors of medical institutions or nursing schools. A handful of photographic postcards depicting hospitals and other locations are also present in the memoir.

The shorter 20-page "Miss Sallie" manuscript is an autobiography written by Sarah F. (Florence) Martin, and consists of a handwritten personal narrative which details her origins in Massachusetts, her nursing training, her career in Baltimore, and her friendship with Mary Cary Packard. Four photographs, one of Martin at six months old and another of her in nursing uniform, and two booklets from a Woman's Club accompany the narrative.

Together, the two manuscripts richly document the lifelong friendship and careers of the two women and their association with friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Topics well-represented in these two memoirs include the early decades of the nursing profession in the United States, the development of Maryland's public health system and children's medical institutions; the genealogies of the Alden, Cary, Packard, and Parker families of eastern Massachusetts; and the history of the Cary family of Clovelly (Devon), England.

Biographical / historical:

Mary Cary Packard (1858-1936) was born in North Bridgewater, Massachusetts (now Broxton); Sarah F. (Florence) Martin (1864-after 1950) was born in Newburyport, Essex, Massachusetts. They met as nursing students at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the first nurse training programs in the U.S.

After graduating and working for a short period of time in Boston, they moved to Baltimore in 1887. Packard and Martin were in charge of nursing at Baltimore's Robert Garrett Hospital for Children for twenty-five years. They also managed the nursing and operations of the newly founded Robert Garrett Sanitarium for Children in rural Mt. Airy, Maryland (1888), spending many summers there. The two led the development of public health nursing in the state, and they played central roles in organizing the nursing profession in Maryland. Sarah Martin also worked for the Maryland Ten-Hour Law (a labor law pertaining chiefly to women) department in the later years of her life.

In 1912, Packard had a house built at 414 Kensington Road in the Ten Hills suburb of Baltimore, naming it "Clovelly" after the village in Devon, England, where the Cary family originated, and the two lived there together until Packard's death in June 1936. Neither woman married. According to the U.S. Federal census, in 1940 Sarah F. Martin was living at another Baltimore address; in 1950, she appears to have been a patient at the Springfield State Hospital in Carroll County, Maryland; her death date and burial location are unknown.

Acquisition information:
The Sarah F. Martin illustrated manuscript memoir of Mary Cary Packard, R.N., and manuscript autobiography were acquired as a purchase from the 19th Century Rare Book Photograph Shop in 2021.
Processing information:

Processed and described by Zoe Finiasz and Paula Jeannet, August 2022.

Accession described in this collection guide: 2021-0148.

Album pages: 8 x 10 1/2 inches
Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Sarah F. Martin illustrated manuscript memoir of Mary Cary Packard, R.N., and manuscript autobiography, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.