In 1873, in response to the growing needs of newly arrived laborers and their immigrant families to the Morristown area, and in an attempt to organize the charitable efforts of different groups providing assistance, members of the Female Charitable Society of Morristown are credited with initiating the formation of the Central Bureau of Social Service. As a social welfare organization, the Central Bureau of Social Services was set up to meet the needs of the immigrants and the poor of the community. In 1914 the group published its' first annual report. According to the report, the first visiting nurse had been hired that year and that she had made 771 visits to 150 people within her first 90 days on the job. As the basic health and welfare needs of the towns' citizens continued to be a challenge, the Central Bureau of Social Service was officially incorporated in 1916 and re-named the Visiting Nurse Association. At that time there were two nurses on staff caring for patients at .50 a visit.
Since it's founding as the Central Bureau of Social Service, the Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey has existed in Morristown under various names and in association with various community and county-wide social programs. There is a long association between the original Visiting Nurse Association and other Morristown based social assistance efforts. An example of one such health initiative included a new mothers baby care program at the Neighborhood House. Another effort, created the same year as the Central Bureau of Social Service, was the Morris County Tuberculosis Association. Specifically created to care for those suffering from that contagious illness, the Visiting Nurse Association eventually worked in conjunction with the Morris County Tuberculosis Association, before assuming all their duties. The Visiting Nurses eventually took over the Morris County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and, in 1936, the Morristown Community Chest was helping to support the efforts of the Visiting Nurses with monetary donations.
By 1952 the Visiting Nurse Association had moved it's original headquarters from Dehart and South Streets near the Morristown Green a few blocks away to the Mial House, at 38 Elm Street. The organization's service area had expanded by that time to the county borders and the name was changed to the Visiting Nurse Association of Morris County. In its' succeeding five decades, as the agency has adjusted its' efforts to the needs of the time, the Visiting Nurses have played a significant health care role in Morris County, as well as in other New Jersey communities.
Though the group approaches health care with different services and programs than those of it's original organization, the Visiting Nurses of today have retained the supportive healthcare philosophy it first established in the late 1800's. Entering into the 21st century, the Visiting Nurse Association offers modern programs of home health care such as in-home physical therapy, palliative care, an array of rehabiliation programs, and hospice services, to name a few. In 1995, in order to reflect its' wider service reach across county lines, the organization became known as the Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey.
The collection of Visiting Nurse Association records contain historical files, meeting minutes, annual reports, and general office files including newsletters, information about the Centennial Celebration of 1998, correspondence, public relations and fundraising information. Also, the records contain information on the early nursing staff and photographs dating from 1884 to the early 1990's.
The records are arranged into three series: I. Historical files, meeting minutes and reports, 1918-1998; II. Office files, 1915-1998; and III. Photographic material and artifacts, 1884-1991.
The Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey Records is open for research under the conditions of the North Jersey History Center archives access policy. Items may be copied for use in individual scholarly or personal research, however, as with all materials in the North Jersey History Center, researchers are responsible for obtaining copyright permission to use material from the collection.
Donated by the Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey, 1998.
Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey Records, 1898-2001 [bulk 1920-1998]. North Jersey History Center, The Morristown and Morris Township Library.
Finding aid processed and encoded by the North Jersey History Center archivist.