Fonds P215 - Eleanor Wallis Fonds

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Eleanor Wallis Fonds

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Physical description

1 album (50 leaves) ; 29 cm
9 photographs : black and white ; 12.5 x 17.5 cm
1 photograph : black and white ; 19 x 24.5 cm, mounted 30.5 x 35.2 cm
13 diplomas
4 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Eleanor Wallis was born Eleanor Fisher in Philadelphia in 1906. She received her nurse's training in Philadelphia at the Training School for Nurses of the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1929, with a course in pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. While attending a lecture at the Philadelphia Academy of Music, she learned of the work of the Grenfell Mission during a talk given by Sir Wilfred Grenfell, on a speaking and fundraising tour. She volunteered soon after for an 18-month tour of duty at St. Anthony's, Newfoundland, during 1933 and 1934, where she nursed at the main hospital and paid house calls to outlying fishing posts, often by dog sled during the winter. Eleanor Fisher later returned to U.S. and in June of 1934 married Dr. Allan Dinsmore Wallis Jr. in New Jersey. The couple had had four sons and resided in Philadelphia.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists chiefly of a scrapbook created by Eleanor Wallis, née Eleanor Fisher, while a nurse at the Grenfell Mission in St. Anthony, Newfoundland, as well as diplomas and certificates for her and her husband, the physician Allan D. Wallis, and reprints of medical articles by Allan D. Wallis. The Grenfell album consists of photographs taken by Eleanor from 1933-1934 and printed items such as postcards, calendar pictures, and reproductions of photos made for sale by the Grenfell Mission. Photographs have handwritten captions with some personal annotations. One of the postcards shows a young nurse walking along a stretch of road leading to the village of St. Anthony's: this is Eleanor Fisher. Some later photocopies have been taped or laid in. Thirteen certificates and diplomas attest to Eleanor Fisher's training as a nurse (1929) and Allan D. Wallis's training as a physician (1925-1959), including Eleanor's Registered Nurse certificate, diploma from the Training School of Nurses of the Pennsylvania Hospital, and pediatrics nursing course certificate, and certificates attesting to Allan's residency training at the Pennsylvania Hospital, medical licence and diplomas, board certification in pathology, and a presidential certificate of appointment as an examining physician for the Pennsylvania Selective Service (this last is accompanied by a letter from the Governor of Pennsylvania). Two folders contain reprints of articles by Allan. D Wallis dating between 1941 and 1954. There are also 9 prints of photographs from the scrapbook, with captions on verso, accompanied by negatives. Lastly, there is one copy of a poem entitled "The Nurse" on oversized paper, the College of American Pathologists Code of Ethics, and one large group portrait photograph of hospital staff.

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Donated by Faith and Kendall Wallis during the early 1990s.


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  • English

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Eleanor Wallis's Grenfell-cloth parka with seal-fur trim, sealskin boots, and ceinture-fleché are held in the collection of the McCord Museum.

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Scrapbook pages are removed from binding.

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