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Lydia Eloise Williams Hall photo used in 1960s to promote her Nursing Education Talks throughout the United States (Source: https://nurseslabs.com/lydia-e-halls-care-cure-core-theory/)

Lydia Hall an internationally known nurse who grew up in York County

Emily Davies wrote, “You provide key pieces in the never before revealed early backstory of Lydia Hall within your Dr. Louis Williams article. That is, college sweethearts are married at the bride’s home in York, Pennsylvania, on Thanksgiving Day during 1905. Louis’ second newspaper job takes him to New York City for a few months, where Lydia is born 21 September 1906. However within weeks, the family leaves New York City when her father suddenly pursues a medical degree. Into her twenties, Lydia’s formative years were in York County, Pennsylvania, where her upbringing and nursing degree in 1927 undoubtedly providing the solid foundation for her pioneering nursing theory work, while in New York.”

An exchange of e-mails with Emily Davies, a nurse in England, occurred within days of my Christmas post: Christmas Baby a Springettsbury Township benefactor. Emily posed questions about Lydia Eloise Williams Hall, the daughter of Dr. Louis V. Williams; of York’s Polyclinic Hospital and Springettsbury Farmhouse fame.

Emily Davies shone the light on Lydia Hall as an internationally known nurse. Lydia was exposed to the nursing profession thru her work at the Polyclinic Hospital in York, however attained her formal nurse training at the York Hospital during the 1920s; when it was located along West College Avenue in York. After which Lydia returned to New York to further her education, got married to Reginald A. Hall, and become a pioneer in nursing theory with her Care-Cure-Core method.

I’m always interested in learning how readers, outside of Central Pennsylvania, discover my posts. Emily Davies’ daughter was assigned a home school project; commencing with a translated animated introduction for a Japanese nursing program; it caricaturized Lydia Hall, noting she was born September 21, 1906 with her family moving to York, Pennsylvania. The assignment for her daughter was a to determine a unique conclusion connected to the character in the video.

After Emily Davies discovered the video referred to Lydia Hall, she wanted to see what her daughter would do with a book in her library; as opposed to looking for something on the Internet. “Pioneering Theories in Nursing,” by Snowden, Donnell and Duffy, and published in 2010 by MA Healthcare Ltd, London, features theories in nursing education by 27 notable individuals in 27 chapters. Her daughter decided to count the pages devoted to each and report the top three: Chapter 5: Lydia Hall, 24 pages; Chapter 10: Patricia Benner, 22 pages; and Chapter 1: Florence Nightingale, 20 pages. From which, her 10-year-old daughter concluded Lydia Hall ranks as the best nurse by page count.

Emily provided the following quote from that book: “Lydia Eloise Hall was born on 21st of September 1906 in New York City (Hutchison, 2006). Hall’s parents were Louis and Anna Williams and she was the elder of their two children. Despite being born in New York, Hall grew up and completed her nursing training in York, Pennsylvania where her father practiced as a surgeon (Loose, 1994). Hall graduated with a diploma in nursing from the York Hospital School of Nursing in Pennsylvania in 1927 where she spent much of her early career in a variety of nursing posts (Touhy and Birnbach, 2006).”

After Christmas, Emily’s daughter had questions about Lydia Hall’s black and white hair, which prompted an Internet search for other photos of Lydia. That search resulted in the discovery of my Dr. Williams’ post Christmas Baby a Springettsbury Township benefactor. Besides inquiring about other photos of Lydia, Emily hinted not much has been written about the early educational experiences of Lydia Eloise Williams Hall.

Early Educational Experiences of Lydia Eloise Williams Hall [1906-1969]

Researched by Stephen H. Smith; largely via period newspapers backed up by primary documents; when available.

Even though Lydia Eloise Williams was born in New York City, she returned to her parents’ native Pennsylvania when only a few weeks old. It would be twenty-two years before her return to New York; where Lydia furthered her education, got married to Reginald Hall, and become internationally known as a pioneer in nursing theory with her Care-Cure-Core method. This article examines the twenty-two formative years of Lydia growing up in York County, Pennsylvania; providing insight into her early educational experiences and nursing background.

Louis and Anna Williams, were living in Brooklyn, New York, for only a few months when their first child, Lydia Eloise Williams was born September 21, 1906. It is unclear why, however weeks after their daughter was born, Louis decided to return to Susquehanna University; where he completed his senior year and graduated with the Class of 1907. Finishing his degree was likely the result of a sudden desire to become a medical doctor.

Louis Williams was accepted into The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Baltimore, Maryland; a school which later merged with the University of Maryland School of Medicine. While attending school, the second child of Louis and Anna Williams, Henry Vincent Williams was born March 26, 1909, in York, Pennsylvania. Dr. Louis V. Williams graduated with the Class of 1911 at The College of Physicians and Surgeons; he was fourth in his class.

Dr. Louis V. Williams decided to open his initial practice in 1911, as a York County doctor in the Borough of Mount Wolf; which had a population of roughly 350 at that time. The Williams’ home and office was on Second Street. Lydia Eloise Williams’ maternal grandmother is Lydia Ketterman, which may be the reason, for most of her life growing up in York County, the occasional appearance in print as Lydia E. Williams or L. Eloise Williams is more often simply Eloise Williams.

Eloise Williams started first grade in the fall of 1912. She attended a two-room, one-story brick schoolhouse in Mount Wolf. The Grammar Room contained all students in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8. Eloise started in the Primary Room containing all first through fourth graders. In the fall of 1915 Eloise began fifth grade; thus it is clear she was allowed to skip a grade, likely third or fourth grade. Even though she skipped a grade, Eloise still is able to remain at, or near, the top of her classes, throughout nursing school.

In the 9-years, the Williams lived in Mount Wolf, the population of the Borough nearly doubled, resulting in the need for a larger schoolhouse. Construction of a four-room brick Schoolhouse, for grades 1 through 8, was begun in June of 1915. That building opened to students, during February of 1916, on the corner of South Third and Maple Streets in Mount Wolf. Eloise Williams is one of the initial students taught in that building, during her final months of 5th grade; then all of grades 6, 7 & 8. Eloise graduated from this schoolhouse in the spring of 1919. The building still stands, and is presently for sale per the following realty photo.

This four-room brick Schoolhouse, for grades 1 through 8, opened to students, during February 1916, in Mt. Wolf, York County. Lydia E. Williams is one of the initial students, during her final months of 5th grade; then all of grades 6, 7 & 8. The building still stands, and is presently for sale (Realty photo)

In September of 1919, Dr. Louis Williams moved his family to 627 South George Street in York and sold his practice in Mount Wolf to Dr. James Wood, of Barnesboro, Pennsylvania. By that time Louis was performing the bulk of the surgeries at the Polyclinic Hospital in York; which he was a co-owner. That fall, Eloise Williams started ninth grade at York High School. During her spare time during the high school years, Eloise shows up as being involved in the Junior Red Cross and helping at the Polyclinic Hospital.

As a school activity, in her freshman year, Eloise Williams was one of the founding members of a Latin Society at York High School. After the Societas Latina was accepted as a recognized High School Society, they held their first meeting on January 30, 1920. The society sought to better acquaint Latin language students with valuable aspects of Roman life.

Eloise Williams was a member of Societas Latina, all four years at York High. She held positions of Secretary, Vice-President and President of the society. Lydia Eloise Williams is seated at the left side in the following photo of the York High School Latin Society [Societas Latina] within “The Tatler of 1923” school yearbook.

Lydia Eloise Williams is seated at the left side in photo of the York High School Latin Society [Societas Latina] in “The Tatler of 1923” school yearbook; page 151 (Source: E-Yearbook.com)

“Peggy” was the pen name Eloise Williams used for poems she left around the school for schoolmates to discover and enjoy. She was selected as the Poetess for the Class of 1923. Her poem, appearing in “The Tatler of 1923” school yearbook, follows:

Class Poem by Eloise Williams

The Class of ’23 behold,
It’s beauty and it’s splendor.
True hearts united pure as gold,
Go through the years together.

Four years have come and passed away,
Since we first gathered here,
To study hard and sometimes play,
In our High School career.

So these four years have rolled away,
And with them all our troubles.
Love and Good-will are here to stay,
Our cares shall be like bubbles.

If we our duties always do,
Through this world we’ll go smiling.
But shirking work, you’ll surely rue,
And troubles will be piling.

Our colors, radiant Red and Blue,
Let’s flaunt them to the sky.
And add to them, the Orange and Blue,
To honor Old York High.

Our teachers we will ne’er forget,
They’re patient, true and kind,
They’ll linger in our memories yet,
When High School halls are left behind.

Impossible is Un-American,
Our Motto tried and true,
Be loyal to your Country,
And to the Orange and Blue.

Impossible is Un-American,
All things are done to-day,
Just try and you will find you can,
Where you have oft said Nay.

And when you pass out into life,
As master of your fate,
The world will smile upon you,
If you’ll hang on and wait.

And now ‘tis time to say farewell,
To High School friends and halls,
We hope you’ll all be happy as,
We’ve been within these walls.

York High School on the northeast corner of West College Avenue and South Beaver Street in York, PA. Lydia Eloise Williams graduated in the Class of 1923 (Source: York County History Center)

The York High Class of 1923 contained 198 graduates. In 1923, the high school on the northeast corner of West College Avenue and South Beaver Street was overcrowded, such that several portable classrooms were placed on school property; one is shown on the left side of the postcard. Graduating class sizes surpassed 250 at York High prior to the new high school building, William Penn Senior High School, opening in February of 1927.

Lydia Eloise Williams received the Language Prize, consisting of gold coins, for the senior with the highest average in languages, sponsored by the York High Alumni Association. She graduated second in her class and delivered the Salutatorian remarks at the class commencement. The following is Lydia Eloise Williams’ senior photo in “The Tatler of 1923” yearbook of York High School.

Lydia Eloise Williams in “The Tatler of 1923” yearbook of York High School, York, PA; page 39 (Source: E-Yearbook.com)

In the Fall of 1923, Eloise became a freshman student at Gettysburg College, pursuing the Bachelor of Arts course. However, she did not return for her sophomore year, instead enrolling in the York Hospital Nurses’ Training School in the Fall of 1924. At the time, the nurse training at the York Hospital was a three-year course. At graduation for the third year nurses in June 1925, Eloise Williams was awarded the prize as top first year student. Eloise would achieve the top student prize, within her class, all three years.

Lydia Eloise Williams attended the York Hospital Nurses’ Training School from 1924 to 1927, when the following was the main building of the hospital; plus several wings stretching to the west and south. The York Hospital and Dispensary was then along the south side of West College Avenue, next to the bridge over the Codorus Creek. The York Hospital did not move to the hillside south of York until 1930.

Lydia Eloise Williams attended the York Hospital Nurses’ Training School from 1924 to 1927, when this was the main building of the hospital; plus several wings stretching to the west and south. The York Hospital and Dispensary is shown along the south side of West College Ave., next to the bridge over the Codorus Creek (Source: York County History Center)

Upon successfully completing three-years of training, in 1927, per a news article, “the largest class in the history of the institution was graduated from the York Hospital Nurses’ Training School. Fifteen girls attired in the white uniform of a full-fledged nurse, were handed diplomas by George H. Whitely, president of the board of directors. A scholarship medal was awarded to Miss L. Eloise Williams.”

Eloise Williams initially applied her nursing skills at the Polyclinic Hospital at 150 South Duke Street in York; owned by her father, Dr. Louis V. Williams. However, by October of 1927, the York Hospital hired Eloise back, as the Superintendent of the Children’s Department; a position she held until taking a position at St. Marks Hospital in New York City, during September of 1928; at the time of her 22nd Birthday.

New York is where Lydia Eloise Williams furthered her education, got married to Reginald Hall, and become a pioneer in nursing theory with her Care-Cure-Core method. Emily Davies noted the New York part of the Lydia Hall story is well documented in many nursing books and on the Internet. A few sample links follow, or one can do a YouTube search or Google search on “Lydia Hall”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UdxKy8C5LA

https://nurseslabs.com/lydia-e-halls-care-cure-core-theory/

https://www.truthaboutnursing.org/press/pioneers/lydia_hall.html#gsc.tab=0

https://www.slideshare.net/BAHADURNADIR/lydia-hall-core-care-cure-theory

On some of the Internet sites, an occasional date is incorrect. Correct dates are: Lydia received degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University; Bachelors in 1937 and Masters in 1942. Almost all sites have Lydia E. Williams marrying Reginald A. Hall during 1945; however the New York marriage records, available via Ancestry.com, has the marriage occurring on July 26, 1941 in New York (Reference their New York Marriage License Application of July 19, 1941; Volume 6, Page 12746).

Lydia Hall authored 21 publications and articles concerning nursing roles in long term care and chronic disease control. From 1954 through 1968 she was often requested as a speaker at meetings of nursing groups across the United States. The following is the photo Lydia used during the 1950s to promote those talks.

Mrs. Lydia E. Hall, instructor in nursing education at Teachers College of Columbia University, is a speaker at New Jersey League for Nursing on theme “Better Nursing Through Education” (Asbury Park Press, October 3, 1957, page 20)

Addressing Emily Davies’ daughters question about Lydia Hall’s black and white hair. I believe the way that Lydia wears her hat to the side, does lead one to conclude the black “hair” in the following photos, used for talks during the 1960s, was actually a hat of some type.

Lydia E. Hall used either of these photos, usually placed in newspapers, to promote her nursing education talks across the United States during the 1960s (Source of the right, lesser used photo, The Baltimore Sun, June 19, 1964, page 15)

A readers question, from my Dr. Williams’ post, wanted to know where the doctor is buried. That answer is Prospect Hill Cemetery in North York. When his two children die shortly thereafter, they were buried on his lot. The grave marker placed by Lydia’s husband, may have been a temporary marker, except it became the final marker after Reginald Hall remarried; he survived Lydia Hall by 36 years.

The following is the present Prospect Hill Cemetery grave site marker of Dr. Louis V. Williams [1884-1968] and children: Lydia E. Williams Hall [1906-1969] and Henry V. Williams [1909-1973]. It was placed In Loving Memory by Reg.—Lydia’s husband Reginald A. Hall.

Grave site marker of Dr. Louis V. Williams [1884-1968] and children: Lydia E. Williams Hall [1906-1969] and Henry V. Williams [1909-1973] was placed In Loving Memory by Reg.—Lydia’s husband Reginald A. Hall (Prospect Hill Cemetery, Manchester Township, York County, PA; photo by Harry Senft)

Lydia E. Williams Hall was posthumously inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame in 1984 for her services to rehabilitation nursing.

Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos and illustrations in this post.

Links to related posts:

Dr. Louis V. Williams a Springettsbury Township benefactor

Hospital on Doctors Row and more about Williams’ Polyclinic

Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts

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