What early alumnus was admitted to the School of Nursing because the director of the school wanted something from her father?
By Betty Borenstein Scher ’50
Mary Bartlett Dixon, Class of 1903, was admitted to the School because her father was president of the hospital and Adelaide Nutting wanted the hours of work for student nurses reduced to 48 hours a week. Mary would be the example she needed. When she admitted Mary as a student nurse, Miss Nutting told her she did not think Mary would last, that Miss Nutting was going to get her way, that Mary would work longer and harder than any other student because of her father’s position, and that her dad would come to see the light. As Mary told the story, “and she did and I did and he did.” Mary did last, did graduate, and became one of our most active alumnae.
Most of us remember her as Mrs. Cullen, editor of the Alumnae Magazine, which she brought up to the highest standards. She was also a consistent presence on the Alumnae Board, acting as though she was there in case someone wanted to ask her something, not as though she always knew what to do.
Mrs. Cullen was active in non-Alumnae activities as well. During World War I, she worked tirelessly to get officer rank for nurses. Suffrage was another issue very close to her (she even spent time in jail for her enthusiasm).
When her hearing began to deteriorate, Mrs. Cullen became a “leading spirit” for the League for the Hard of Hearing. She began to withdraw from being very active with the Alumnae Association but also began a very happy and relaxed “retirement” to her beloved home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.