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The Royal College of Nursing’s collection of c.250 historical nursing journals is a fantastic resource for researchers, family historians and students from a huge range of disciplines.

Whether you are a fashion student looking for 20th Century nursing uniform advertisements; a keen family historian searching for your Grandmother; or a nursing historian researching the role of the nurse throughout history.

Our historical nursing journals contain a wide range of information about hospitals, wards, staff, patients, illness and diseases, medicine and treatments, hospital equipment and events. As well as articles, letters and obituaries, the journals contain many photographs relating to all aspects of nursing and a wide variety of advertisements. The advertisements provide a rich source for the history of patent medicines, childcare products, uniforms and social and medical history.

You can make an appointment to view them at the RCN Library and Heritage Centre, London.


In 2001 the Wellcome Trust funded the digitisation of one of the rarest historical nursing journals from the collections.

The Nursing Record was published from 1888 to 1956, changing its name in 1902 to The British Journal of Nursing.

Search The Nursing Record - British Journal of Nursing 1888-1956


We hold historic journals from around the world including North America and the Commonwealth. Modern American nursing began during the Civil War and went on to adopt the Nightingale educational model in the 1870s. By 1889 journals such as Trained Nurse and Hospital Review had been established.

We hold copies of the Trained Nurse (1889-1950) and various other titles.

Our Commonwealth nursing titles include a number where we are the only holders of in the UK. The Jamaican Nurse was the official organ of the Nurses’ Association of Jamaica (NAJ). We have copies of Jamaican Nurse (1961-1986)

We also have copies of Nigerian nurse (1968-1985) which was founded and co-editied by Kofoworola Abeni Pratt, a Nigerian-born nurse who was the first black nurse to work in Britain's National Health Service.

 Our collection covers a wide range of specialisms and clinical areas showing the evolution of nursing, these include Journal for Industrial Nurses.