Josephine Heslop Manning
Interviewed by Marci Farr
20 May 2008
Oral History Program
Weber State University
Josephine Heslop Manning
20 May 2008
Copyright © 2009 by Weber State University, Stewart Library
The Oral History Program of the Stewart Library was created to preserve the institutional history of Weber
State University and the Davis, Ogden and Weber County communities. By conducting carefully
researched, recorded, and transcribed interviews, the Oral History Program creates archival oral histories
intended for the widest possible use.
Interviews are conducted with the goal of eliciting from each participant a full and accurate account of
events. The interviews are transcribed, edited for accuracy and clarity, and reviewed by the interviewees
(as available), who are encouraged to augment or correct their spoken words. The reviewed and
corrected transcripts are indexed, printed, and bound with photographs and illustrative materials as
available. Archival copies are placed in Special Collections. The Stewart Library also houses the original
recording so researchers can gain a sense of the interviewee's voice and intonations.
The Dee School of Nursing was founded in 1910 to provide training for nurses who would staff the new
Dee Memorial Hospital. The first class of eight nurses graduated from the school in 1913 and the school
continued to operate until 1955, with a total of more than 700 graduates. A new nursing school and home
located just east of the hospital was completed in 1917 and all nursing students were required to live in
the home during their training.
This oral history project was created to capture the memories of the school's alumni before their stories
disappear in the same way the Dee Hospital has disappeared. The oral interviews focus on how the
women became involved with the school, their experiences going through training, and how they used the
Oral history is a method of collecting historical information through recorded interviews between a
narrator with firsthand knowledge of historically significant events and a well-informed interviewer, with
the goal of preserving substantive additions to the historical record. Because it is primary material, oral
history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete narrative of events. It is a spoken
account. It reflects personal opinion offered by the interviewee in response to questioning, and as such it
is partisan, deeply involved, and irreplaceable.
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the Stewart Library of Weber State University. No part of the manuscript may be
published without the written permission of the University Librarian. Requests for
permission to publish should be addressed to the Administration Office, Stewart
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It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Josephine Heslop Manning, an oral history
by Marci Farr, 20 May 2008, WSU Stewart
Library Oral History Program, Special
Collections, Stewart Library, Weber State
University, Ogden, UT.
June 20, 1940
In Uniform, 1943
Class of 1944
Josephine Heslop Manning
September 16, 2009
Abstract: This is an oral history interview with Josephine Heslop Manning. It was
conducted on May 20, 2008 and concerns her experiences with the Dee School
of Nursing. The interviewer is Marci Farr.
MF: This is Marci Farr interviewing Josephine Manning at her home in West Weber
on May 20, 2008. Josephine, could you tell us about what it was like growing up
in West Weber.
JM: I was born and raised in West Weber. I graduated from Weber High School and
then after one year of college I went into nurses training in about 1941. Then we
had only been in six months and the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. It was a
very serious time because they took a lot of our nurses and a lot of our young
doctors and it made our training a lot different. We were taught things that only
the interns were allowed to do, like to help draw blood. Sometimes we’d get
caught in a bind and have two babies being born at once with a doctor in one
room and a nurse in the other room because there were no other doctors to call.
We learned a lot. We got a very thorough training.
MF: What about when you decided to become a nurse? Why did you decide to be a
JM: My first year in college I wasn’t happy with it. Part of it was because I worked too.
I would go to school and then I would get through and work at the railroad till
night. So I didn’t have any social life at all.
MF: Why did you choose to go to the Dee School?
JM: Because it was close to home. It was right here and I had several cousins that
graduated. One trained the same years I did.
MF: Who was that?
JM: That was Almira Heslop.
MF: What sort of assessments did you have to take to get into the school?
JM: I hadn’t planned on going into nursing. In college I had taken some dietary
classes, but no chemistry so after I got in, they said I could go back and take a
chemistry class because I didn’t have to take the others. So that way I was able
to be with the class.
MF: So you did that at Weber College?
MF: What were your first impressions of entering the nurses training? What was going
through your mind when you first got in there? Was it harder than you expected
or was it just okay?
JM: They were very strict. They made sure you did everything just right. It seemed
like sometimes they were picking on you. But I felt if they were trying to get rid of
me I’d show them I’d stay in. [Laughter] But no I loved it. I loved working with the
people. Sometimes at first it didn’t seem fair. You’d have people who should live
that died. A ruptured appendix in a young person in those days was many times
fatal, and then you’d have someone in the next bed who would have the same
thing, an old guy they’d picked up at the railroad would get better and walk out. It
didn’t seem fair.
MF: Tell me about how you cared for your patients when you first started your
training? What sort of tools did you have?
JM: The first six months you’re called a Probie and you don’t do anything without
somebody being right there. And the first thing you do is to have a partner, a
roommate or one of the other girls, you did everything to her. I mean you learned
to bathe a patient by bathing your roommate and the same when you’d start
giving shots only we’d give shots to each other. The first time we had to go alone
and give a bed bath that was a terrifying thing. [Laughter]
MF: Did you live at the school?
JM: We lived in the Nurses Home.
MF: In the Nurses Home, do you remember Catherine when she was there? Do you
remember Catherine Hogge when she had the store?
JM: She was over the store.
MF: She was telling me a story about how the nurses had to go in at a certain time.
You had your curfew that you had to be in the house. You’d take food to other
JM: We had a cloak room with no windows. We had to have our lights out at ten
o’clock. Sometimes we would have little parties after lights out with the help of
Catherine from the Corner Pharmacy. She would bring us a big bottle of coke or
root beer and some cookies. So we’d get in that cloak room and we’d sit and talk
because we could shut the door and they couldn’t see any lights. So sometimes
if we hadn’t got in touch with Catherine, one person would sneak out and go
across the street to the store. Then they would have to come back and we’d have
to let them back in. So you had two chances of getting two people caught. The
one that let them in and the one that went to the store.
MF: I thought that was a great story, and I had to ask you about that. Tell me about
some of your classmates, people you were roommates or friends with that you
knew from that school.
JM: I’m kind of outliving all of them. My first roommate, she didn’t adjust to nursing
and after about six months she quit. They thought it would be better so she quit.
Then I went through most of the time with a roommate name Kathryn McFarland.
Almira Heslop was in the same class. There were girls from Willard and girls from
Idaho. We had fourteen that ended up graduating out of about twenty-five. Of
course they couldn’t get married in those days, so if some of them fell in love and
decided to get married they had to quit.
MF: Interesting. So why? Because they wanted them to focus on school, is that why
the nurses did that? So tell us about your teachers. Who were some of them
you remember from your training?
JM: When I went in our administrator was named O. B. Glasscock. She was an older
woman. She was the grandmotherly type. She was strict. A great teacher that we
had was Mrs. Miner, a very good teacher and she taught very well. Some of the
doctors would teach classes. I have to say one thing, we took a class called
Materia Medica, the drugs, well everybody flunked it. So we all had to take that
MF: You had some of your training at the hospital as well right? You had to take some
classes there or did you have to take them from Weber College?
JM: We took a lot of them right at the nursing home. Some of the classes were in the
evenings, because after six months you are working eight hours a day. So not
only do you have your classes, and you have to work eight hours a day, then you
have to get your lessons. So there were a lot of times when we hid in the closet
with a little lamp and would study.
MF: Tell us about your work schedule while you were at the hospital. What was your
schedule like after your six months when you started working?
JM: At first they start you with the very basics. You did housekeeping. You changed
the flowers and you cleaned the unit after a patient went home. So that was at
first and then pretty soon you would be given a patient and you would give bed
baths and take care of them. You would have so many baths, and still have to be
to class by eleven. You would rush like mad to get everything done so you get
over to the Nursing Home and get in class. Every morning we always had a
prayer and a song and a little spiritual thing.
MF: Did they require you to attend church on Sundays?
JM: They didn’t. We worked a lot of Sundays.
MF: If you had chance and you had it off?
JM: Always. There was a ward we could go to.
MF: What about your living arrangements at the Nurses Home? What were they like?
JM: You had two girls to a room and you each had a desk, a closet and a bed. That
was about all you had. You were not allowed to have a radio in your room. They
had one out in the lobby. You weren’t allowed, but I knew several girls that had
them hid in the garbage can.
MF: How many girls lived at the home?
JM: Oh, it would be different at different times. In our class when we started there
were twenty-one of us. There are three floors to the nursing home. As you went
up the scale, each year we would move up a floor. The rooms were better on the
top floor. We started in the basement. We had our own laundry and a kitchen.
We had a house mother. Her name was Mrs. Woods. She made sure we were all
tucked in bed. She would check at night, make sure everybody was in and the
lights were out. Lights had to be out by ten o’clock.
MF: Tell me about a normal day. What would start your day off if you had a normal
JM: If you were working the day shift then you’d probably have to be to the hospital
there any time after six if you wanted to have breakfast. You had to be up at the
Nurses Station for the report from the night shift on all the patients at a quarter to
seven. So you would be up and over and had your breakfast and be on the floor
at a quarter to seven at least.
MF: What were some of the rules of the nurses training that you had to follow?
JM: You could never date a patient. And they were very careful that you were sure
you didn’t embarrass the patient, that you always had them covered and were
very careful with towels and everything so you didn’t embarrass anybody.
MF: What would you do if you did get a night off? What was something that you would
go and do?
JM: We didn’t have a car. If it was a weekend and I had a night off my dad would pick
me up and I’d go home for the weekend, but usually you just did something
around the nursing home, or went to a movie. I don’t think I went to very many
movies. We just kind of stuck around the nursing home.
MF: Were there any traditions at the Dee Hospital or the Nurses Home that would
connect to the nurses? Were there any that you remember, any traditions that
JM: We always had a tea and the older girls would be in charge of that. We put on
this tea and had a little bit of entertainment. When the class graduated there
would always be a dance. A lot of the girls did have boyfriends and they would
date, but they had to be in at a certain time. Saturday night I think you could stay
out a little later.
MF: So was there a capping or pinning ceremony that took place?
JM: This was a real big deal. When you’d been there six months and they decided
you would make a good nurse, then they had a capping ceremony. This was held
in the church that was on 23rd Street just below Harrison Boulevard. We would all
march over there in our capes and white shoes. We’d go over there and we’d get
capped and there would always be some speeches and stuff like that.
MF: Would they give you your uniform at that time or was that when…
JM: No we already had those, but not our caps. And when you got your cap it had
one stripe on it, meaning that’s your first year. There was never a big deal about
the second or third stripe, but you were always happy to get it because it gave
you a little more authority.
MF: How did you feel when you finally graduated?
JM: When I graduated I went to Salt Lake and spent three days there taking state
exams. I stayed in a hotel and you’d go over and take all these tests in one day
and then I’d would go back and look up the answers in my books and I was just
so sure I were going to fail them all. After they were all done we came back and
we just went back to our schedule. It might be three days before they would say
everybody passed. That was great when we heard we’d passed. I was more
embarrassed about what I would tell my mother if I flunked.
MF: Did religion play a role at the hospital at all? Did that have any influence at the
JM: They honored every religion. We had a lot of people who were administered to.
We had a chapel and other churches or groups could meet in there if they
MF: What about your relationships with your patients. Do you remember any that you
got close to while they were there?
JM: You naturally just like lots of people everywhere. I enjoyed the patients and if one
was cross, why they usually had a reason, but I enjoyed the patient care.
MF: After graduation did you stay at the Dee? Where did you go after you graduated?
JM: There was the war on. We’d only been in six months and the Japs bombed Pearl
Harbor. So when we got out then we were going to be close to our jobs. I’d had a
little trouble with some of my supervisors. I don’t remember now what it was all
about, but I went to Salt Lake to work. I didn’t stay very long and came back.
Then I did private duty and then I got married.
MF: What was your greatest challenge as a nurse? Were there any challenges when
you were training or after you were graduated? Any challenges that came across
or was it okay since you’d gone through the training?
JM: I enjoyed every bit of it. I was determined the longer I was in the more I knew I
was going to be a nurse. After I got out, I would have loved to have gone on and
studied to be an anesthetist but then I couldn’t get anybody to go with me.
MF: Were there any nursing procedures that were hard or that you had hard time
JM: Mostly everybody was strict. Each procedure was taught by a teacher or by a
doctor, usually an intern.
MF: So it was mostly just the roles. Do you think there have been a lot of changes
that have come since you’ve been a nurse?
JM: Oh a huge amount of changes. We were bedside nurses. We knew how to take
care of patients. I have worked with nurses that didn’t even know how to give an
enema and they had two or three degrees. They get more into the technical stuff.
MF: That’s good. Do you have anything else you want to ask her Sarah?
SL: What did you get paid per day when you were in training? Did you get paid?
JM: Probably ten dollars a month.
SL: Ten dollars a month?
JM: Yes. As I remember.
SL: Do you remember how much your tuition was?
JM: Ninety-four dollars and my dad had to buy the cape. He paid for everything. I
decided to go in such a hurry, but they furnished the uniforms and we bought the
cape. And they gave us the caps when we got them.
SL: Did you spend holidays at the nursing home or could you come home, like for
JM: Lots of times you had to work. So it would be low man on the totem pole that gets
stuck at work.
SL: For those that were stuck at work did they do something special for you,
especially during Christmas?
JM: I think the classes would just get together. We had little groups like you have
everywhere. We got along and so we would just get together. I don’t remember
that we did anything big. Maybe if we’d have one day off we’d go home. If I was
off my folks would come get me and I’d go home and spend the day with them.
MF: That’s good. That’s all I had. I don’t know if you had anything else? We
appreciate you doing this Josephine. Thank you. This will be helpful. This is so
interesting. Is there anything else that you wanted to say or are you alright with
what you’ve said?
JM: That’s long ago.
MF: We appreciate you taking time to do this.
JM: I know that they gave good training. They gave very thorough nurses training,
now they don’t have the time. They have too many students. They can’t get them
in the hospital to do the work so they can learn. We did the work and then we
learned. I think that‘s the only way to do it.
MF: Hands on. Well we appreciate that. Thank you.
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