Southcott, Mary

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Southcott, Mary

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        Mary Meager Southcott (1862-1943), nurse, educator, hospital administrator, social reformer and photographer, was born 21 September 1862 in St. John's, Newfoundland. She was the daughter of Pamela and John Southcott, the latter a prominent St. John's architect and builder. Southcott died in St. John's on 29 October 1943.

        Southcott was educated at the Church of England's Girl's School in St. John's, and in 1899, at the age of 36, she began training as a nurse at the London Hospital Training School. In March 1901, following the completion of her training, she enrolled in a midwifery course at the Maternity and District Nurses Home, Plaistow. She returned to Newfoundland in June 1901 and in March 1903 she was appointed Superintendent of Nursing at the General Hospital. Southcott founded the General Hospital School of Nursing, based on the Nightingale model, and supervised the training of over 50 nurses between 1903 and 1915.

        Because of conflicts with the medical superintendent, Southcott resigned in 1916 and opened a private hospital on King's Bridge Road in St. John's, which focussed on maternity cases and the care of women and children. She also administered a temporary military hospital at Donovan's, which she later organized and ran a military convalescent hospital, Waterford Hall. Between 1921and 1925, Southcott provided training to 60 women in midwifery. She aided in the establishment of a nursing training school at the Salvation Army Grace Maternal Hospital (1929).

        In 1913 Southcott was instrumental in founding the Graduate Nurses Association (1913-1949), the predecessor of the Association of Registered Nurses of Newfoundland and Labrador. She was vice-president of the Newfoundland Midwifery Board (est. 1921) and President of the Child Welfare Association (est. 1921). She was active in the Newfoundland Outport Nursing and Industrial Association (NONIA), the Girl Guides, the Girl's Friendly Society, the women's suffrage movement and the League of Women Voters.

        Southcott was a keen photographer and artist. In 1915 she published a booklet Some Newfoundland Wild Flowers, which contained brief descriptions of local fauna. She was a member of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist congregation.


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        Created - April 24, 2013


        • English



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