Hutchins Library
Special Collections & Archives
Guide to the Mary Holloway Nursing Records Collection

Accession Number: SAA 107
Mary Holloway Nursing Records Collection
Bulk Dates: 1925-1941
.4 linear ft.

Box List

Access and Use

Access: Permission to view is readily granted; permission to publish is at the discretion of Berea College.

Provenance: These items were donated to the Berea College Library in 1990 by Lora Holloway Hawes, of Maceo, Kentucky, who disposed of Mrs. Coffman's effects following her death.

Preferred Citation: Mary Holloway Nursing Records Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, Ky.


This is a collection of records that Mary Finley Holloway kept when she was a field supervisor in Eastern Kentucky for the Kentucky Commission on Crippled Children (later known as the "Kentucky Commission for Handicapped Children" and as of 2007, "Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs"). Nurse Holloway's surviving notebooks include contact information for the counties she visited, along with names, diagnoses and recommended treatment for patients seen at the clinics she supervised.


Mary Finley Holloway (later Mrs. R.D. Coffman) obtained her R.N. from Johns Hopkins Medical Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. In the 1930s she traveled to clinics in Eastern Kentucky as the field supervisor of the Kentucky Commission on Crippled Children, and kept notes on the patients seen at clinics serving 40 Kentucky counties. In the mountains she rode a mule to reach the clinics, and sometimes accompanied patients in need of surgery to hospitals in Louisville. In later years, a relative gave her a Model A vehicle with a rumble seat. The children and their parents were slow to trust outsiders, but the chance to ride in the rumble seat helped gain the children's trust and made them more willing to go with her to the hospital.

The Kentucky Crippled Children's Commission had been founded in 1924. At that time polio and tuberculosis affected many children in Kentucky, as the clinic notes ten years later testify. The Commission was created to provide children crippled by disease, accident, or birth defects with access to professional treatment, particularly children in remote locations or indigent circumstances. It is evident from Mary Holloway's notes that the clinics were frequently assisted by local churches or civic organizations, such as Rotary, in furnishing an appropriate space and perhaps in supplying volunteers.

After her marriage to R.D. Coffman, Mary Holloway gave up the field supervisor position, but continued to work with the Shelby County Crippled Children Committee, chairing it in 1940-41. When clinics for crippled children were held in Shelby County, the doctors sent Mary Holloway Coffman the list of patients and diagnoses, since the County did not yet have a health department.

Box List

1 Ms. Box

Box 1

  1. Letters describing Mary Finley Holloway's papers
  2. Loose Medical Notes
  3. Medical Notebook (1 of 2)
  4. Medical Notebook (2 of 2)

Home > Special Collections & Archives > Southern Appalachian Archives