Before there was Alfred...before there was George...before there was Gladys...there was Lorena Aina Beck...student nurse.

Lorena studied at the Burnett Sanitarium in Fresno, California. She graduated on January 3, 1922.

Lorena Aina Beck

Really not sure about this building, but I believe it is where the student nurses lived.

Of course there was a lot of studying... (I have 7 of Lorena's notebooks.)

and there were field trips...

and there were friendships...

and there were the joys of work...

and there were hijinks! (click on any image to see it larger)

(WARNING: Time-Traveling-Celebrity in this shot. Jay Leno pretending to be a nurse.)

And in the end, there was Nurse Lorena Aina Beck.

Lorena Aina Beck (Dec. 7, 1898-Nov. 19, 1952; born in Colorado; death in San Francisco at age 52; mother/Sjoberg, father/Beck)

All photos and documents from the George Kallman Estate.

This is my contribution to this weeks Sepia Saturday.

To see other posts about the Kallman family:


  1. Terrific collection. Are the snapshots in the small format - almost negative size?

  2. Yes, they're small. Around 3.5 x 2.25". I shot them with my little Coolpix so as to not risk damaging the album on the scanner. Pictures of pictures 21st century style.

  3. What a wonderful collection of photos but having her books must be the best of all.

  4. It's a shame nurses don't dress in white anymore, they just wear pant suits, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish them from the cleaning ladies. Good post!

  5. A wonderful collection of related photos and ephemera, T+L, thanks for sharing them.

  6. Rosie, you bring up something I had an argument about with some nurses at my local hospital. When my mother was in the hospital I began talking to the nurses about the old uniforms and caps. They all said how glad they were to get rid of the caps. I said yes that's all nice and well, but how are patients and family to really know when a nurse has come into the room?You can't expect a patient to read their name tag and since they were all dressing in street clothes there was simply no way of being sure the person messing with the meds was really a nurse. I don't think anyone had said this to them before. The hospital eventually changed their policy.

    I do remember when friend graduated and got her cap. Was a huge event.

  7. Fantastic snaps! I especially liked the hi-jinks - remarkable!

  8. So very cool post! I remember as a child thinking those nurses hats were like the greatest things on earth...funny how they don't really wear hats anymore....! Thanks!

  9. Those caps were a mark of distinction in those days. Nice post!

  10. How wonderful! My Mom is a nurse, and I remember that in the 60's they were still wearing those caps.

    This is great that you even have her notebooks. You guys keep stuff too.

    Happy Sepia Saturday,

    Kathy M.

  11. It is fun to see all the old-fashioned nursing uniforms. That is still what my image of what a "nurse" looks like, even though they haven't looked like that for a long time.

  12. nice collection. How much more professional they looked with their caps and white starchy uniforms. Today they do look like janitorial staff in the scrubs, but I suppose they are more comfortable. I especially like her last photo, kind eyes, she has.

  13. I love that you have all of these things together. The notebooks on their own - not so interesting - but as part of a collection with the photos and the diploma they're fantastic. I love the photos of the nurses having a good time.

  14. Great photos..I have nightmares of Nurses in caps from when I was in the hospital as a child. I believe they use to have a capping ceremony..my daughter is an RN and she was pinned:)

  15. These are great - such good times I bet.

  16. The pictures of the girls clowning around are wonderful. There is one picture, two girls on a wall and one in the middle looking back at us. That is a truly stunning photo. What a wonderful post, thank you for sharing.

  17. The album these came out of, except for the last photo, is I believe Lorena's album before marriage. I'll need to take a closer look. There are a few more hijinks photos included which perhaps in the future I'll post. And dressed as a nurse she seems to have taken a trip to Venice Beach in Southern California.

  18. Anonymous4/09/2011

    The book must be a treasure but I loved the Hijinks photos :-) My Mum was a nurse in the early 1960's in the UK when everyone was still afraid of "Matron" who ruled the ward. I think nurses still wear white here :-) Jo

  19. Anonymous4/09/2011

    My cousin received her nursing degree in the 80s and she got the cap. She was so thankful she never had to wear it though!

    What a name, Laurena Aina, very alliterative.

  20. Nurses locally wear colorful scrubs most of the time. At least at my hospital they now all wear matching pants.

    And the notebooks are not all that interesting unless you are interested in the lessons she was taught. There is no personal information. It's strictly medical information. But along with the photos and her glasses and diploma it makes a nice collection.

  21. great collection!! they looked like they were a great bunch, Jay included... but a fieldtrip to a crematory???

    alright then...


  22. Yes, I think I'd have called in sick that day. Sure would have turned me off field trips.

  23. I live in Fresno & can confirm that the building pictured is the old Burnett Nurse's Home. It was located at 120 N. Howard Street here in Fresno. Unfortunately the building was demolished several years ago to make room for more modern facilities.

    1. That's a shame. I'm sure it wasn't earthquake safe, but it's always sad to see some of these old buildings go that have interesting character. Thanks for the update.