Collection: MS 1721: Kathleen Raven Archive

Archive Collection icon Archive Collection: Kathleen Raven Archive


Title: Kathleen Raven Archive

Level: Collection 

Classmark: MS 1721

Original reference: LUA/PER/099

Creator(s): Raven, Dame Kathleen Annie (1910-1999)

Date: 1874-1999

Main language: English

Size and medium: 45 boxes; 4 books

Persistent link: 

Collection group(s): Medical Collections

Referencing help | Visit Special Collections


The collection contains papers, photographs, publications, tape recordings and artworks produced or collected by Kathleen Raven in the course of her life and work.

These records begin from her early education at school, then follow on to cover her nurse training and nursing career, with papers relating to each place of employment. The archive also contains papers relating to the various committees and associations Raven was involved with and her philanthropic activities. There are a number of manuscript and typescript copies of her speeches made at various events and conferences; copies of articles either written by or about her; photographs; and personal papers.

In addition, the collection contains a file of letters from the art and social critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) written to Kate Mary Raven (née Smith), who was Kathleen Raven’s grandmother.

Administrative or biographical history

Dame Kathleen Annie Raven was born on 9 November 1910 in Coniston, Lancashire, the daughter of Fredrick William Raven and Annie Williams Raven (née Mason). She had three brothers: Ronald William, John Mason and Fred Smith Raven; she was particularly close to Ronald Raven (1904-1991), who became a renowned surgeon. She was educated at Ulverston Grammar School, then trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, and the City of London Maternity Hospital. She qualified as a State Registered Nurse (SRN) in 1936 and as a State Certified Midwife (SCM) in 1938.

Starting as Night Superintendent at St Bartholomew's in 1937, she then became Ward Sister, Administrative Sister, and Assistant Matron, before moving to the post of Matron at the General Infirmary, Leeds, in 1949. At Leeds she met and later married John Thornton Ingram in 1959 (Physician in charge, Dermatological Department, Leeds General Infirmary, and Lecturer in Dermatology, University of Leeds, 1927-1958). From 1950-57 she was an Internal Examiner for the Diploma of Nursing at the University of Leeds.

In 1957 she left the LGI to take up her appointment as Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at the Ministry of Health (later the Department of Health and Social Security). She became Chief Nursing Officer in 1959, taking over from her predecessor Dame Elizabeth Cockayne, a post she held until her retirement in 1972. She became DBE in 1968.

After her retirement she served as a Civil Service Commissioner (1972-1986), and acted as Chief Nursing Adviser to the Allied Medical Group from 1974-1986, making in the latter role many trips to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries. She was also involved with various committees and associations, notably the Council of the Distressed Gentlefolk's Aid Association (1974-1989), and, from 1992, as Vice President of the Epsom College Royal Medical Foundation. She became a Fellow of the Royal College Nursing in 1986, and received honorary degrees from the Universities of Keele (1992) and Leeds (1996).

In her later years she continued work to influence practices in nurse training, and also wished to set up a chair in clinical nursing at the University of Leeds. The first Dame Kathleen Raven Professor in Clinical Nursing post was appointed in 1997, and the chair continues to the present day. She died on 19 April 1999 in Oxford and was buried in the same grave has her husband at St Paul’s Church, Wingrave, Buckinghamshire.

Sheila Quinn, ‘Raven, Dame Kathleen Annie (1910-1999)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [, accessed 25 April 2016];
Who's Who, 151st edition, January 1999.


Kathleen Raven’s papers were acquired by the Leeds University Archive in December 1999. The papers were arranged and listed under the original reference number LUA/PER/099 as part of the main University Archive catalogue in 2000. A box list was produced (Handlist 159), giving file- and item-level descriptions.

The papers were then transferred to Special Collections in November 2004, where the collection was given the new reference number of MS 1721. The hand list was later replicated on the Special Collections online catalogue under reference MS 1721.

The original hand list stated that the main body of the collection was arranged in roughly chronological order to reflect the activities Raven undertook at each stage of her life. The first 8 sections of the list follow this arrangement, then the rest of material is arranged by format or type (e.g. photographs). It is unclear how the material was ordered originally, and whether the subsequent arrangement reflected this.

The previous arrangement was as follows:
1. School Records
2. Nurse Training
3. Leeds General Infirmary
4. Diaries
5. Chief Nursing Officer
6. Allied Medical Group
7. Other Post-CNO Activities
8. Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association
9. Gifts
10. Honours
11. Speeches by Kathleen Raven
12. Writing by Kathleen Raven
13. Articles about Kathleen Raven
14. Research Requests
15. Miscellaneous Personalia
16. Photographs
17. Speeches, lectures etc. delivered by others
18. Miscellaneous publications, press cuttings etc.

This archive catalogue was produced in 2017 as part of the Wellcome Trust-funded Medical Collections Project (2015-2018).


The previous arrangement of the archive as detailed in the original hand list has largely been maintained for the new catalogue, as the original order of the material is unclear. Some of the original series have been amalgamated to form new series.

Where there are series of records organised by format, each item or file will be cross-referenced to any other associated papers in other series. Any previous reference numbers have been included in the description. Within each file the original order of documents has been maintained; they are generally in reverse chronological order.

The catalogue structure is split into 14 series which are as follows:

MS 1721/1: Education
MS 1721/2: Nurse Training
MS 1721/3: Matron of the Leeds General Infirmary
MS 1721/4: Chief Nursing Officer
MS 1721/5: Chief Nursing Advisor to the Allied Medical Group
MS 1721/6: Committees and Associations
MS 1721/7: Gifts, philanthropy and charitable work
MS 1721/8: Speeches by Kathleen Raven
MS 1721/9: Speeches about Kathleen Raven, by others
MS 1721/10: Photographs
MS 1721/11: Personal and Family Papers
MS 1721/12: Articles and publications by Kathleen Raven
MS 1721/13: Articles about Kathleen Raven, by various authors
MS 1721/14: Collected press cuttings and publications

Access and usage


This collection is subject to various access conditions. Please see individual catalogue descriptions for further details on access.


Material in this collection is in copyright. Photocopies or digital images can only be supplied by the Library for research or private study within the terms of copyright legislation. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain the copyright holder's permission to reproduce for any other purpose. Guidance is available on tracing copyright status and ownership.

Visit Special Collections

Related subjects

WARNING: many of our records have not been classified by subject. So if you search our catalogue by subject using the links below then you are unlikely to find all relevant records. But you will find some...

Education, Nursing

Legislation, Nursing

Nursing care

Public Health Nursing

Schools, Nursing

Health services

Collection hierarchy 

What is an archive hierarchy?

Catalogues of archives are usually arranged in hierarchies - one hierarchy for each collection in the archive. The details on display will be of a record at a particular level of the hierarchy. There may be other records above, below, or alongside this record in the same hierarchy. The full hierarchy is shown below.

Learn more about archive hierarchies

What is an archive hierarchy?

Books, manuscripts and archives in Special Collections are usually grouped together in collections. Catalogue records for individual objects link to a collection record, which show the object's context, and associated material.

You can see the full hierarchy under 'In this collection'.

Learn more about archive hierarchies

What is the Level?

Catalogues of archives are usually arranged in hierarchies - one hierarchy for each collection in the archive. The details on display will be of a record at a particular level of the hierarchy. There may be other records above, below, or alongside this record in the same hierarchy. You can see the full hierarchy under 'In this collection'.

Learn more about archive hierarchies

Collection hierarchy 

Contact us