- 1938-2001 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
5 boxes, 4 parcels.
Name of creator
Elizabeth Kenny was a self-trained nurse who started her career on the Darling Downs in Queensland before serving as a staff nurse in the Australian Army Nursing Service in 1915. She was promoted to Sister in 1917 and continued to use this title after her she left the army. She became well-known for her controversial clinical management of poliomyelitis and cerebal palsy in children that she cared for in her clinic in Townsville from 1932. Although strongly opposed by many in the medical profession, her treatments became popular as the results proved more positive than traditional methods of immobilization. She became a cult figure around the world, particularly in North America where she started many clinics during the poliomyelitis epidemics of the 1940s. She died in Toowoomba in 1952. A film about her life, Sister Kenny premiered in 1946.
Collection previously titled as: Papers, 1938-2001
Collection alternatively titled as: Elizabeth Kenny Collection.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
Correspondence; file of testimonials from medical practitioners and others in the United States and Canada; reports on her treatment method and summarised lecture notes; some patient case histories, biographical papers and newspaper clippings.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Unrestricted access (1 restricted file).
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Uploaded finding aid
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
The Australian women's register, AWH000059
Material from this collection has been cited in:
Alexander, W. (2003). Sister Elizabeth Kenny : maverick heroine of the polio treatment controversy. Central Queensland University Press.
Rogers, N. (2013). Polio wars : Sister Elizabeth Kenny and the golden age of American medicine. Oxford University Press.
Alma MMS ID
Millennium Local System Number
Libraries Australia ID
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- Kenny, Elizabeth, 1880-1952 (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Dates of creation revision deletion
Revised, AM, 25-May-2020.
Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.