Two Montana Tech Professors Awarded Research Fellowship


The Butte Historical Society has awarded the biennial Ray Calkins Memorial Research Fellowship to two Montana Tech professors. Henrietta Shirk, Ph.D., Professional and Technical Communication Department, and Elaine Hunter, RN, Nursing Department, have been awarded $1,500 to fund their research project titled “A Half-Century of Nursing Training in Butte, Montana, 1900-1950.”

Shirk and Hunter will engage in historical research to explore the history of nursing education in Butte during the first half of the twentieth century. Their research will be conducted at the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, as well as at the archives of the Montana Historical Society, Montana State University-Bozeman, and the University of Montana-Missoula. They will also be gathering several oral histories from nurses throughout Montana who received or delivered professional nursing training during this period of time in Butte’s history.

“We anticipate that this research project will highlight the importance of nursing training to the development of the Butte community at large,” says Shirk. Additionally, Hunter emphasizes that “the facts about the content of this early period of nursing training and its impact on the nursing students of the early twentieth century will fill a gap in the scholarly history of nursing training in Butte.”

In the future, Shirk and Hunter plan to write and publish two collaboratively-written articles on the findings resulting from their historical research project.