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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1271

Hildegard E. Peplau letters to Joan Kessner Austin, 1985-1998


Letters from Hildegard Peplau to Joan Kessner Austin documenting Peplau and Austin's professional relationship, particularly Peplau's role as mentor to Austin as she navigated her career in academia and psychiatric nursing.


  • Creation: 1985-1998


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Joan Kessner Austin is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in letters written by Hildegard E. Peplau is held by Letitia Anne Peplau Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)

The collection contains letters from Hildegard Peplau to Joan Kessner Austin documenting Peplau and Austin's professional relationship, particularly Peplau's role as mentor to Austin as she navigated her career in academia and psychiatric nursing. Peplau's letters record her professional activities and her opinions on trends in psychiatric nursing and psychiatric nursing education and share news about nursing colleagues. Letters also provide advice to Austin on her relationship with her daughter and document Peplau's health issues, including recovery from a stroke she suffered in 1989. The collection also includes an article Austin wrote drawing on Peplau's recovery from her stroke titled "Reflecting on a Nurse's Personal Experience with a Stroke."


Joan Kessner Austin, daughter of Edward E. and Dorothy A. Ziegelgraber Kessner, was born in Tell City, Indiana. She received a BS in nursing from Texas Woman's University in 1975, and an MA (1978) and PhD (1981) in nursing from Indiana University. She was a professor at the Indiana School of Nursing in Indianapolis until her retirement, after which she served as a consultant for the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health. Her research focused on neurological disorders and strokes and on improving the quality of life of children with epilepsy and their families. Austin received several awards for her research, including the Distinguished Contribution to Nursing Science Award from the American Nurses Foundation, the AES-Milken Family Medical Foundation International Research Award for contributions to clinical research, the International Bureau for Epilepsy-International League Against Epilepsy Award of Social Accomplishment, and the Jacob Javits Award for Research in Neurosciences from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2023-M189

The letters to Joan Kessner Austin from Hildegard E. Peplau were given to the Schlesinger Library by Joan Kessner Austin in December 2023.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Hildegard E. Peplau (MC 914) and Additional papers of Hildegard E. Peplau (MC 604).

Processing Information

Processed: February 2024

By: Johanna Carll

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Austin, Joan Kessner. Hildegard E. Peplau letters to Joan Kessner Austin, 1985-1998: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Alice Jeannette Ward Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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