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Penn Libraries News

Jessica Martucci Named Curator, The Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing

Jessica Martucci

The Penn Libraries and Penn Nursing are pleased to announce that Jessica Martucci has been named Curator, the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, effective August 28, 2023.  

Working closely with recently appointed University Archivist John Bence and colleagues in the Penn Libraries’ Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts, Martucci will guide the Bates Center’s teaching and research services, collection strategies, and exhibition programs, fostering engagement with the Center’s archives and bringing together students, faculty, and researchers from Penn and around the world. This inaugural role was created through a partnership between the Penn Libraries and Penn Nursing, driven by their mutual goal to support research and scholarship and advance knowledge in the history of nursing and healthcare.

“The Penn Libraries’ mission is to partner with communities at Penn and beyond to produce, preserve, and provide access to knowledge, and we are delighted to work with Penn Nursing and the Bates Center to introduce this position,” says Constantia Constantinou, H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost and Director of Libraries. “Jessica’s expertise in building connections between the history of healthcare and our contemporary systems through scholarship, public history, outreach, exhibitions, and teaching makes her uniquely qualified for this important new role.”  

“We at Penn Nursing are thrilled to welcome Jessica to our community,” says Antonia M. Villarruel, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing. “With her passion for history and health care, past teaching experiences in the School of Nursing, familiarity with the Bates Center Archives, and the expanded partnership with the Penn Libraries, I am confident that she will continue to grow the Center’s collections and make the Bates Center even more accessible, far beyond the walls of Claire M. Fagin Hall. We are immensely proud to be able to build on the strong foundation that Penn Nursing has created to advance scholars and scholarship in the history of nursing.”  

Martucci is a historian of medicine who has published and presented widely on the history of healthcare, often with a focus on issues of gender, equity, and social justice. She is the author of Back to the Breast: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding (University of Chicago Press, 2015), for which she relied on materials from the Bates Center’s collections, among other sources, to write about the role of the nurse in women’s experiences with breastfeeding in the 20th century. She is also co-creator, with Britt Dahlberg, of The Beyond Better Project, an interdisciplinary public medical humanities and social media initiative launched in 2020.  

Currently Martucci is Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in the History and Sociology of Science Department at Penn. Her previous academic and professional experience ranges from processing and developing finding aids for the Walter J. Lear U.S. Health Activism History Collection, to positions as assistant professor of history at Mississippi State University, bioethics researcher at Columbia University, and oral history researcher and museum curator at the Science History Institute.  

In her new role as Curator for the Bates Center, Martucci will be responsible for growing the Center’s collections, establishing acquisition priorities, and partnering with faculty, staff, and donors to acquire new materials. She will also play a key part in ensuring that the Center’s archives thrive as a hub of research, learning, and innovation.    

“I have long admired the unique work and collections of the Bates Center in promoting the study of the history of nursing,” says Martucci. “Nursing as a practice, profession, and system of knowledge is a critically important part of healthcare’s past, present, and future. I am thrilled to be able to step into this new role as the Center’s Curator, where I look forward to developing and expanding the collection’s visibility and impact.”

Martucci holds an MA and PhD in the history and sociology of science and an MBE in bioethics, all from Penn. She also holds a BA in environmental studies and biology from Oberlin College.