The Mystery of M. Stoudt

One of the things I particularly like about collecting nurse’s pens is the history: more than likely there has been a nurse on the other side of time who once used the pen that I now have inked and before me.

Like any other pen set, nurse’s pens were given as gifts and testimonials, and sometimes even monogramed for the recipient. This is the case with a set I bought from Fred Gorstein .

The set I purchased is an Esterbrook red jewel and mechanical pencil set, both of the pieces monogramed MARGARET STOUDT. They seem to have been never used. What could be the story behind them?

Monogramed Esterbrook nurse’s pen set–pen and pencil. (Author’s Collection)
Red tip, indicating the pen was to be filled with red ink and used for charting during the 11pm -7am shift in the hospital. (Author’s Collection)

I did a thought experiment: Maybe Margaret was a nurse, and upon retirement was give this monogramed set as a testimonial, a set never used but kept as a keepsake. These pens were manufactured in the early 50s. Was there any evidence of a Margaret Stoudt, R.N. who might have had one?

The Search for Evidence

In the old days, I’d have been in the library, seeking out references that might have shown that there had been a nurse with this name.

But these aren’t the old days, and today, a good search engine can be your friend.

After about thirty minutes of searching, I struck gold:

Newspaper Clipping from the Lebanon Pa. News, September 15, 1952

“A retired nurse, she had been graduated from the Knickerbocker Hospital, N.Y.C., and had nursed in New York for many years.”

Lebanon Daily News, 9/15/52, pg 6.

Margaret died in 1952. My hypothesis that this pen was given to her for retirement, perhaps a few years before her death, is a real possibility.

I am thrilled to add this to my collection, not only because it is the first of my red jeweled nurse’s pens, but because I have found what could possibly be an actual connection with the nurse who used it.

This is the exact reason I love collecting these pens!


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