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The Little Black Bag

Accession number: 
Production Years: 


Film Properties: 
Length (feet): 
997 (35mm)
Length (minutes): 
Holding Institutions: 

Library and Archives Canada: 35mm, VHS, Betacam.
"One-reel film telling the story of the Victorian Order of Nurses and their contribution to caring for the sick in city hospitals and the remote wilderness. It begins with different scenery in Canada, from rural scenes to busy urban streetscapes. There are stills of founder, Lady Aberdeen, and Queen Victoria, and an engraving of Florence Nightingale. Chief Superintendent Elizabeth [Smellie] is shown. There is a head-and-shoulders shot of VON President Henry Haig Davis of the Supreme Court of Canada, who speaks about the role of the VON, the qualifications of the nurses, the services provided by the VON, and the VON's seeking continued support. Shown is a city street scene with cars and shopfronts (Loblaws Grocterias Co. sign is visible). A VON nurse tends to a man sick with pneumonia in his home and helps his wife to set up the sick room. Nurses are shown in training, being shown how to care for babies and children. A VON nurse is shown arriving by car to make a house call while the voiceover narration emphasizes that the VON charges according to a person's ability to pay. Another nurse is shown in an East Coast community, travelling by rowboat and arriving at a patient's house. On the West Coast, a nurse is shown tending to a black family, which the voiceover states that "dark-skinned aliens are taught to care for their babies". The narrator also says that the VON treats all people, regardless of race, nationality, or colour. A nurse is shown in a VON car with Hamilton painted on the side. Another nurse visits an oriental family in Chinatown. The film shows a map illustrating how the VON provides nursing service across Canada, from its headquarters in Ottawa to its 90 branches."