“When I grow up I want to take care of people.” At age 8, Kathleen Ellis apparently already knew where her life was headed. Born in 1887, Kathleen was the second Euro-Canadian child to be born in Penticton, BC, one of nine children of Thomas and Wilhelmina Ellis, who had settled in the Okanagan Valley in 1865. She had to fight against her family in order to achieve her goal, but in 1915 she earned her nursing degree from Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland. Thus began one of the most distinguished nursing careers in Canada.

Kathleen Ellis in 1955; image courtesy of the Penticton Museum and Archives, Penticton, BC (PMA 5703).

The Penticton Museum and Archives has a number of archival gems in its collection, including (not surprisingly) articles by and about Kathleen. But the most interesting item relating to her is this little soft-leather bound notebook, in which the 7-year-old Kathleen records a bit of her day-to-day life. The curators of the Museum were generous enough to let me photograph the notebook, and post it here to share with you all.

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