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Elizabeth Kirk Fund Benefit

Providing Assistance with Medical Expenses
A Benefit of Membership in Connecticut Nurses’ Association

In December of 1959 Connecticut Nurses’ Association received a bequest in the will of Elizabeth Kirk. One-tenth of the income from Miss Kirk’s estate has been received quarterly since that time and is used for the medical care of members of Connecticut Nurses’ Association.  The Association established the Elizabeth Kirk Fund as the result of this bequest which was invested to provide an annual income to be used for such care.

Who was Elizabeth Kirk?

We know that Miss Kirk was a private duty nurse and a member of the Connecticut Nurses’ Association.  Eleanor Hermann, RN, MSN, EdD was recently able to verify Miss Kirk's 1894 graduation from Connecticut Training School for Nurses.  In the school's 1895 annual report Miss Elizabeth Kirk of Waterbury is listed among the, then, 313 alumnae of the school.  She also was a member of The Second Congregational Church of Waterbury and a sister, Harriet Kirk.  Miss Kirk died in Waterbury on May 12, 1959.

Obituary from Waterbury Republican, Thursday, May 28. 1959
Miss Kirk Rits Friday; Became Artist at 60

Miss Elizabeth Kirk, 92-year old artist, former school teacher, nurse, and world traveler. She was born in Waterbury and the daughter of the late Henry and Bethia Kirk. She was one of the oldest members of the Second Congregational Church. 

Following graduation from Waterbury High School in 1884, when the graduates included a total of but three girls and three boys, Miss Kirk became a schoolteacher for eight years, then studied nursing in New Haven, remaining in that profession for 25 years. 

Upon retirement, she traveled extensively, and, during leisure time took up painting in water colors. At 60 years of age, she entered the Waterbury Art School in 1926 and became so proficient at painting, that the Mattatuck Museum’s Little Gallery featured an Elizabeth Kirk showing, which included landscapes, still life, portraits and sea scenes.          

Expert opinion and evaluation of her work on canvas have been heard from Lewis York, retired chairman of the Yale School of Fine Arts. Owner of a still life painted by Miss Kirk, which he added to his collection of contemporary American art, Prof. York said: “this painting makes those of Rousseau look contrived, and those of Braque look like the work of a charlatan.”

But That's Not All

We also know that she was a very generous woman who gave a considerable legacy.  Her bequests established the Seven Charities

  • The Congregational Board Pilgrim Memorial Fund

  • The Second Congregational Church of Waterbury(now First Congregational Church

  • The Young Men’s Christian Association

  • The Waterbury Day Nursery Program

  • The Connecticut Junior Republic Association

  • The Waterbury Visiting Nurse Association (now Visiting Nurse and Home Care, Inc.)

  • The Connecticut Nurses’ Association

Miss Kirk's bequest to CNA was to be used "to assist members with medical bills."  The Association established the Elizabeth Kirk Fund.  Income from this fund has been used to assist association members with medical bills.  In addition, for a few years CNA used some funds to promote the health and wellness of Connecticut's nurses.

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