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Margaret Bonomo Memoirs

Identifier: MSS-578-SC

Scope and Content

This collection contains the unpublished memoirs of Margaret Bonomo from 1938-1964. Bonomo's memoir is written in the form of letters to her friends and family during the years she worked in public health nursing. Margaret most frequently wrote to her sister Sara Miller. Sara accompanied her on her original trip out to New Mexico in 1938 and eventually makes New Mexico her home. Bonomo wrote this manuscript in the 1980's reflecting on her career. Originally she used fictional names in her story but later changed them to the real names of the people involved.


  • [198-]


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Margaret Bonomo was born Margaret Miller in Findlay, Ohio in December 6, 1912. She enrolled in the Henry Ford Hospital School of Nursing and Hygiene in Detroit, Michigan in September of 1932. After completing a three year nursing diploma course and a brief stint in the local hospital, Bonomo trained as a public health nurse in Detroit and worked from 1936-1938 for the Detroit Public Health Department. Bonomo continued to take evening classes to further her public health nursing knowledge. She then applied and was accepted by the New Mexico Director of Public Health in 1938 to work in Harding County, New Mexico. Bonomo trained in the San Miguel County Health Department at Las Vegas, New Mexico from January through August of 1938. She then transferred to Mosquero, New Mexico in Harding County where she lived and worked until 1941.

Bonomo traveled around the county holding well child clinics, giving immunizations, and educational talks on hygiene. Medical facilities in rural New Mexico remained rudimentary and in many places non-existent. The services of a public health nurse were a welcome addition to traditional methods of healing. Sometimes a physician accompanied her but often she attended the sick alone.

Bonomo left Mosquero in 1941 to attend Wayne University. On a trip to the World's Fair in San Francisco she met her future husband John Bonomo who proposed the night before she went back east to complete her education. Bonomo received her Certificate of Public Health Nursing and married shortly afterwards. The Bonomos moved back to Roy, New Mexico but the war interrupted family life. John entered the army and Margaret returned east to live with her family for the duration of the war. After the war the Bonomos moved frequently finally settling in Springer, New Mexico for eight years where John worked for the Soil Conservation Service. The Bonomos returned to Mosquero in 1954, now married with 4 children. Margaret resumed her nursing career in the Public Health Department. In 1955 she and her family moved to Lovington, New Mexico and Bonomo worked as a school nurse until her husband was transferred to Grants, New Mexico in 1964. Margaret continued her work for the Public Health Department in Grants and her husband worked for the Soil Conservation Service. She and her husband lived in Grants for 29 years.


1 Folder


Memoirs of a public health nurse from 1938-1964, written in the 1980s.

Related Material

Sara Miller Papers Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Greenfield, Myrtle. History of Public Health in New Mexico.(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1962.)
Finding Aid of the Margaret Bonomo Memoirs, [1980s]
Processed by CSWR Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 578 SC::Margaret Bonomo Memoirs)//EN" "nmu1mss578sc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131