Creelman, Dr. Lyle

See Oral History files, Fonds 18, Series 3,Subseries 8

See also the Lyle Creelman fonds in UBC Archives

lylecreelmanDr. Lyle Creelman helped countries around the world build their health care systems. She joined the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in England in 1944, and in 1954 became Chief Nursing Officer of the World Health Organization. On her retirement ICN described her as having “achieved more for nursing through the world than any other nurse of her time”. As Glennis Zilm says “There’s a little story of nurses standing at the bottom of a river pulling bodies out. Lyle went up the river to find out who was throwing them in”.

Lyle was born in Nova Scotia, but moved to British Columbia to attend Vancouver Normal School. She graduated from Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing in 1936 and obtained her BASc (N) from UBC in 1936. In 1939 she graduated with a Masters’ degree in Nursing from Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, which she attended on a Rockefeller Fellowship. In the late 1930s and 1940s she worked for the Metropolitan Health Department of Vancouver.

After her retirement, the WHO commissioned her and a medical officer of health to participate in a study of maternal and child health services in selected countries in southeast Asia. Her many awards include an Honorary Doctor of Laws from UNB (1963), the Canada Centennial Medal (1967), Order of Canada (1971) and Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from UBC (1992).

Contents of biographical file

  1. Biographical Information Profile with signed release.
  2. CD containing photographs of Lyle Creelman’s artifacts held by the UBC School of Nursing, February 2009.Accompanying letter from Glennis Zilm.
  3. E-mails, 2007.
  4. Creelman chronology
  5. Two letters of support for honorary doctorate, one by Helen Shore.
  6. Tribute by Helen Shore, May 2, 1991.
  7. “Lyle Creelman: an Appreciation,ICN Calling, ND, p. 6.
  8. Articles by Creelman
    1. Mental Hygiene in the Public Health Program”, The Canadian Nurse, 36 (10), (1940), 679-684.
    2. What is Public Health Nursing?”, The Canadian Nurse 37 (2), (February 1941), 111-112.
    3. What of the Future?”, The Canadian Nurse 39 (1), (1943), 35-37.
    4. Nurses Honored by Association Before Joining UNRRA, News-Herald, August 22, 1944.
    5. Letters to the Editor: With UNRRA in Germany”, The Canadian Nurse 41 (12), (1945), 986-987.
    6. With UNRRA in Germany”, The Canadian Nurse 43 (7), (1947), 532, 552-556.
    7. With UNRRA in Germany”, The Canadian Nurse 43 (8) (1947), 605-610.
    8. With UNRRA in Germany,” The Canadian Nurse 43 (9) (1947), 710-712.
    9. Lyle Creelman Writes”, The Canadian Nurse 46 (6), (June 1950), 477-478.
    10. Baillie-Creelman Report, “Report of the Study Committee on Public Health Practice in Canada”, Toronto: Canadian Public Health Association, June 1950.
  9. “Nursing Profiles”, The Canadian Nurse 44 (4), (1948), 294-295.
  10. “Nursing Profiles,The Canadian Nurse 45 (7), (1949), 525.
  11. “Nursing Profiles,” The Canadian Nurse 50 (6), (1954), 484.
  12. Lyle Creelman. No source cited, ca. 1972.
  13. “Names,” The Canadian Nurse 68 (9), (1972), 54-55.
  14. File on Creelman adapted from material prepared for the Du Gas book.
  15. Obituaries, articles, funeral program
  16. Photographs of Creelman, 1964, 1966. Creelman being congratulated by Governor-General James Michener following the receipt of her Order of Canada in 1971.
  17. Certificates: Bridgeport High School (1926; Provincial Normal School (1928); First Class Teacher’s Certificate (1931); Vancouver General Hospital; University of British Columbia (1942).
  18. Two colour photographs of figurine donated by Creelman to HoN group. 
  19. Susan Armstrong-Reid, “Lyle Morrison Creelman and Nursing’s New Frontiers, 1931-1945,” Margaret Allemang Centre for the School of Nursing, September 2007.
  20. The following certificates are stored separately, rolled in a red cylindrical container: “Teacher’s Diploma for Writing-Special Merit (MacLean Method of Muscular Movement Writing (1928); RNABC Registration Certificate); Bachelor of Applied Science (Nursing), UBC (1936); Master of Arts, Columbia University (1939); Honorary Doctor of Laws, University of New Brunswick (1963).
  21. List of artifacts dated May 21 2009.


  1. One porcelain Copenhagen nurse figurine.
  2. One replica of Florence Nightingale Crimean lamp.
  3. Box containing four small pieces of commemorative jewellery: Vancouver General Hospital Student Collar Pin (193-), Vancouver General Hospital Graduate Pin (1936); Silver Identification Bracelet (194-); and University of BC Diamond Jubilee Lapel Pin (1992).
  4. Queen’s 50th Jubilee Medal (1952-2002).
  5. Order of Canada Medal (1971) with lapel pin.
  6. CD containing photographs of Lyle Creelman artifacts held by the UBC School of Nursing
  7. List of artifacts that were sold or otherwise disposed of July 9, 2015.
  8. Letter from Gloria Stephens of the Victoria General Hospital SON Alumni Association July 10, 2016 acknowledging donation of Creelman College of Registered Nurses NS Distinction Award.