Jean Payne Rabie Family Papers

1943-2007 [bulk 1947-1952]. 1 box (20 folders), 153 items. MSS. COLL. #220

NOTE:  The numbers cited in parentheses, e.g. 1:5, refer the researcher to the Series#:Folder# in which that name/topic will be found.


This collection consists primarily of materials relating to Jean Payne Rabie’s nursing education at St. Leo’s Hospital and her nursing career in Greensboro and across the country. Researchers interested in the St. Leo’s nursing school and Greensboro’s polio hospital will find this collection particularly useful. Included are newspaper clippings regarding polio patients and treatments, and printed items and photographs relating to St. Leo’s nursing school and its students. Additional materials include political campaign flyers from Rabie’s brother Odell Payne, and photographs of their great aunt Sarah Jane Zimmerman.

Arrangement: This collection is organized into three series by person and arranged within series by document type or subject. The series are: Payne, Odell, ca. 1968-2007; Rabie, Jean, 1943-1991; Zimmerman, Sarah Jane, ca. 1951.

Provenance: This collection was donated by Jean Payne Rabie in September 2013 and assigned accession number 2013.43.1.

Processing: This collection was organized by volunteer Alice Bailey in 2014, and the finding aid was prepared by volunteer Kimberly Oliver in May 2016.


Born to Blanche Pritchett and Robert Payne, Lois Jean Payne (1929- ) graduated from McLeansville High School in 1947 and from St. Leo’s Hospital nursing school in 1950, receiving certification as a registered nurse from the North Carolina Board of Nurse Examiners that same year. She participated in the treatment of polio victims during the Greensboro polio epidemic and then worked for the Red Cross in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Children’s Polio in Minneapolis, Minnesota; the Defense Blood Center in Shreveport, Louisiana; and the Red Cross Blood Program in Charlotte, North Carolina. A Presbyterian, she married Diab Jeries Rabie (1922-2010) and had two sons, Ziad and Diab Jeries Jr.

Jean Rabie’s younger brother, Robert Odell Payne (ca. 1935- ), received a B.A. in Business Administration from Elon College and a Master of Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After teaching for over a decade, he served three terms as a Republican in the North Carolina General Assembly from 1969 to 1974 and lost a bid for Lieutenant Governor in 1976. He was a member of the North Carolina Mental Health Study Commission from 1972 to 1977, a member of the North Carolina Health Coordinating Council 1977 to 1978, and a Guilford County Commissioner from 1980 to 1985. During this time, he was also president of Waydell Associates, Inc., and was a member of Mount Pleasant Methodist Church, the Masons, McLeansville Lions Club, and Greensboro Elks Club. He and his wife Linda had two sons, Lyle and Chad.

Sarah Jane Zimmerman (1861-1955), the great aunt of Jean Rabie and Odell Payne, was the great aunt of Jean Rabie and Odell Payne on their mother’s side. A lifelong resident of Guilford County, she lived with the Payne family in McLeansville in her later years. She and Rabie both slept in a spool bed from Rockingham County that is now held by the museum’s Collections Department. Zimmerman was a member of Apple’s Christian Chapel and died on August 31, 1955.

St. Leo’s Hospital opened in 1906 as the first full service hospital in Greensboro. It was run by the Sisters of Charity as a Catholic hospital, which ignited conflict with the primarily Protestant community. St. Leo’s accepted all patients regardless of religion or ability to pay and was the first white hospital in the state to accept non-white patients. It was known for its advanced medical procedures. The hospital housed the only nursing school in the area, which was also run by the Sisters of Charity and graduated almost 600 nurses. After the hospital closed in 1954, the building was used as a high school before being demolished in 1969.

Biographical Sources: Most of the biographical sources are contained in this collection. The information about Jean Rabie’s husband and children was found in Diab Jeries Rabie’s obituary (Charlotte Observer, July 15, 2010). Additional details about Odell Payne were obtained from the Guilford County Register of Deeds database and “Government’s Role Divides Candidates” (Greensboro News & Record, October 25, 1992). Some details about Sarah Jane Zimmerman were found in her obituary, “Miss Sarah Zimmerman Dies at Niece’s Home” (Greensboro Daily News, September 1, 1955). The historical information about St. Leo’s Hospital was found in “St. Leo’s: A Hospital of Firsts” (Greensboro News & Record, September 23, 1992) and “Alumni fondly remember St. Leo’s, a city hospital and nursing school” (News & Record, April 23, 2006).


Types of materials in this collection include newspaper clippings, photographs, and assorted printed materials. The newspaper clippings cover accounts of patients of the Greensboro polio epidemic and St. Leo’s Hospital students and nurses (2:1-2). The photographs are mainly of a personal nature but also include classes of St. Leo’s and exteriors of the Central Carolina Convalescent Hospital (better known as the Polio Hospital). Several photos show Rabie in her uniform or socializing with other St. Leo’s nurses (2:8). Printed materials take on various forms, including political campaign flyers, information about polio treatments, and materials regarding St. Leo’s students and Nursing Board Examinations.

The bulk of materials in this collection provide information about nurses from St. Leo’s Hospital and the treatment of Greensboro’s polio patients. Rabie’s personal story illustrates a nursing career from that period, including medical responses to the polio epidemic. The lack of substantive information about Odell Payne and Sarah Jane Zimmerman is a major weakness of the collection.


1. Payne, Odell.  2 folders (9 items).  ca. 1968-2007.

Focusing on Odell Payne’s political career, this series consists mainly of political flyers from his campaigns for the North Carolina General Assembly, Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. Many of these items include outlines of his stances on various political issues.

2. Rabie, Jean.  14 folders (128 items).  1943-1991.

This series centers around Rabie’s education at St. Leo’s Hospital and her subsequent nursing career. It consists of three subseries: Newspaper Clippings, Photographs, and Printed Materials.

The subseries Newspaper Clippings includes clippings with images of various graduating St. Leo’s Hospital nursing classes and the 1948 student officers (2:2). It also contains accounts and pictures of recovering polio patients, mainly children (2:1).

The subseries Photographs consists primarily of formal portraits and informal photographs of Jean Rabie during her time as a student at St. Leo’s and as a nurse at the Greensboro polio hospital. Some of these photos show the St. Leo’s Nurses’ Home (2:8), the graduating class of 1950 (2:9), and the exterior of the Central Carolina Convalescent Hospital (2:5). Also included are photos of Jean Rabie at her graduation from McLeansville High School (2:6), with the North Carolina State Nurses Association at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis (2:7), and working for the American Red Cross (2:4).

The subseries Printed Materials includes information on caring for polio patients and period treatments for the illness (2:14). Of particular note relating to Jean Rabie’s education at St. Leo’s are three nursing textbooks (2:17), copies of the student handbook and the Alumnae Association Constitution and Bylaws (2:15), and her diploma and tassel (2:16). Also included are her R.N. certificate from the North Carolina Board of Nurse Examiners (2:11), her American Red Cross card (2:10), and her 1991 North Carolina nursing license (2:13).

3. Zimmerman, Sarah Jane.  1 folder (16 items).  ca. 1951.

This series is almost exclusively composed of photographs of Sarah Jane Zimmerman on her own and with little information. Of note are a newspaper clipping about Zimmerman’s 90th birthday and a photo showing her with four other women: Lola and Annie Faucette, and Ruth and Blanche Payne.


11Payne, Odell-- Newspaper Clippings -- Political Career (2007)
2-- Printed Materials -- Political Campaigns (ca. 1968-ca. 1980)
21Rabie, Jean-- Newspaper Clippings -- Polio Epidemic (1950-1988)
2-- Newspaper Clippings -- St. Leo's Hospital (ca. 1947-1950)
3-- Photographs (n.d.)
4-- Photographs -- American Red Cross (ca. 1952-ca. 1955)
5Rabie, Jean-- Photographs -- Central Carolina Convalescent Hospital -- Polio (1950)
6-- Photographs -- McLeansville High School Graduation (1947)
7-- Photographs -- North Carolina State Nurses Association (1952)
8-- Photographs -- St. Leo's Hospital (1947-1950)
9Rabie, Jean-- Photographs -- St. Leo's Hospital Graduation (1950)
10-- Printed Materials -- American Red Cross Bloodmobile (1956)
11-- Printed Materials -- Board of Nurse Examiners (1950-1971)
12-- Printed Materials -- Miscellaneous (1949, n.d.)
13Rabie, Jean-- Printed Materials -- Nursing Career (1956-1991)
14-- Printed Materials -- Poliomyelitis Nursing (1948-1949)
15-- Printed Materials -- St. Leo's Hospital (1945-1964)
16-- Printed Materials -- St. Leo's Hospital Diploma (1950)
17Rabie, Jean-- Printed Materials -- Textbooks (1943-1947)
31Zimmerman, Sarah Jane-- Photographs (ca. 1951)