Cora Olson came to work at Mayo in 1904 as a secretary. By 1918, in addition to her other duties, she helped with the work in Mayo's fledgling art studio where drawings and charts were prepared for the talks and publications of the medical staff.
Following her retirement in 1949, she wrote about her early days at Mayo: "There were no regular stenographers or desk attendants ... It was my job to write letters, register patients, send out bills, cut and sterilize bandages for the dressing room, sterilize and put away the instruments, and fill all of the ointment cups.
"I averaged 75 to 90 letters a day. As the clinic grew, the work became heavier, and all of us worked early and late, even on Sundays when local people, who did not like to take off any time on work days, crowded the corridors.
"One thing has not changed. The people we see here come with heavy, troubled hearts, and all of us, not only the doctors, have a chance every day to show some kindness, render some service, or give a little help."