Tag: nurses

Mary Seacole and the Politics of Writing Black History in 1980s Britain

Mary Seacole, the nineteenth-century Jamaican-Scottish nurse known to many as the “Black Florence Nightingale,” has a complicated history in British public memory. After essentially disappearing for a century after her death, Seacole was “revived” with the republication of her 1857 autobiography by editors Ziggi Alexander and Audrey Dewjee at the feminist Falling Water press in… Read more →

Right All the Way Through: Dr. Minerva Goodman and the Stockton Mask Debate during the 1918-1919 Influenza Epidemic

During the 1918-19 influenza epidemic, Stockton, California, adopted a mask ordinance three times, totalling more than seventy days. In late December 1918, Dr. Minerva Goodman, the recently appointed city health officer, lost a debate about ending the second mask ordinance to those advocating a return to normal activities. Just weeks later, as cases rose again,… Read more →

Rediscovering (and Redefining) Clara Barton’s Story

The building was due to be demolished until a carpenter checked the attic. Among old socks and newspapers was a sign that read “Missing Soldiers Office, 3rd Story, Room 9, Miss. Clara Barton.” What the carpenter, Richard Lyons, had discovered was the remains of Clara Barton’s Washington, DC residence, where she had lived during and… Read more →

Garbage Bags and Tomato Cans: The History of Nurses Making Basic Equipment Out of Trash

In spring 2020, images of nurses treating patients while wearing garbage bags instead of standard disposable gowns symbolized both the bravery of frontline clinicians and a shocking lack of preparation for the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. This clever use of a trash bag as well as other everyday items and actual trash to create ad-hoc personal… Read more →

Nursing Justice: Filipino Immigrant Nurse Activism in the United States

When you think about trailblazing women in American nursing history, do Filipino nurses come to mind? Probably not. But they should. The pioneering cancer prevention work of Ines Cayaban in the 1940s, the organizing work of Esther Hipol Simpson to defend two immigrant nurses wrongfully accused of murder in the 1970s, and the current leadership… Read more →

The Racist Lady with the Lamp

Nursing historiography is centered on whiteness. Even worse, nursing history revolves largely around a single white nurse: Florence Nightingale. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean nurses understand who Nightingale was. There are nurse historians doing incredible and diverse work, but in general, nursing, both as a profession and as an academic discipline, promotes a view of Nightingale… Read more →

Creating Community and Finding Connection: A Black Nurse’s Experience in Vietnam, 1966–67

Nobody wanted Elizabeth Allen in Vietnam. From her master’s advisor who questioned why on earth she would want to enlist in the first place, to the Air Force that dragged its feet on her application, to the Army, which initially wanted to assign her to teach at a military-sponsored nursing program at the University of… Read more →

Ruth Taylor Ballard: A Nursing Pioneer In the Jim Crow South

In 1954, the public school system of Mobile, Alabama, launched its first training program for black nursing students. It was a one-year Licensed Practical Nurse Program (LPN). Before then, an African American who wanted to study nursing had to travel to places like Selma, Montgomery, and Tuskegee. Few had the means or the ability to… Read more →

“Everything Seems Wrong:” The Postwar Struggles of One Female Veteran of the First World War

Around the world, ceremonies, public art installations, concerts, lectures, and educational events are commemorating the fallen of the First World War, to make beauty, peace, and sense out of a century of global grief. These ceremonies provide a critical sense of closure to a world still reeling from the political, economic, and personal ramifications of… Read more →

“Battalion of Life”: American Women’s Hospitals and the First World War

Shortly after the United States entered the First World War in April 1917, Dr. Rosalie Slaughter Morton of Virginia published an article describing the work of Scottish Women’s Hospitals, a medical unit staffed entirely by female physicians who were caring for wounded servicemen among the Allied nations. Morton hoped this agency would serve as a… Read more →