Tag: World War One

“The Joy of My Life”: Seeing-Eye Dogs, Disabled Veterans/Civilians and WWI

On December 13, 1933, Captain A. J. C. Sington, then Chairman of the British Guide Dogs for the Blind, read a letter from an unnamed veteran of the Great War to the Northern Counties Association for the Blind. In the letter, the veteran described his life before and after receiving his guide dog: The unnamed… Read more →

Searching for a Warm Home: Women and the Italian Refugee Crisis of World War I

In a 1918 article about aid programs for refugee women and children in Italy, Ernesta Fasciotti recalled an encounter with a family she could not forget, describing her impression of a refugee woman: “a true lady, fine and delicate, who was carrying at her breast a newborn of a few months, and had clinging to… Read more →

“Self-Sacrificing Service”: The Life and Death of a Red Cross Nurse in Wartime France

Mary Curry Desha Breckinridge, known as “Curry,” was one of the first American nurses to go to Europe during World War I. Her service overseas — and her untimely death — demonstrate the difficulties and dangers of wartime nursing, even as Curry exemplified popular prescriptions for women’s self-sacrificing service to others. Background Born in Lexington,… Read more →

Neuro-Psychiatry and Patient Protest in First World War American Hospitals

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. As historian and Nursing Clio writer Evan Sullivan tweeted earlier this week, “We’ve always benefitted from the proximity of living within a century’s distance from WWI, but after this Sunday, it will begin to drift further into history. It will be… Read more →

Between War and Water: Saratoga Springs and Veteran Health after the First World War

One month and eight days before world leaders signed the Armistice to end the First World War, New York Governor Charles Whitman wrote to Surgeon General William Gorgas to ensure that his state would play a role in caring for America’s veterans. He advocated on behalf of Saratoga Springs, a vibrant city forty miles north… Read more →

“Shock from Loss”: The Reality of Grief in the First World War

On October 24, 1918, fifty-eight-year-old Elizabeth was admitted to the City of London Mental Hospital by her husband.1 He stated that she had been suffering for the past fourteen months with “shock from loss of her two sons in the War.”2 He further explained that her younger son had been killed in action, and her… Read more →

“Bought some souvenirs as usual and a cheese:” Nurses’ Lives Outside the Hospital in the First World War

A great deal has been written about soldiers’ experiences behind the lines during the First World War and the relationships they forged in the course of their service. From visiting brothels to performing in amateur theatricals, interpersonal and romantic relationships had lasting effects on men after their service had ended.1 Janet S.K. Watson has noted… Read more →

Pathology in Perspective: Wartime Specimen Collecting and the Case of Private Hurdis’ Skull

Rarely does a debate about the bones of soldiers collected during World War I enter into public consciousness. But in recent weeks, the skull of an Australian soldier held by Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians made headlines after the museum removed it from display. The Mütter Museum agreed to return the skull… Read more →

Listening to Women: Accessing Women’s Pain from First World War Pension Records

In March 1917, Nurse G., a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse, was on duty at 29 General Hospital in Salonika, Greece, when the hospital sustained its second air raid in a week.1 According to the matron of the hospital, “in the next tent to where she was on duty a bomb was dropped, completely wrecking… Read more →

VD in the Archives

For something that played such a prevalent role in life at the front, sex and venereal disease (or VD) have been largely underrepresented thus far in the public remembrance of the centenary of the First World War. In 1916, one in five of all admissions of British and Allied troops to hospitals in France and… Read more →