McGoogan News

From the archives: Notes on nursing history

Engraving of Florence Nightingale (from a portrait), cover of the Trained Nurse and Hospital Review, Vol. LXX, No. 4, April 1923.

By John Schleicher

When we consider nursing history, most of us know the name Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). The library’s rare books collection includes the first British (1859) and the first American (1860) editions of Nightingale’s landmark work Notes on Nursing: What it is, and what it is Not.

Following Nightingale’s work in the 19th century, a number of other nursing innovators and educators, in the United States and other countries, wrote works dealing with the history and professionalization of nursing. Among these important works are:

  • Nursing: its Principles and Practice: for Hospital and Private Use (1893), by Isabel Hampton Robb (1859-1910)
  • A History of Nursing: the Evolution of Nursing Systems from the Earliest Times to the Foundation of the first English and American Training Schools for Nurses (four volumes, 1907-1912), by Mary Adelaide Nutting (1858-1948)
  • A Short History of Nursing: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day (1920), by Lavinia Dock (1858-1956).

Obvious from these titles, the history of nursing and evolution into a profession are very important to these authors.

To see more works on the history of nursing visit the library’s rare book rooms and history of medicine collection. Contact the Special Collections Department to schedule an appointment or inquire at the AskUs desk on the 6th floor of Wittson Hall.

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