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Facsimile autograph letter signed, to the Nurses and Probationers at St. Thomas's Hospital.

Availability: In stock

Published: London 6 May, 1881

Stock Code: 127701

OR On display in 100 Fulham Road


A high quality facsimile of Nightingale's annual address for 1881 to the nurses and probationers of the Nightingale School at St Thomas's Hospital, privately printed and given to those in attendance, this particular letter ruminating on the definition of being a woman in the medical field. "These addresses were usually read aloud by Sir Harry Verney, the chairman of the Nightingale Fund, in the presence of the probationers and nurses, and a printed copy or a lithographed facsimile of the manuscript was given to each of the nurses present, 'for private use only'. A few also were written for the Nightingale Nurses serving in Edinburgh" (Preface to Macmillan's 1914 edition entitled A Selection from Miss Nightingale's Addresses, p. v). Scarce in commerce; we can trace just two further recorded appearances at auction.
In her letter Nightingale writes: "To be a good nurse one must be a good woman What is it to be 'like a woman'? 'Like a woman' - 'a very woman' is sometimes said as a word of contempt: sometimes as a word of tender admiration. What makes a good woman is the better or higher or holier nature quietness - gentleness - patience endurance - forbearance with her patients - her fellow workers - her superiors - her equals Let us each and all, realising the importance of our influence on others, stand shoulder to shoulder, and not alone, in the good cause".
Although somewhat sentimental in tone - written, as these addresses were, when Nightingale was declining both in health and influence - it is nevertheless a model example of her simple rhetorical style and her relentless drive to improve the development of training for nurses.

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Octavo, 13 pp. Original printed wrappers, sometime sewn together at fold but now loose with small remnant of string, the lithographed text printed in blue ink.


Wrappers somewhat soiled and lightly creased, with some foxing to the lower edge of the front cover and a few tears to the fore edge of the same, else the contents clean, a very good copy.


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