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Notes on Nursing: what it is, and what it is not.

New edition, revised and enlarged.

London: Harrison, bookseller to the Queen, 1860 Stock Code: 144140
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Presentation copy to her fellow Nightingale School instructor John Croft of the "fullest and most scientifically oriented" version of Notes on Nursing

Second edition, a superb presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title to her fellow instructor at the Nightingale School: "Offered to John Croft Esq. with Florence Nightingale's sincerest joy at finding herself his fellow-worker in the Nurse-training business London 1873". Designated by Nightingale the Library Standard edition, this is the "fullest and most sophisticated" version of this landmark text on nursing (Skretkowicz).

A senior surgeon at St Thomas's Hospital, John Croft (1833-1905) was introduced to the Nightingale School in early 1873, at the recommendation of Nightingale, to replace Richard Whitfield. The aforementioned inscription strongly suggests that Nightingale presented her new colleague with this copy of Notes on Nursing on his appointment, choosing the most pertinent and complete edition of Notes for his professional use. Croft was instrumental in revitalising the School's training scheme. "Croft's method of teaching delighted Miss Nightingale because he linked the theory and clinical work" (Abbott, pp. 138-9), and his revised syllabus and reading list were approved by Nightingale "without question" (McDonald 2019, p. 40). It was Croft, "one of the earliest hospital surgeons in London to adopt Listerian methods" (ODNB), who introduced germ theory and information on disinfectants and antiseptics into the curriculum, despite Nightingale's own reservations on the subject.

Notes on Nursing was a hugely significant text for Croft, and his lectures borrowed extensively from its contents. "The first reference to Notes on Nursing being used as a text was in 1873 when the new principle lecturer, John Croft, wrote that students were to read it four times during their year of probationers' training" (Abbott, p. 137). Later in 1873 Croft published his lectures, with a subvention from the Nightingale Fund, under the title Notes of Lectures at St Thomas' Hospital. "They are the first nursing lectures published anywhere and serve well to show what was taught at the school" (McDonald 2019, p. 40). On Croft's retirement Nightingale wrote him a "glowing letter of appreciation" (McDonald 2009, p. 188). They kept in touch - he visited her as late as 1900 - and she left him 100 in her will, though he predeceased her.

Originally published six months before the opening of the Nightingale School at St Thomas's Hospital in London in June 1860, Notes on Nursing was not intended to be a textbook per se but as a book of hints for those nursing in the hospital ward and in the domestic sick room. Nightingale provides practical descriptions of the nurse's duties in supplying her patient's needs, and "indicated a new and more responsible role for nurses, one that required proper training and medical knowledge" (Hook & Norman).

The Library Standard edition, as Nightingale designated it, was published in July 1860 in a print run of 2,000 copies, and appeared in two entirely different bindings. The deluxe "extra cloth" copies were priced 6s. and the others, "in black or blue-black semi-hard covers, with scrollwork at the corners, were probably priced at five shillings" (Skretkowicz, p. 7). The present copy falls in the second category. "Only the second version of Notes on Nursing, published as the Library Standard edition in July 1860, was intended for use as a reference work by professionals. This contains by far the fullest and most scientifically oriented text, and it begins with the comprehensive 'Digest' of its contents, listing with a great degree of accuracy the headings that fill the margins of the book. In its day, it was expensive to produce and purchase. Designed to occupy a place on the library shelves of the influential and the wealthy, the deluxe format of this second edition gave the book respectability and permanence - but its literary and meditative qualities jarred against Nightingale's growing preoccupation with social reform. As her thoughts shifted away from the privileged toward achieving the widest possible dissemination of her ideas among the masses, she excerpted from this second version the most generally applicable sections for Notes on Nursing for the Labouring Classes. The Library Standard edition was never reprinted" (Skretkowicz, p. xvii). As the fullest version it formed the basis of most early translations, and continues to be used for many modern editions.

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Octavo. Original charcoal bead-cloth, rebacked, front cover lettered in gilt, blind-stamped panel of double fillet with scrollwork corner decoration to covers, new pale yellow endpapers. Housed in a black cloth flat-back box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Table at rear.


Wellcome Library deaccession stamp to title page verso, a few instances of marginalia (small pencil correction to p. 185, marginal markers to pp. 207-9, a section on "Convalescence", which correspond to marks made against the contents pages). Wear to board extremities, fore edge of half-title neatly reinforced, contents crisp and generally clean with the occasional faint spot, some shallow chips to fore edge of A8 and a couple of small closed tears to leaf edges, original rear free endpaper preserved at rear, on verso of which is penned a short biography of Croft. Overall a very good copy.


Cushing N100; Osler 7739. Not in Garrison & Morton or Hook & Norman; mentioned in Grolier, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine, 71 ("an enlarged and corrected version was published in mid-1860") and Heirs of Hippocrates 1008 (first American edition - "a


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