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Florence Nightingale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale (H Hering NPG x82368).jpg
Florence Nightingale, c. 1860
Born(1820-05-12)12 May 1820
Died13 August 1910(1910-08-13) (aged 90)
Mayfair, London, England, UK
Known forPioneering modern nursing
AwardsRoyal Red Cross (1883)
Lady of Grace of the Order of St John (LGStJ) (1904)
Order of Merit (1907)
Scientific career
FieldsHospital hygiene and sanitation, statistics
InstitutionsSelimiye Barracks, Scutari
King's College London[1]
Florence Nightingale Signature.svg

Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC, DStJ (/ˈntɪnɡl/; 12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.

Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers.[3] She gave nursing a favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, especially in the persona of "The Lady with the Lamp" making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.[4][5]

Recent commentators have asserted Nightingale's Crimean War achievements were exaggerated by media at the time, but critics agree on the importance of her later work in professionalising nursing roles for women.[6] In 1860, Nightingale laid the foundation of professional nursing with the establishment of her nursing school at St Thomas' Hospital in London. It was the first secular nursing school in the world, and is now part of King's College London. In recognition of her pioneering work in nursing, the Nightingale Pledge taken by new nurses, and the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve, were named in her honour, and the annual International Nurses Day is celebrated on her birthday. Her social reforms included improving healthcare for all sections of British society, advocating better hunger relief in India, helping to abolish prostitution laws that were harsh for women, and expanding the acceptable forms of female participation in the workforce.

Nightingale was a prodigious and versatile writer. In her lifetime, much of her published work was concerned with spreading medical knowledge. Some of her tracts were written in simple English so that they could easily be understood by those with poor literary skills. She was also a pioneer in data visualization with the use of infographics, effectively using graphical presentations of statistical data.[6] Much of her writing, including her extensive work on religion and mysticism, has only been published posthumously.

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If you were to ask someone to name a famous nurse, there’s an extremely high chance they’d respond with the name of one 19th Century woman. Florence Nightingale is almost the archetype of nurses. A wealthy woman who gave it all up to devote herself to caring for the sick, she’s still pictured today as she was during her heyday in the Crimean War, carrying a lamp from sickbed to sickbed, tending to the wounded. But how many of us know the woman behind the myth? Born into privilege in the early 19th Century, Florence Nightingale was a polymath genius who spoke multiple languages and pioneered concepts of statistical analysis still used today. A shy, devout Christian, she was a feminist who thought women shouldn’t vote; a celebrity who wished only to be forgotten; and a nurse who oversaw a hospital with one of the highest death rates in modern history. A complex woman full of contradictions, this is the life of Florence Nightingale. A Woman’s Place What words spring to mind when you hear the name Florence Nightingale? We’re guessing it’s something along the lines of ‘nurse’, ‘angel’, and possibly ‘lamp’. What probably don’t spring to mind are words like ‘borderline genius’. Born on May 12, 1820 to English parents in the city of Florence –no prizes for guessing where she got her name from – Florence Nightingale had the sort of brain that only comes along once in a generation. Her parents were super-connected, super-wealthy English socialites who valued education, even for their two daughters. This was sort of a big deal at the time, when being born with two X chromosomes was the quickest shortcut to a life of knitting, wearing corsets, and fainting whenever someone mentioned long division. Luckily for baby Florence, her father had always dreamed of passing on his own Cambridge education to his children, and he’d be damned if he was going to let those children being female from stopping him. There’s actually some evidence Papa Nightingale had expected Florence to be a boy and refused to accept reality. He encouraged the villagers on his estates to refer to the young girl by the male title “squire”. Regardless, Florence’s early life was spent in a blitz of learning that would leave an honor student’s head spinning. She mastered French, German, Greek, Italian and Latin. She memorized works of philosophy and would debate them with her father. She also got super into math, to the extent that she begged her parents to let her go and study the subject at university. Her mother told her no. It was not long after that Florence had her vision. We need to be careful with the word “vision”, because it conjures, well, visions of people like Joan of Arc communicating directly with God. Florence’s vision wasn’t like that. It was more a feeling than anything, a certainty that God had given her a silent command. Still, the effect was dramatic. On February 5, 1837, the sixteen year old Florence declared God had told her to end suffering in the world. She interpreted this to mean she should go into nursing. This time, her mom and pop both told her no. In those days, nursing was considered barely above prostitution. The idea that an upper-middle class girl would go into the profession was so radical even Florence’s liberal father refused to consider it. But if mom and pop thought they could keep Florence from her calling, they had another thing coming. Over the next 13 years, Florence tried again and again to change her parents’ minds. In 1844, Florence tried, and failed, to convince her parents to send her for nurse training in Salisbury. In 1849, she even ditched a long-term suitor, Richard Monckton Milnes, so she could focus on her non-existent career. Random aside: it later transpired that this suitor was heavily into sadomasochism, so maybe actually kinda dodged a bullet there? Anyway, Florence was persistent. She kept working away at her parents all the way from her teenage years, right into womanhood. By the time 1850 rolled around, she was 30 and her father was utterly worn down. That July, her parents gave her permission to travel to Germany for a two week training course at a nursing hospital. Perhaps they thought being up close with all that disease would put her off nursing for life. But, no. The next year, Florence returned for another course, this one lasting three months. By 1853, Florence’s dream had been realized. Using her family connections, she got a job at a hospital for “distressed gentlewomen” on Harley Street in London. It wasn’t hugely taxing, but it was definitely nursing. Finally, Florence Nightingale had made it! But it would soon transpire that this was just the warm up act. Florence Nightingale didn’t know it yet, but she was about to get sucked into one of the bloodiest conflicts in European history. The Sick Man of Europe In 1853, the European continent was haunted by the specter of a sick man. The Ottoman Empire had once been one of the finest empires history ever produced. At its height, it was an epicenter of science and art capable of taking territory all the way up into Austria. By 1853, though, the glory days were over. Hobbled by stagnation, secession, and wars of independence, the Ottoman Empire was by now staggering on the fringes of geo-politics, known as “the sick man of Europe”. As the invalid empire hacked away on its deathbed, another empire sensed an opportunity. In the Russian capital, it was lost on absolutely no-one that a dying Ottoman state meant a chance to snatch territory from the empire’s fringes. At the same time, in Paris and London, it was lost on absolutely no-one that a territory-hungry Russia posed a real threat to them all. In October 1853, all these different strands finally came together. Under a pretext of defending Orthodox Christians living in the sick empire, Russia made its move. The Turks declared war, which pulled in Britain and France and suddenly the area around the Black Sea was alight with conflict. It was the start of the Crimean War, and it would end somewhere in the region of a million lives. We could easily spend the next 20 minutes describing this complex, forgotten war, but for our purposes today, there are two things you need to understand about the Crimean War. The first is that this was the first war in which the modern media was involved. The first war correspondent in history, William Howard Russell, was there for the Times of London, sending back real-time reports via the newly-invented telegraph. The second is that military hospitals were very different from what we’d expect now. Nursing soldiers during wartime wasn’t something governments did. Since medieval times, it had usually been religious orders like the Sisters of Mercy who took care of the wounded. When the Crimean War erupted, though, the British government was so against the idea of sending women into a conflict zone that they actually forbid any nurses from going. This meant the injured British troops were receiving a level of care that was so basic, you could program computers with it. Yep, that was a terrible coding pun, and no, we’re not sorry. The upshot is that these two points overlapped when William Howard Russell decided to write about British military hospitals in Crimea, and sent back reports so graphic they caused outrage. Caught back-footed, the British government quickly reversed its “no nurses on the frontlines” policy. Suddenly, Secretary of State at War Sidney Herbert found himself in dire need of a head nurse to send to Crimea. Luckily, he had just the woman in mind. Many years earlier, in the 1840s, Herbert and his wife Elizabeth had been visiting Rome when they happened to bump into a vacationing Florence Nightingale. The three hit it off, and remained close friends when they returned to England. So it was, in 1854, that Herbert was able to write to Nightingale and ask her to go to Crimea. Rather than saying “You want me to walk unarmed into a slaughterhouse? Gee, thanks,” Florence Nightingale jumped at the chance. Put at the head of 38 volunteer nurses, the 37 year old left behind her hospital for gentlewomen and got on a boat on October 21, 1854. It was meant to be a dream come true, a chance to show her parents what she was really capable of. Instead, Florence Nightingale would soon find herself trapped at the center of a nightmare. “The Kingdom of Hell” On November 5, 1854, Florence Nightingale and her corps of nurses arrived at the British military hospital in Scutari – today a suburb of Istanbul. What they found there would haunt them for the rest of their lives. The hospital was built atop a sewer, which had flooded long ago and no-one had bothered to plug. When injured men walked to the toilets, they had to pass barefoot through a layer of ankle deep feces. There were rodents running amok. Men lying in filthy bedclothes that hadn’t been changed for weeks on end. There was rotting meat lying around from where patients were supposed to cook their own meals. People with unwashed, gangrenous wounds. It was a human cesspit, a place where pestilence and disease roamed the hallways, trailing death in their wake. The shock was so great that, for the first few days, it was all Florence Nightingale could do to keep functioning. The military brass made it clear after she landed that they didn’t want her rocking their stinky, disease-ridden boat. So she tried not to. Really, she did. This became tricky after November 10. On that day, the British wounded of two major battles arrived in Scutari. The hospital, already in dire need of supplies, effectively ran out. It was during this time, when she was surrounded by squalor and misery, and the screams of the dying, that Nightingale famously called her new hospital “the Kingdom of Hell.” But the experience gave her the kick up the rear she needed to get moving. Remember how we said Florence Nightingale was super into math as a teenager? Well, she started crunching the numbers for the hospital. To her amazement, she discovered that war injuries had killed around 4,000 people in the hospital that year. Sickness, on the other hand, had killed 19,000. This wasn’t a hospital. It was a charnel house. Soldiers were coming in with treatable injuries and leaving in coffins. Faced with an army determined to keep doing things the old way, Nightingale had no choice but to start trying to save those soldiers herself. This is the part where we get to the legendary image of Florence Nightingale, the nurse walking the wards after dark, armed only with her lamp, offering succor to the dying. Certainly, this happened. Nightingale’s nighttime visits became a fixture of the wounded men’s lives. But, really, this romanticized image is just a sideshow. The important stuff was happening behind closed doors. In meetings with army officers, Nightingale insisted on basic standards of cleanliness at Scutari, including regular bathing of patients, and changing bandages on wounds. At the same time, she campaigned for the open sewer flooding the lower floors to be repaired, something we’re having trouble believing she actually needed to “campaign” for. Of course, cleanliness and closing sewers doesn’t make good copy, so the newspapers that wrote about “the lady with the lamp” focused more on her bedside manner. There were the tales of Florence Nightingale helping the wounded write letters home. Of the night time visits she made to keep the men’s spirits up. Incidentally, the reason Nightingale was the only one to visit the wards at night was because the other nurses were forbidden to. Nightingale thought they would have sex with the male patients, so banned everyone else from roaming around after dark. Just a weird historical fact we couldn’t fit in elsewhere. Before long, the men at Scutari had grown to love their “ministering angel”, and the British public had grown to love her, too. That’s right, Nightingale became a celebrity. The tales of her selfless good work were exactly what Britain needed from a war that had so far produced no heroes. This reached its apex on February 24, 1855. That day, a London newspaper published an engraving of Nightingale with her lamp. Overnight, this random nurse working in a British military hospital became more than just a woman. She became a symbol. The days of Florence Nightingale, the human, were over. The days of Florence Nightingale, the lady with the lamp, had arrived. The Lady with the Lamp Today, the truth of Florence Nightingale has almost been lost to the myths swirling around her name; both good and bad. For example, you’ve maybe heard how Scutari actually had a higher death rate under Nightingale, whose reforms were more often than not fatal for patients. This is a tale that’s cropped up before on places as venerable as the BBC. It’s also likely complete bull poop. Actual Nightingale scholars like Mark Bostridge are adamant this is based on a misreading of the data – sort of like how you might look at the way WWII combat deaths spiked after September, 1939, and conclude Winston Churchill was the bad guy. Yes, deaths at Scutari jumped under Nightingale. But that’s because she arrived just as supplies ran out and the hospital exceeded capacity. That’s not to say the lady with the lamp was always a saint. The same time that Nightingale was at Scutari, around 1855, a British commission looking into sanitation proposed similar hospital reforms to hers. To this day, some think Nightingale effectively stole their ideas and passed them off as her own. Then there’s the issue of Mary Seacole. A half-Jamaican “doctress” who used herbal remedies, Seacole traveled to the Crimea under her own steam and set up a hospital on the peninsula to treat sickened officers. She and Nightingale were aware of one another, and didn’t like each other very much. There’s some evidence Nightingale may have refused to let Seacole join her nursing corps due to her race. On the other hand, suggestions that Nightingale took credit for Seacole’s innovations don’t seem to have much grounding in historical sources. Come 1855, Nightingale was a hero of the British Empire. Back in London, a fund had been set up in her name that would eventually raise £45,000, equivalent to a really, really big pile of cash in today’s money. The nurse had also won respect for getting her hands dirty. On a trip to Crimea itself, she’d been badly sickened and nearly died. While the papers celebrated her recovery, no-one knew she’d picked up brucellosis, a recurring infection that would soon leave her badly disabled. But that was all in the future. Until the war ended, all Florence Nightingale wanted to focus on was caring for her patients. On March 30, 1856, end it finally did. The Treaty of Paris was the end of the Crimean War, a mass slaughter that had killed a million but changed very little. Those million that had died, by the way? Almost all of them were carried off by disease. After the war wrapped, Nightingale stayed on in Scutari to help close the hospital, before finally departing herself. On August 7, 1856, she arrived back in Britain to a hero’s welcome. Seriously. People were treating her like the second coming of Elvis… and Nightingale absolutely hated it. As she saw it, the hysteria over the Lady with the Lamp was just a way of distracting from the real issues: the reform the army medical establishment desperately needed. In the end, she decided she’d just have to push through these reforms herself. In Sickness and… In the mid-19th Century, if you got sick, there was only one explanation: miasma. Miasma theory was one of those things you sometimes hear about in history that sound so screwy you almost can’t believe people actually thought it was real. Basically, people thought that diseases were caused by bad smells. The cholera you might contract from raw sewage? That wasn’t because of germs, but because of the smell of poop. Not long before the Crimean War, miasma theory had become so widely accepted that the British government actually approved a plan to drain sewage into drinking water, because that would be less harmful than letting it pong on the surface. Yuck. By the time Florence Nightingale came along, miasma wasn’t the only theory in town. Many medical professionals were sounding alarm bells that maybe this new germ theory was where it’s at. But miasma was still the theory British politicians and army medical brass believed. And Florence Nightingale was about to explode all that as effectively as a stack of dynamite. After her return home, Nightingale devoted all her energy and intellect to getting a Royal Commission established to look into preventable deaths in the Crimean War. But the army stonewalled her. So Nightingale teamed up with government statistician William Barr to provide evidence that something needed to be done. In 1856, statistical analysis was at the cutting edge of modern science. All those lovely, easy-to-understand charts you see on Nate Silver’s blogs didn’t exist yet. The fact they do is in part thanks to Nightingale and Barr. For roughly a year, the two worked to crunch the data by hand. They compared the records of the hospital at Scutari to a London military hospital, and then also a Manchester civilian hospital as a control. As the excellent Bedside Rounds podcast details – and, really, their episode on Florence Nightingale is a great resource for understanding her statistical breakthroughs – miasma theory suggested the hospital in Manchester should be the worst of all. Manchester in 1856 was a choking, billowing cauldron of stench. It was everything miasma believers feared. But Nightingale and Barr’s data showed something very different. The death rates in the Manchester civilian hospital were far below those in the London military one. While the death rate in Scutari had initially outpaced even the London hospital, after Nightingale’s reforms, it had dropped into second place. A military hospital in the civilized British capital had a higher death rate than a field hospital on the edges of an active warzone. As Nightingale put it, sanitation in British army hospitals was so bad, it was akin to taking 1,100 young men out onto Salisbury Plain each year and shooting them dead. When Nightingale and Barr presented their findings, they did so visually, using what we’d now call a coxcomb graph. It’s said that this was likely one of the first times in history data was presented visually. That made it easier to understand. When the government saw her graphs, Nightingale was vindicated. A major review of army medical standards was undertaken with sweeping effect. The reforms the lady with the lamp had first started all the way back in Scutari were implemented across the board, including methods for cataloguing disease and death rates that were still in use well into the 20th Century. By the time the British Army intervened in China’s bloody Taiping Rebellion in the early 1860s, Florence Nightingale’s recommendations had so taken root that the death rate for soldiers from disease was 90% lower than it had been in the Crimean War. For Nightingale, this was a major triumph. The last half decade of her life had been consumed with forcing army medical culture to change, and now here she was directing those changes. But there would be no time for celebration. In 1857, Nightingale suffered her first collapse due to the brucellosis infection she’d picked up in Crimea. In no time at all, the disease had emaciated her. She lost her hair, lost weight, became effectively bedridden, often suffering pain so acute she was unable to work. For the rest of her life, Britain’s most famous nurse would live in agony. The Body Declines From a physical standpoint, that was pretty much it for Nightingale. After coming down with her illness, she retreated to bed and never really left. But while she’d never again go as far away as Crimea, the polymath nurse wasn’t done yet. She was just getting started. Confined to her bed, Nightingale started writing letters. Hundreds of them. Thousands of them. Campaigning letters going out to all corners of the country, outlining the need for major medical reforms. And that’s not all she did. Remember how people in Britain raised £45,000 for her while she was in Scutari? Well, Nightingale took that money, and used it to found a secular nursing school at St Thomas’s Hospital, London. The Nightingale School wasn’t the first nursing school in Britain. But it was the first that fulfilled three strict criteria. One: it was secular. Two: it developed its program in line with scientific advances. And, three: it treated nursing as a career. No longer would nursing be something for nuns and the lower classes. Nightingale wanted to make nursing a legitimate profession. You can see she succeeded just by looking around you today. Nowadays, those who see nursing as synonymous with prostitution are strictly stupid, horny men with a tragic thing for uniforms. But this is where it all started. Nightingale’s school was the first to give nurses good pay, sick leave, annual vacation. Perhaps most importantly, though, the school encouraged its nurses to travel. To set up schools in other countries and pass the message on. Within a few years, Nightingale nurses had fanned out across the British Isles. A few years after that, they were establishing schools in America. A few years after that, they were even setting up hospitals in Japan. As they went, the Nightingale nurses took some core tenets with them. Nurses should be separate to doctors, rather than merely subordinate. They should enforce cleanliness and the washing of wounds. And healthcare should be available for everyone. If you live in a nation with universal healthcare, it may well be thanks in part to Florence Nightingale. From her bed, the great medical reformer tirelessly advocated for equal treatment of the poor by nurses and doctors. It’s this belief that eventually evolved into Britain’s modern NHS. Of course, there was more to Nightingale’s last years than just medicine. She became the first female fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. She advocated for minority rights across the British Empire. She also wrote one of the key texts of 19th Century feminism: Casandra, a book detailing how intelligent women are often ignored by less-intelligent men, which, wow, unfortunately still seems pretty relevant. But perhaps the most interesting thing about Florence Nightingale’s later life is how private it was. Famously prickly, the now-elderly lady with the lamp hated receiving visitors, hated having her picture taken, hated being reminded of her fame. Towards the end of her life, she declared “I only want to be forgotten,” and changed her will to stipulate she shouldn’t have a public funeral. Finally, on August 13, 1910, the 90-year old Nightingale breathed her last. For the British public, it was like a symbol of the nation had been lost. Despite her pleas for a private funeral, people lined the road all the way to Nightingale’s final resting place. Government ministers made speeches at a special service at St Paul’s cathedral. Although Nightingale had specified that she wanted to be buried in an anonymous, unmarked grave, she was finally put to rest beneath a headstone bearing her name at St Margaret’s Church. Today, the legend of Florence Nightingale is still going strong. She’s endured as a symbol in a way few ever will. Every year, nurses still carry lighted lamps into Westminster Abbey in London, to mark the passing of the lady with the lamp. It’s a touching ritual. Poignant. It’s also something Miss Nightingale probably would have hated. Florence Nightingale didn’t want to be remembered. She didn’t want to have lamplight processions and YouTube videos about her life. She simply wanted to vanish. To be anonymous. But, sometimes, someone lives a life so great that forgetting them simply isn’t an option. When Florence Nightingale was born, women were considered incapable of understanding concepts like statistics. Nursing was considered unsuitable for middle class girls. Being healthy meant not sniffing smelly air. The fact that Florence Nightingale was able to not just challenge all of these assumptions, but help overturn them explains why she’s remembered today. Born into a world with a glass ceiling so low it was practically a cage, Nightingale managed to smash through and, in doing so, change the world. She may have been a living legend who wished to be forgotten, but she was also something else. A symbol for both the wounded and the dying, and those who wished to tend for them. She was, if nothing else, the Lady with the Lamp.


Early life

Embley Park in Hampshire, now a school, was one of the family homes of William Nightingale.
Embley Park in Hampshire, now a school, was one of the family homes of William Nightingale.

Florence Nightingale was born on 12 May 1820 into a wealthy, upper class and well-connected British family at the Villa Colombaia,[7] in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, and was named after the city of her birth. Florence's older sister Frances Parthenope had similarly been named after her place of birth, Parthenope, a Greek settlement now part of the city of Naples. The family moved back to England in 1821, with Nightingale being brought up in the family's homes at Embley, Hampshire and Lea Hurst, Derbyshire.[8][9]

Florence inherited a liberal-humanitarian outlook from both sides of her family.[6] Her parents were William Edward Nightingale, born William Edward Shore (1794–1874) and Frances ("Fanny") Nightingale née Smith (1788–1880). William's mother Mary née Evans was the niece of Peter Nightingale, under the terms of whose will William inherited his estate at Lea Hurst, and assumed the name and arms of Nightingale. Fanny's father (Florence's maternal grandfather) was the abolitionist and Unitarian William Smith.[10] Nightingale's father educated her.[9]

Young Florence Nightingale
Young Florence Nightingale

In 1838, her father took the family on a tour in Europe where he was introduced to the English-born Parisian hostess Mary Clarke, with whom Florence bonded. She recorded that "Clarkey" was a stimulating hostess who did not care for her appearance, and while her ideas did not always agree with those of her guests, "she was incapable of boring anyone." Her behaviour was said to be exasperating and eccentric and she had no respect for upper-class British women, whom she regarded generally as inconsequential. She said that if given the choice between being a woman or a galley slave, then she would choose the freedom of the galleys. She generally rejected female company and spent her time with male intellectuals. Clarkey made an exception, however, in the case of the Nightingale family and Florence in particular. She and Florence were to remain close friends for 40 years despite their 27-year age difference. Clarke demonstrated that women could be equals to men, an idea that Florence had not obtained from her mother.[11]

Nightingale underwent the first of several experiences that she believed were calls from God in February 1837 while at Embley Park, prompting a strong desire to devote her life to the service of others. In her youth she was respectful of her family's opposition to her working as a nurse, only announcing her decision to enter the field in 1844. Despite the intense anger and distress of her mother and sister, she rebelled against the expected role for a woman of her status to become a wife and mother. Nightingale worked hard to educate herself in the art and science of nursing, in the face of opposition from her family and the restrictive social code for affluent young English women.[12]

Painting of Nightingale by Augustus Egg, c. 1840s
Painting of Nightingale by Augustus Egg, c. 1840s

As a young woman, Nightingale was described as attractive, slender and graceful. While her demeanour was often severe, she was said to be very charming and to possess a radiant smile. Her most persistent suitor was the politician and poet Richard Monckton Milnes, but after a nine-year courtship she rejected him, convinced that marriage would interfere with her ability to follow her calling to nursing.[12]

In Rome in 1847, she met Sidney Herbert, a politician who had been Secretary at War (1845–1846) who was on his honeymoon. He and Nightingale became lifelong close friends. Herbert would be Secretary of War again during the Crimean War, when he and his wife would be instrumental in facilitating Nightingale's nursing work in the Crimea. She became Herbert's key adviser throughout his political career, though she was accused by some of having hastened Herbert's death from Bright's Disease in 1861 because of the pressure her programme of reform placed on him. Nightingale also much later had strong relations with academic Benjamin Jowett, who may have wanted to marry her.[13]

Nightingale c. 1854
Nightingale c. 1854

Nightingale continued her travels (now with Charles and Selina Bracebridge) as far as Greece and Egypt. While in Athens, Greece, Nightingale rescued a juvenile little owl from a group of children who were tormenting it, and she named the owl Athena. Nightingale often carried the owl in her pocket, until the pet died (soon before Nightingale left for Crimea).[14]

Her writings on Egypt in particular are testimony to her learning, literary skill and philosophy of life. Sailing up the Nile as far as Abu Simbel in January 1850, she wrote of the Abu Simbel temples, "Sublime in the highest style of intellectual beauty, intellect without effort, without suffering ... not a feature is correct—but the whole effect is more expressive of spiritual grandeur than anything I could have imagined. It makes the impression upon one that thousands of voices do, uniting in one unanimous simultaneous feeling of enthusiasm or emotion, which is said to overcome the strongest man."[15]

At Thebes, she wrote of being "called to God", while a week later near Cairo she wrote in her diary (as distinct from her far longer letters that her elder sister Parthenope was to print after her return): "God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for him alone without reputation."[15] Later in 1850, she visited the Lutheran religious community at Kaiserswerth-am-Rhein in Germany, where she observed Pastor Theodor Fliedner and the deaconesses working for the sick and the deprived. She regarded the experience as a turning point in her life, and issued her findings anonymously in 1851; The Institution of Kaiserswerth on the Rhine, for the Practical Training of Deaconesses, etc. was her first published work.[16] She also received four months of medical training at the institute, which formed the basis for her later care.

On 22 August 1853, Nightingale took the post of superintendent at the Institute for the Care of Sick Gentlewomen in Upper Harley Street, London, a position she held until October 1854.[17] Her father had given her an annual income of £500 (roughly £40,000/US$65,000 in present terms), which allowed her to live comfortably and to pursue her career.

Crimean War

A print of the jewel awarded to Nightingale by Queen Victoria, for her services to the soldiers in the war
A print of the jewel awarded to Nightingale by Queen Victoria, for her services to the soldiers in the war

Florence Nightingale's most famous contribution came during the Crimean War, which became her central focus when reports got back to Britain about the horrific conditions for the wounded. On 21 October 1854, she and the staff of 38 women volunteer nurses that she trained, including her aunt Mai Smith,[18] and 15 Catholic nuns (mobilised by Henry Edward Manning)[19] were sent (under the authorisation of Sidney Herbert) to the Ottoman Empire. Nightingale was assisted in Paris by her friend Mary Clarke.[20] They were deployed about 295 nautical miles (546 km; 339 mi) across the Black Sea from Balaklava in the Crimea, where the main British camp was based.

Letter from Nightingale to Mary Mohl, 1881
Letter from Nightingale to Mary Mohl, 1881

Nightingale arrived early in November 1854 at Selimiye Barracks in Scutari (modern-day Üsküdar in Istanbul). Her team found that poor care for wounded soldiers was being delivered by overworked medical staff in the face of official indifference. Medicines were in short supply, hygiene was being neglected, and mass infections were common, many of them fatal. There was no equipment to process food for the patients.

After Nightingale sent a plea to The Times for a government solution to the poor condition of the facilities, the British Government commissioned Isambard Kingdom Brunel to design a prefabricated hospital that could be built in England and shipped to the Dardanelles. The result was Renkioi Hospital, a civilian facility that, under the management of Dr Edmund Alexander Parkes, had a death rate less than 1/10th that of Scutari.[22]

Stephen Paget in the Dictionary of National Biography asserted that Nightingale reduced the death rate from 42% to 2%, either by making improvements in hygiene herself, or by calling for the Sanitary Commission.[23] For example, Nightingale implemented handwashing and other hygiene practices in the war hospital in which she worked.[24]

Florence Nightingale, an angel of mercy. Scutari hospital 1855.
Florence Nightingale, an angel of mercy. Scutari hospital 1855.

During her first winter at Scutari, 4,077 soldiers died there. Ten times more soldiers died from illnesses such as typhus, typhoid, cholera and dysentery than from battle wounds. With overcrowding, defective sewers and lack of ventilation, the Sanitary Commission had to be sent out by the British government to Scutari in March 1855, almost six months after Nightingale had arrived. The commission flushed out the sewers and improved ventilation.[25] Death rates were sharply reduced, but she never claimed credit for helping to reduce the death rate.[26] In 2001 and 2008 the BBC released documentaries that were critical of Nightingale's performance in the Crimean War, as were some follow-up articles published in The Guardian and the Sunday Times. Nightingale scholar Lynn McDonald has dismissed these criticisms as "often preposterous", arguing they are not supported by the primary sources.[9]

Nightingale still believed that the death rates were due to poor nutrition, lack of supplies, stale air and overworking of the soldiers. After she returned to Britain and began collecting evidence before the Royal Commission on the Health of the Army, she came to believe that most of the soldiers at the hospital were killed by poor living conditions. This experience influenced her later career, when she advocated sanitary living conditions as of great importance. Consequently, she reduced peacetime deaths in the army and turned her attention to the sanitary design of hospitals and the introduction of sanitation in working-class homes (see Statistics and Sanitary Reform, below).

According to some secondary sources, Nightingale had a frosty relationship with Mary Seacole, who ran a restaurant/bar/takeaway/catering service for officers. However, Seacole’s own memoir, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands¸ records only one, friendly, meeting with her, when she asked her for a bed for the night, and got it; Seacole was in Scutari en route to the Crimea to join her business partner and start their business. Nightingale told her brother-in-law, in a private letter, that she was worried about contact between her work and Seacole’s business, acknowledging that “She was very kind to the men and, what is more, to the Officers--and did some good and made many drunk”.[27]

The Lady with the Lamp

The Lady with the Lamp. Popular lithograph reproduction of a painting of Nightingale by Henrietta Rae, 1891.
The Lady with the Lamp. Popular lithograph reproduction of a painting of Nightingale by Henrietta Rae, 1891.

During the Crimean war, Nightingale gained the nickname "The Lady with the Lamp" from a phrase in a report in The Times:

She is a "ministering angel" without any exaggeration in these hospitals, and as her slender form glides quietly along each corridor, every poor fellow's face softens with gratitude at the sight of her. When all the medical officers have retired for the night and silence and darkness have settled down upon those miles of prostrate sick, she may be observed alone, with a little lamp in her hand, making her solitary rounds.[28]

The phrase was further popularised by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1857 poem "Santa Filomena":[29]

Lo! in that house of misery
A lady with a lamp I see
Pass through the glimmering gloom,
And flit from room to room.

Later career

In the Crimea on 29 November 1855, the Nightingale Fund was established for the training of nurses during a public meeting to recognise Nightingale for her work in the war. There was an outpouring of generous donations. Sidney Herbert served as honorary secretary of the fund and the Duke of Cambridge was chairman. Nightingale was considered a pioneer in the concept of medical tourism as well, based on her 1856 letters describing spas in the Ottoman Empire. She detailed the health conditions, physical descriptions, dietary information, and other vital details of patients whom she directed there. The treatment there was significantly less expensive than in Switzerland.

Nightingale, c. 1858
Nightingale, c. 1858

Nightingale had £45,000 at her disposal from the Nightingale Fund to set up the Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas' Hospital on 9 July 1860. The first trained Nightingale nurses began work on 16 May 1865 at the Liverpool Workhouse Infirmary. Now called the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, the school is part of King's College London. She also campaigned and raised funds for the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in Aylesbury near her sister's home, Claydon House.

Nightingale wrote Notes on Nursing (1859). The book served as the cornerstone of the curriculum at the Nightingale School and other nursing schools, though it was written specifically for the education of those nursing at home. Nightingale wrote, "Every day sanitary knowledge, or the knowledge of nursing, or in other words, of how to put the constitution in such a state as that it will have no disease, or that it can recover from disease, takes a higher place. It is recognised as the knowledge which every one ought to have – distinct from medical knowledge, which only a profession can have".[30]

Notes on Nursing also sold well to the general reading public and is considered a classic introduction to nursing. Nightingale spent the rest of her life promoting and organising the nursing profession. In the introduction to the 1974 edition, Joan Quixley of the Nightingale School of Nursing wrote: "The book was the first of its kind ever to be written. It appeared at a time when the simple rules of health were only beginning to be known, when its topics were of vital importance not only for the well-being and recovery of patients, when hospitals were riddled with infection, when nurses were still mainly regarded as ignorant, uneducated persons. The book has, inevitably, its place in the history of nursing, for it was written by the founder of modern nursing".[31]

Illustration in Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit. Nurse Sarah Gamp (left) became a stereotype of untrained and incompetent nurses of the early Victorian era, before the reforms of Nightingale
Illustration in Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit. Nurse Sarah Gamp (left) became a stereotype of untrained and incompetent nurses of the early Victorian era, before the reforms of Nightingale

As Mark Bostridge has demonstrated, one of Nightingale's signal achievements was the introduction of trained nurses into the workhouse system in Britain from the 1860s onwards.[32] This meant that sick paupers were no longer being cared for by other, able-bodied paupers, but by properly trained nursing staff. In the first half of the 19th century, nurses were usually former servants or widows who found no other job and therefore were forced to earn their living by this work. Charles Dickens caricatured the standard of care in his 1842–1843 published novel Martin Chuzzlewit in the figure of Sarah Gamp as being incompetent, negligent, alcoholic and corrupt. According to Caroline Worthington, director of the Florence Nightingale Museum, "When she [Nightingale] started out there was no such thing as nursing. The Dickens character Sarah Gamp, who was more interested in drinking gin than looking after her patients, was only a mild exaggeration. Hospitals were places of last resort where the floors were laid with straw to soak up the blood. Florence transformed nursing when she got back [from Crimea]. She had access to people in high places and she used it to get things done. Florence was stubborn, opinionated and forthright but she had to be those things in order to achieve all that she did."[33]

Though Nightingale is sometimes said to have denied the theory of infection for her entire life, a 2008 biography disagrees,[32] saying that she was simply opposed to a precursor of germ theory known as contagionism. This theory held that diseases could only be transmitted by touch. Before the experiments of the mid-1860s by Pasteur and Lister, hardly anyone took germ theory seriously; even afterwards, many medical practitioners were unconvinced. Bostridge points out that in the early 1880s Nightingale wrote an article for a textbook in which she advocated strict precautions designed, she said, to kill germs. Nightingale's work served as an inspiration for nurses in the American Civil War. The Union government approached her for advice in organising field medicine. Her ideas inspired the volunteer body of the United States Sanitary Commission.

Florence Nightingale (middle) in 1886 with her graduating class of nurses from St Thomas' outside Claydon House, Buckinghamshire
Florence Nightingale (middle) in 1886 with her graduating class of nurses from St Thomas' outside Claydon House, Buckinghamshire

In the 1870s, Nightingale mentored Linda Richards, "America's first trained nurse", and enabled her to return to the United States with adequate training and knowledge to establish high-quality nursing schools.[34] Richards went on to become a nursing pioneer in the US and Japan.[35]

By 1882, several Nightingale nurses had become matrons at several leading hospitals, including, in London (St Mary's Hospital, Westminster Hospital, St Marylebone Workhouse Infirmary and the Hospital for Incurables at Putney) and throughout Britain (Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley; Edinburgh Royal Infirmary; Cumberland Infirmary and Liverpool Royal Infirmary), as well as at Sydney Hospital in New South Wales, Australia.[36]

In 1883, Nightingale became the first recipient of the Royal Red Cross. In 1904, she was appointed a Lady of Grace of the Order of St John (LGStJ).[37] In 1907, she became the first woman to be awarded the Order of Merit.[38] In the following year she was given the Honorary Freedom of the City of London. Her birthday is now celebrated as International CFS Awareness Day.[39]

From 1857 onwards, Nightingale was intermittently bedridden and suffered from depression. A recent biography cites brucellosis and associated spondylitis as the cause.[40] Most authorities today accept that Nightingale suffered from a particularly extreme form of brucellosis, the effects of which only began to lift in the early 1880s. Despite her symptoms, she remained phenomenally productive in social reform. During her bedridden years, she also did pioneering work in the field of hospital planning, and her work propagated quickly across Britain and the world. Nightingale's output slowed down considerably in her last decade. She wrote very little during that period due to blindness and declining mental abilities, though she still retained an interest in current affairs.[9]


Florence Nightingale by Charles Staal, engraved by G. H. Mote, used in Mary Cowden Clarke's Florence Nightingale (1857)
Florence Nightingale by Charles Staal, engraved by G. H. Mote, used in Mary Cowden Clarke's Florence Nightingale (1857)

Although much of Nightingale's work improved the lot of women everywhere, Nightingale was of the opinion that women craved sympathy and were not as capable as men.[41] She criticised early women's rights activists for decrying an alleged lack of careers for women at the same time that lucrative medical positions, under the supervision of Nightingale and others, went perpetually unfilled.[42] She preferred the friendship of powerful men, insisting they had done more than women to help her attain her goals, writing: "I have never found one woman who has altered her life by one iota for me or my opinions."[43][44] She often referred to herself in the masculine, as for example "a man of action" and "a man of business".[45]

However, she did have several important and long-lasting friendships with women. Later in life, she kept up a prolonged correspondence with Irish nun Sister Mary Clare Moore, with whom she had worked in Crimea.[46] Her most beloved confidante was Mary Clarke, an Englishwoman she met in Paris in 1837 and kept in touch with throughout her life.[47]

Some scholars of Nightingale's life believe that she remained chaste for her entire life, perhaps because she felt a religious calling to her career.[48]


The grave of Florence Nightingale in the churchyard of St Margaret's Church, East Wellow, Hampshire
The grave of Florence Nightingale in the churchyard of St Margaret's Church, East Wellow, Hampshire
Memorial to Florence Nightingale, Church of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy
Memorial to Florence Nightingale, Church of Santa Croce, Florence, Italy

Florence Nightingale died peacefully in her sleep in her room at 10 South Street, Mayfair, London, on 13 August 1910, at the age of 90.[49][50] The offer of burial in Westminster Abbey was declined by her relatives and she is buried in the graveyard at St Margaret's Church in East Wellow, Hampshire, near Embley Park.[51][52] She left a large body of work, including several hundred notes that were previously unpublished.[53] A memorial monument to Nightingale was created in Carrara marble by Francis William Sargant in 1913 and placed in the cloister of the Basilica of Santa Croce, in Florence, Italy.[54]


Statistics and sanitary reform

Florence Nightingale exhibited a gift for mathematics from an early age and excelled in the subject under the tutelage of her father.[55] Later, Nightingale became a pioneer in the visual presentation of information and statistical graphics.[56] She used methods such as the pie chart, which had first been developed by William Playfair in 1801. While taken for granted now, it was at the time a relatively novel method of presenting data.[57]

Indeed, Nightingale is described as "a true pioneer in the graphical representation of statistics", and is credited with developing a form of the pie chart now known as the polar area diagram,[58] or occasionally the Nightingale rose diagram, equivalent to a modern circular histogram, to illustrate seasonal sources of patient mortality in the military field hospital she managed. Nightingale called a compilation of such diagrams a "coxcomb", but later that term would frequently be used for the individual diagrams.[59] She made extensive use of coxcombs to present reports on the nature and magnitude of the conditions of medical care in the Crimean War to Members of Parliament and civil servants who would have been unlikely to read or understand traditional statistical reports. In 1859, Nightingale was elected the first female member of the Royal Statistical Society.[60] In 1874 she became an honorary member of the American Statistical Association.[61]

"Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East" by Florence Nightingale.
"Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East" by Florence Nightingale.

Her attention turned to the health of the British army in India and she demonstrated that bad drainage, contaminated water, overcrowding and poor ventilation were causing the high death rate.[62] Following the report The Royal Commission on India (1858-1863), which included drawings done by her cousin artist Hilary Bonham Carter with whom Nightingale had lived,[63] Nightingale concluded that the health of the army and the people of India had to go hand in hand and so campaigned to improve the sanitary conditions of the country as a whole.[6]

Nightingale made a comprehensive statistical study of sanitation in Indian rural life and was the leading figure in the introduction of improved medical care and public health service in India. In 1858 and 1859, she successfully lobbied for the establishment of a Royal Commission into the Indian situation. Two years later, she provided a report to the commission, which completed its own study in 1863. "After 10 years of sanitary reform, in 1873, Nightingale reported that mortality among the soldiers in India had declined from 69 to 18 per 1,000".[58]

The Royal Sanitary Commission of 1868–9 presented Nightingale with an opportunity to press for compulsory sanitation in private houses. She lobbied the minister responsible, James Stansfeld, to strengthen the proposed Public Health Bill to require owners of existing properties to pay for connection to mains drainage.[64] The strengthened legislation was enacted in the Public Health Acts of 1874 and 1875. At the same time she combined with the retired sanitary reformer Edwin Chadwick to persuade Stansfeld to devolve powers to enforce the law to Local Authorities, eliminating central control by medical technocrats.[65] Her Crimean War statistics had convinced her that non-medical approaches were more effective given the state of knowledge at the time. Historians now believe that both drainage and devolved enforcement played a crucial role in increasing average national life expectancy by 20 years between 1871 and the mid-1930s during which time medical science made no impact on the most fatal epidemic diseases.[26][66]

Literature and the women's movement

Historian of science I. Bernard Cohen argues:

Lytton Strachey was famous for his book debunking 19th century heroes, Eminent Victorians (1918). Nightingale gets a full chapter, but instead of debunking her, Strachey praised her in a way that raised her national reputation and made her an icon for English feminists of the 1920s and 1930s.[68]

While better known for her contributions in the nursing and mathematical fields, Nightingale is also an important link in the study of English feminism. She wrote some 200 books, pamphlets and articles throughout her life.[33] During 1850 and 1852, she was struggling with her self-definition and the expectations of an upper-class marriage from her family. As she sorted out her thoughts, she wrote Suggestions for Thought to Searchers after Religious Truth. This was an 829-page, three-volume work, which Nightingale had printed privately in 1860, but which until recently was never published in its entirety.[69] An effort to correct this was made with a 2008 publication by Wilfrid Laurier University, as volume 11[70] of a 16 volume project, the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale.[71] The best known of these essays, called "Cassandra", was previously published by Ray Strachey in 1928. Strachey included it in The Cause, a history of the women's movement. Apparently, the writing served its original purpose of sorting out thoughts; Nightingale left soon after to train at the Institute for deaconesses at Kaiserswerth.

"Cassandra" protests the over-feminisation of women into near helplessness, such as Nightingale saw in her mother's and older sister's lethargic lifestyle, despite their education. She rejected their life of thoughtless comfort for the world of social service. The work also reflects her fear of her ideas being ineffective, as were Cassandra's. Cassandra was a princess of Troy who served as a priestess in the temple of Apollo during the Trojan War. The god gave her the gift of prophecy; when she refused his advances, he cursed her so that her prophetic warnings would go unheeded. Elaine Showalter called Nightingale's writing "a major text of English feminism, a link between Wollstonecraft and Woolf."[72]

In 1972 the poet Eleanor Ross Taylor wrote "Welcome Eumenides," a poem written in Nightingale's voice and quoting frequently from Nightingale's writings.[73] Adrienne Rich wrote that "...Eleanor Taylor has brought together the waste of women in society and the waste of men in wars and twisted them inseparably."[74]


Despite being named as a Unitarian in several older sources, Nightingale's own rare references to conventional Unitarianism are mildly negative. She remained in the Church of England throughout her life, albeit with unorthodox views. Influenced from an early age by the Wesleyan tradition, Nightingale felt that genuine religion should manifest in active care and love for others.[75][76] She wrote a work of theology: Suggestions for Thought, her own theodicy, which develops her heterodox ideas. Nightingale questioned the goodness of a God who would condemn souls to hell, and was a believer in universal reconciliation – the concept that even those who die without being saved will eventually make it to Heaven.[77] She would sometimes comfort those in her care with this view. For example, a dying young prostitute being tended by Nightingale was concerned she was going to hell, and said to her "Pray God, that you may never be in the despair I am in at this time". The nurse replied "Oh, my girl, are you not now more merciful than the God you think you are going to? Yet the real God is far more merciful than any human creature ever was or can ever imagine."[8][44][78][79]

Despite her intense personal devotion to Christ, Nightingale believed for much of her life that the pagan and eastern religions had also contained genuine revelation. She was a strong opponent of discrimination both against Christians of different denominations, and against those of non-Christian religions. Nightingale believed religion helped provide people with the fortitude for arduous good work, and would ensure the nurses in her care attended religious services. However she was often critical of organised religion. She disliked the role the 19th century Church of England would sometimes play in worsening the oppression of the poor. Nightingale argued that secular hospitals usually provided better care than their religious counterparts. While she held that the ideal health professional should be inspired by a religious as well as professional motive, she said that in practice many religiously motivated health workers were concerned chiefly in securing their own salvation, and that this motivation was inferior to the professional desire to deliver the best possible care.[8][44]



Blue plaque for Nightingale in South Street, Mayfair, London
Blue plaque for Nightingale in South Street, Mayfair, London

Nightingale's lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession.[80] She set an example of compassion, commitment to patient care and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration. The first official nurses' training programme, her Nightingale School for Nurses, opened in 1860 and is now called the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College London.[81]

In 1912, the International Committee of the Red Cross instituted the Florence Nightingale Medal, which is awarded every two years to nurses or nursing aides for outstanding service.[82] It is the highest international distinction a nurse can achieve and is awarded to nurses or nursing aides for "exceptional courage and devotion to the wounded, sick or disabled or to civilian victims of a conflict or disaster" or "exemplary services or a creative and pioneering spirit in the areas of public health or nursing education".[83] Since 1965, International Nurses Day has been celebrated on her birthday (12 May) each year.[84] The President of India honours nursing professionals with the "National Florence Nightingale Award" every year on International Nurses Day.[85] The award, established in 1973, is given in recognition of meritorious services of nursing professionals characterised by devotion, sincerity, dedication and compassion.[85]

The Nightingale Pledge is a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath which nurses recite at their pinning ceremony at the end of training. Created in 1893 and named after Nightingale as the founder of modern nursing, the pledge is a statement of the ethics and principles of the nursing profession.[86]

The Florence Nightingale Declaration Campaign,[87] established by nursing leaders throughout the world through the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH), aims to build a global grassroots movement to achieve two United Nations Resolutions for adoption by the UN General Assembly of 2008. They will declare: The International Year of the Nurse–2010 (the centenary of Nightingale's death); The UN Decade for a Healthy World–2011 to 2020 (the bicentenary of Nightingale's birth). NIGH also works to rekindle awareness about the important issues highlighted by Florence Nightingale, such as preventive medicine and holistic health. As of 2016, the Florence Nightingale Declaration has been signed by over 25,000 signatories from 106 countries.[88]

During the Vietnam War, Nightingale inspired many US Army nurses, sparking a renewal of interest in her life and work. Her admirers include Country Joe of Country Joe and the Fish, who has assembled an extensive website in her honour.[89]

The Agostino Gemelli Medical School[90] in Rome, the first university-based hospital in Italy and one of its most respected medical centres, honoured Nightingale's contribution to the nursing profession by giving the name "Bedside Florence" to a wireless computer system it developed to assist nursing.[91]


Four hospitals in Istanbul are named after Nightingale: Florence Nightingale Hospital in Şişli (the biggest private hospital in Turkey), Metropolitan Florence Nightingale Hospital in Gayrettepe, European Florence Nightingale Hospital in Mecidiyeköy, and Kızıltoprak Florence Nightingale Hospital in Kadiköy, all belonging to the Turkish Cardiology Foundation.[92]

An appeal is being considered for the former Derbyshire Royal Infirmary hospital in Derby, England to be named after Nightingale. The suggested new name will be either Nightingale Community Hospital or Florence Nightingale Community Hospital. The area in which the hospital lies in Derby has recently been referred to as the "Nightingale Quarter".[93]

Museums and monuments

Statue of Nightingale by Arthur George Walker in Waterloo Place, London
Statue of Nightingale by Arthur George Walker in Waterloo Place, London
Florence Nightingale Statue, London Road, Derby
Florence Nightingale Statue, London Road, Derby
A vertical rectangular stained glass window with nine panels, each holding one or more human figures
Florence Nightingale stained glass window, originally at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary Chapel and now removed to St Peter's Church, Derby and rededicated 9 October 2010

A statue of Florence Nightingale by the 20th century war memorialist Arthur George Walker stands in Waterloo Place, Westminster, London, just off The Mall. There are three statues of Nightingale in Derby – one outside the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary (DRI), one in St Peter's Street, and one above the Nightingale-Macmillan Continuing Care Unit opposite the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary. A pub named after her stands close to the DRI.[94] The Nightingale-Macmillan continuing care unit is now at the Royal Derby Hospital, formerly known as The City Hospital, Derby.

A stained glass window was commissioned for inclusion in the DRI chapel in the late 1950s. When the chapel was demolished the window was removed and installed in the replacement chapel. At the closure of the DRI the window was again removed and stored. In October 2010, £6,000 was raised to reposition the window in St Peter's Church, Derby. The work features nine panels, of the original ten, depicting scenes of hospital life, Derby townscapes and Nightingale herself. Some of the work was damaged and the tenth panel was dismantled for the glass to be used in repair of the remaining panels. All the figures, who are said to be modelled on prominent Derby town figures of the early sixties, surround and praise a central pane of the triumphant Christ. A nurse who posed for the top right panel in 1959 attended the rededication service in October 2010.[95]

The Florence Nightingale Museum at St Thomas' Hospital in London reopened in May 2010 in time for the centenary of Nightingale's death.[33] Another museum devoted to her is at her sister's family home, Claydon House, now a property of the National Trust.[96][97]

Upon the centenary of Nightingale's death in 2010, and to commemorate her connection with Malvern, the Malvern Museum held a Florence Nightingale exhibit[98] with a school poster competition to promote some events.[99]

In Istanbul, the northernmost tower of the Selimiye Barracks building is now the Florence Nightingale Museum.[100] and in several of its rooms, relics and reproductions related to Florence Nightingale and her nurses are on exhibition.[101]

When Nightingale moved on to the Crimea itself in May 1855, she often travelled on horseback to make hospital inspections. She later transferred to a mule cart and was reported to have escaped serious injury when the cart was toppled in an accident. Following this, she used a solid Russian-built carriage, with a waterproof hood and curtains. The carriage was returned to England by Alexis Soyer after the war and subsequently given to the Nightingale training school. The carriage was damaged when the hospital was bombed during the Second World War. It was restored and transferred to the Army Medical Services Museum, now in Mytchett, Surrey, near Aldershot.

A bronze plaque, attached to the plinth of the Crimean Memorial in the Haydarpaşa Cemetery, Istanbul, Turkey and unveiled on Empire Day, 1954, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her nursing service in that region, bears the inscription: "To Florence Nightingale, whose work near this Cemetery a century ago relieved much human suffering and laid the foundations for the nursing profession."[102] Other monuments of Nightingale include a statue at Chiba University in Japan, and a bust at Tarlac State University in the Philippines.


Florence Nightingale's voice was saved for posterity in a phonograph recording from 1890 preserved in the British Library Sound Archive. The recording, made in aid of the Light Brigade Relief Fund and available to hear online, says:

When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old comrades of Balaclava and bring them safe to shore. Florence Nightingale.[103]


The first theatrical representation of Nightingale was Reginald Berkeley's The Lady with the Lamp, premiering in London in 1929 with Edith Evans in the title role. It did not portray her as an entirely sympathetic character and draws much characterisation from Lytton Strachey's biography of her in Eminent Victorians.[104] It was adapted as a film of the same name in 1951. In 2009, a stage musical play representation of Nightingale entitled The Voyage of the Lass was produced by the Association of Nursing Service Administrators of the Philippines.


In 1912, a biographical silent film titled The Victoria Cross, starring Julia Swayne Gordon as Nightingale, was released, followed in 1915 by another silent film, Florence Nightingale, featuring Elisabeth Risdon. In 1936, Kay Francis played Nightingale in the film titled The White Angel. In 1951, The Lady with a Lamp starred Anna Neagle.[105] In 1993, Nest Entertainment released an animated film Florence Nightingale, describing her service as a nurse in the Crimean War.[106]


Portrayals of Nightingale on television, in documentary as in fiction, vary – the BBC's 2008 Florence Nightingale, featuring Laura Fraser,[107] emphasised her independence and feeling of religious calling, but in Channel 4's 2006 Mary Seacole: The Real Angel of the Crimea, she is portrayed as narrow-minded and opposed to Seacole's efforts.[108]

Other portrayals include:


Florence Nightingale's image appeared on the reverse of £10 Series D banknotes issued by the Bank of England from 1975 until 1994. As well as a standing portrait, she was depicted on the notes in a field hospital, holding her lamp.[116] Nightingale's note was in circulation alongside the images of Isaac Newton, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Michael Faraday, Sir Christopher Wren, the Duke of Wellington and George Stephenson, and prior to 2002, other than the female monarchs, she was the only woman whose image had ever adorned British paper currency.[6]


Nightingale had a principled objection to having photographs taken or her portrait painted. An extremely rare photograph of her, taken at Embley on a visit to her family home in May 1858, was discovered in 2006 and is now at the Florence Nightingale Museum in London. A black-and-white photograph taken in about 1907 by Lizzie Caswall Smith at Nightingale's London home in South Street, Mayfair, was auctioned on 19 November 2008 by Dreweatts auction house in Newbury, Berkshire, England, for £5,500.[117]


The first biography of Nightingale was published in England in 1855. In 1911, Edward Tyas Cook was authorised by Nightingale's executors to write the official life, published in two volumes in 1913. Nightingale was also the subject of one of Lytton Strachey's four mercilessly provocative biographical essays, Eminent Victorians. Strachey regarded Nightingale as an intense, driven woman who was both personally intolerable and admirable in her achievements.[118]

Cecil Woodham-Smith, like Strachey, relied heavily on Cook's Life in her 1950 biography, though she did have access to new family material preserved at Claydon. In 2008, Mark Bostridge published a major new life of Nightingale, almost exclusively based on unpublished material from the Verney Collections at Claydon and from archival documents from about 200 archives around the world, some of which had been published by Lynn McDonald in her projected sixteen-volume edition of the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale (2001 to date).[6]


A three-engine wide-body jet airliner in blue and gray livery
KLM MD-11, registration PH-KCD, Florence Nightingale

In 2002, Nightingale was ranked number 52 in the BBC's list of the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote. In 2006, the Japanese public ranked Nightingale number 17 in The Top 100 Historical Persons in Japan.[119]

Several churches in the Anglican Communion commemorate Nightingale with a feast day on their liturgical calendars. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America commemorates her as a renewer of society with Clara Maass on 13 August.[120]

Washington National Cathedral celebrates Nightingale's accomplishments with a double-lancet stained glass window featuring six scenes from her life, designed by artist Joseph G. Reynolds and installed in 1983.[121]

The US Navy ship the USS Florence Nightingale (AP-70) was commissioned in 1942. Beginning in 1968, the US Air Force operated a fleet of 20 C-9A "Nightingale" aeromedical evacuation aircraft, based on the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 platform.[122] The last of these planes was retired from service in 2005.[123] In 1981, the asteroid 3122 Florence was named after her.[124]

A Dutch KLM McDonnell-Douglas MD-11 (registration PH-KCD) was also named in her honour.[125] Nightingale has appeared on international postage stamps, including, the UK, Alderney, Australia, Belgium, Dominica, Hungary (showing the Florence Nightingale medal awarded by the International Red Cross), and Germany.[126]

In the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Old Harry's Game, Florence Nightingale is mentioned as being one of the condemned souls in Hell, although the reason for her damnation is varied:

  • In Episode Two of the first series, "Corruption", Satan tells the Professor that Nightingale is in Hell for "taking advantage (presumably sexually) of all those wounded soldiers ... she's languishing in the Lake of Fire, the Victorian section. It's a very big section ... full of men with burnt beards."
  • In Episode One of the two-part 2002 Christmas Special, "The Roll of the Dice", Queen Victoria tells mistakenly-damned Hope Frasier that Florence Nightingale was in Hell because of opium. When Hope states her shock that Nightingale was an addict, Queen Victoria corrects her: "No, not an addict, dear; she was a dealer. The nursing provided a perfect front while she and her gangs ran most of the dens in Limehouse, and if you crossed her she'd burn you with her lamp."



  • Nightingale, Florence (1979). Cassandra. First published 1852: 1979 reprint by The Feminist Press. ISBN 978-0-912670-55-3. Retrieved 6 July 2010.CS1 maint: location (link)
  • "Notes on Nursing: What Nursing Is, What Nursing is Not". Philadelphia, London, Montreal: J.B. Lippincott Co. 1946 Reprint. First published London, 1859: Harrison & Sons. Retrieved 6 July 2010.CS1 maint: location (link)
  • Nightingale, Florence; McDonald, Lynn (2001). Florence Nightingale's Spiritual Journey: Biblical Annotations, Sermons and Journal Notes. Collected Works of Florence Nighingale (Editor Lynn McDonald). 2. Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 978-0-88920-366-2. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  • Florence Nightingale's Theology: Essays, Letters and Journal Notes. Collected Works of Florence Nighingale (Editor Lynn McDonald). 3. Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 2002. ISBN 978-0-88920-371-6. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  • Nightingale, Florence; Vallée, Gérard (2003). Mysticism and Eastern Religions. Collected Works of Florence Nighingale (Editor Gerard Vallee). 4. Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 978-0-88920-413-3. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  • Nightingale, Florence; McDonald, Lynn (2008). Suggestions for Thought. Collected Works of Florence Nighingale (Editor Lynn McDonald). 11. Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 978-0-88920-465-2. Retrieved 6 July 2010. Privately printed by Nightingale in 1860.
  • "Notes on Nursing for the Labouring Classes". London: Harrison. 1861. Retrieved 6 July 2010. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  • The Family, a critical essay in Fraser's Magazine (1870)
  • "Introductory Notes on Lying-In Institutions". Nature. London. 5 (106): 22–23. 1871. Bibcode:1871Natur...5...22.. doi:10.1038/005022a0. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  • Una and the Lion. Cambridge: Riverside Press. 1871. Retrieved 6 July 2010. Note: First few pages missing. Title page is present.
  • Una and Her Paupers, Memorials of Agnes Elizabeth Jones, by her sister. with an introduction by Florence Nightingale. New York: George Routledge and Sons, 1872. 1872. Retrieved 6 July 2010.CS1 maint: others (link). See also 2005 publication by Diggory Press, ISBN 978-1-905363-22-3
  • Letters from Egypt: A Journey on the Nile 1849–1850 (1987) ISBN 1-55584-204-6
  • Nightingale, Florence (1867). Workhouse nursing . London: Macmillan and Co.

See also


  1. ^ "Florence Nightingale". King's College London. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  2. ^ "Florence Nightingale 2nd rendition, 1890 – greetings to the dear old comrades of Balaclava". Internet Archive. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  3. ^ Strachey, Lytton (1918). Eminent Victorians. London: Chatto and Windus.[page needed]
  4. ^ Swenson, Kristine (2005). Medical Women and Victorian Fiction. University of Missouri Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-8262-6431-2.
  5. ^ Aaron Ralby (2013). "The Crimean War 1853–1856". Atlas of Military History. Parragon. pp. 281. ISBN 978-1-4723-0963-1.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Bostridge, Mark (17 February 2011). "Florence Nightingale: the Lady with the Lamp". BBC.
  7. ^ Shiller, Joy (1 December 2007). "The true Florence: Exploring the Italian birthplace of Florence Nightingale". Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  8. ^ a b c Florence Nightingale and Gerard Vallee (Editor) (2003). "passim, see esp Introduction". Florence Nightingale on Mysticism and Eastern Religions. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 978-0-88920-413-3.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b c d Florence Nightingale and Lynn McDonald (Editor) (2010). "An introduction to Vol 14". Florence Nightingale: The Crimean War. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 978-0-88920-469-0.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Pedigree of Shore of Sheffield, Meersbrook, Norton and Tapton". Rotherham Web. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  11. ^ Cromwell, Judith Lissauer (2013). Florence Nightingale, feminist. Jefferson, NC [u.a.]: McFarland et Company. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-7864-7092-1.
  12. ^ a b Small, Hugh (1998). Florence Nightingale: Avenging Angel. New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 1–19.
  13. ^ Bostridge, Mark (2008). Florence Nightingale. p. 8. London
  14. ^ "LIFE AND DEATH OF FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE'S BELOVED PET". Trinity College, Cambridge. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  15. ^ a b Chaney, Edward (2006). "Egypt in England and America: The Cultural Memorials of Religion, Royalty and Revolution". In M. Ascari; A. Corrado (eds.). Sites of Exchange: European Crossroads and Faultlines. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi. pp. 39–74.
  16. ^ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  17. ^ History of Harley Street at Harley Street Guide (commercial website)
  18. ^ Gill, Christopher J.; Gill, Gillian C. (June 2005). "Nightingale in Scutari: Her Legacy Reexamined". Clinical Infectious Diseases. 40 (12): 1799–1805. doi:10.1086/430380. ISSN 1058-4838. PMID 15909269.
  19. ^ Mary Jo Weaver (1985). New Catholic Women: a Contemporary Challenge to Traditional Religious Authority. San Francisco: Harper and Row. p. 31. citing Hartley, Olga (1935). Women and the Catholic Church. London: Buns, Oates & Washbourne. pp. 222–223.
  20. ^ Patrick Waddington, "Mohl, Mary Elizabeth (1793–1883)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, January 2007 accessed 7 February 2015
  21. ^ Baudens, Lucien (1858). La Guerre de Crimée. Les campements, les bris, les ambulances, les hôpitaux, etc (in French). Paris: Michel Lévy frères.
  22. ^ "Report on Medical Care". British National Archives (WO 33/1 ff.119, 124, 146–7). 23 February 1855.
  23. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1912). "Nightingale, Florence" . Dictionary of National Biography (2nd supplement). 3. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  24. ^ "The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing". Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  25. ^ Nightingale, Florence (August 1999). Florence Nightingale: Measuring Hospital Care Outcomes. ISBN 978-0-86688-559-1. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  26. ^ a b Florence Nightingale, Avenging Angel by Hugh Small (Constable 1998)
  27. ^ letter 4 August 1870, Wellcome Ms 9004/59).
  28. ^ Cited in Cook, E. T. The Life of Florence Nightingale. (1913) Vol 1, p 237.
  29. ^ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (November 1857). "Santa Filomena". The Atlantic Monthly. pp. 22–23. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  30. ^ Nightingale, Florence (1974) [First published 1859]. "Preface". In ... (ed.). Notes on Nursing: What it is and what it is not. Glasgow and London: Blackie & Son Ltd. ISBN 978-0-216-89974-2.
  31. ^ Nightingale, Florence (1974) [First published 1859]. "Introduction by Joan Quixley". In ... (ed.). Notes on Nursing: What it is and what it is not. Blackie & Son Ltd. ISBN 978-0-216-89974-2.
  32. ^ a b Florence Nightingale, the Woman and her Legend, by Mark Bostridge (Viking, 2008)
  33. ^ a b c "Florence Nightingale: the medical superstar". Daily Express. 12 May 2016.
  34. ^ Role Development for Doctoral Advanced Nursing Practice. Springer Publishing Company. 15 December 2010. p. 325.
  35. ^ Linda Richards (1915) Reminiscences of Linda Richards, Whitcomb & Barrows, Boston OCLC 1350705
  36. ^ "Bicentenary of a hospital built from a rum deal". Sydney Morning Herald. 26 October 2017.
  37. ^ "No. 27677". The London Gazette. 17 May 1904. p. 3185.
  38. ^ "No. 28084". The London Gazette. 29 November 1907. p. 8331.
  39. ^ "May 12th International Awareness Day".
  40. ^ Bostridge (2008)
  41. ^ In an 1861 letter published in The Life of Florence Nightingale vol. 2 of 2 by Edward Tyas Cook, pp. 14–17 at Project Gutenberg, Nightingale wrote, "Women have no sympathy. […] Women crave for being loved, not for loving. They scream out at you for sympathy all day long, they are incapable of giving any in return, for they cannot remember your affairs long enough to do so. … They cannot state a fact accurately to another, nor can that other attend to it accurately enough for it to become information.".
  42. ^ In the same 1861 letter available at Project Gutenberg she wrote, "It makes me mad, the Women's Rights talk about 'the want of a field' for them – when I would gladly give £500 a year for a Woman secretary. And two English Lady superintendents have told me the same thing. And we can't get one..."
  43. ^ The same 1861 letter published in The Life of Florence Nightingale vol. 2 of 2 by Edward Tyas Cook, pp. 14–17 at Project Gutenberg
  44. ^ a b c Florence Nightingale and Lynn McDonald (Editor) (2005). Florence Nightingale on Women, Medicine, Midwifery and Prostitution. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. pp. 7, 48–49, 414. ISBN 978-0-88920-466-9.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  45. ^ Stark, Myra. "Florence Nightingale's Cassandra". The Feminist Press, 1979, p.17.
  46. ^ "Institute of Our Lady of Mercy, Great Britain". 8 December 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  47. ^ Cannadine, David. "Ever Yours, Florence Nightingale: Selected Letters." The New Republic. 203.7 (13 August 1990): 38–42.
  48. ^ Dossey, Barbara Montgomery. Florence Nightingale: Mystic, Visionary, Reformer. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999.
  49. ^ Plaque #6 on Open Plaques.
  50. ^ "Miss Nightingale Dies, Aged Ninety". The New York Times. 15 August 1910. Retrieved 21 July 2007. Florence Nightingale, the famous nurse of the Crimean war and the only woman who ever received the Order of Merit, died yesterday afternoon at her London home. Although she had been an invalid for a long time, rarely leaving her room, where she passed the time in a half-recumbent position and was under the constant care of a physician, her death was somewhat unexpected. A week ago she was quite sick, but then improved and on Friday was cheerful. During that night alarming symptoms developed and she gradually sank until 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon, when the end came.
  51. ^ Photograph of Nightingale's grave.
  52. ^ "Florence Nightingale: The Grave at East Wellow". Retrieved 13 March 2010.
  53. ^ Kelly, Heather (1998). Florence Nightingale's autobiographical notes: A critical edition of BL Add. 45844 (England) (M.A. thesis) Wilfrid Laurier University
  54. ^ Vojnovic, Paola (2013). 'Florence Nightingale: The Lady of the Lamp' in Santa Croce in Pink: Untold Stories of Women and their Monuments. Adriano Antonioletti Boratto. p. 27.
  55. ^ There were rumors that she was tutored by an eminent mathematician who was a friend of the family. Mark Bostridge says, "There appears to be no documentary evidence to connect Florence with J. J. Sylvester." Bostridge, Mark (2008). Florence Nightingale: The Making of an Icon. p. 1172. ISBN 9781466802926.
  56. ^ Lewi, Paul J. (2006). Speaking of Graphics.
  57. ^ Cohen, I. Bernard (March 1984). "Florence Nightingale". Scientific American. 250 (3): 128–137. Bibcode:1984SciAm.250c.128C. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0384-128. PMID 6367033. (alternative pagination depending on country of sale: 98–107. Bibliography on p.114) online article – see documents link at left
  58. ^ a b Cohen, I. Bernard (1984), p. 107.
  59. ^ "Publication explaining Nightingale's use of 'coxcomb'".
  60. ^ "About us". Royal Statistical Society. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  61. ^ Norman L. Johnson, Samuel Kotz (2011). Leading Personalities in Statistical Sciences: From the Seventeenth Century to the Present". p. 314. John Wiley & Sons
  62. ^ Professional Nursing Practice: Concepts and perspective, Koernig & Hayes, sixth edition, 2011, p.100
  63. ^ Mc Donald, L. "Florence Nightingale: An Introduction to Her Life and Family: Collected Works of Florence Nightingale". pp. 36, 37, 429, 449 etc. Retrieved 8 August 2019. [many letters were written by Nightingale to her cousin Hilary Bonham-Carter]...Royal Commission on India (1858-1863)....feeling that her cousin was neglecting her art, [Nightingale] made Hilary Bonham Carter leave...the Indian embroidery belonged to dear Hilary...
  64. ^ McDonald, Lynn. Florence Nightingale on Public Health Care. p. 550.
  65. ^ Lambert, Royston (1963). Sir John Simon, 1816–1904. McGibbon & Kee. pp. 521–3.
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  76. ^ Lynn McDonald Florence Nightingale: extending nursing p11 Nightingale's rare references to Unitarianism are mildly negative, and while her religious views were heterodox, she remained in the Church of England throughout her life. Her biblical annotations, private journal notes and translations of the mystics give quite a different impression of her beliefs, and these do have a bearing on her work with nurses, and not only at Edinburgh, but neither [Cecil Woodham-]Smith nor his [sic — C.W.-S. was a woman] followers consulted their sources."
  77. ^ While this has changed by the 21st century, universal reconciliation was very far from being mainstream in the Church of England at the time.
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Primary sources

  • Bostridge, Mark (2008). Florence Nightingale: The Woman and Her Legend. London: Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-87411-8.
  • Gill, G. The extraordinary upbringing and curious life of Miss Florence Nightingale Random House, New York (2005)
  • Lytton Strachey; Eminent Victorians, London (1918)
  • Goldie, Sue, A Calendar of the Letters of Florence Nightingale, Oxford: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medecine, 1983.
  • McDonald, Lynn ed., Collected Works of Florence Nightingale. Wilfrid Laurier University Press
  • Pugh, Martin; The March of the Women: A revisionist analysis of the campaign for women's suffrage 1866–1914, Oxford (2000), at 55.
  • Sokoloff, Nancy Boyd.; Three Victorian women who changed their world, Macmillan, London (1982)
  • Webb, Val; The Making of a Radical Theologician, Chalice Press (2002)
  • Woodham Smith, Cecil; Florence Nightingale, Penguin (1951), rev. 1955

Secondary sources

  • Baly, Monica and E. H. C. G. Matthew. "Nightingale, Florence (1820–1910)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, January 2011 accessed 22 February 2013
  • Bostridge, Mark (2008). Florence Nightingale. The Woman and Her Legend. Viking (2008); Penguin (2009). US title Florence Nightingale. The Making of an Icon. Farrar Straus (2008).
  • Bullough, Vera L, Bonnie Bullough and Marieta P Stanton, Florence Nightingale and Her Era: A Collection of New Scholarship, New York, Garland, 1990.
  • Chaney, Edward (2006). "Egypt in England and America: The Cultural Memorials of Religion, Royalty and Revolution", in: Sites of Exchange: European Crossroads and Faultlines, eds. M. Ascari and A. Corrado. Rodopi, Amsterdam and New York, 39–74.
  • Cope, Zachary, Florence Nightingale and the Doctors, Museum, 1958
  • Davey, Cyril J. (1958). Lady with a Lamp. Lutterworth Press. ISBN 978-0-7188-2641-3.
  • Gill, Gillian (2004). Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbringing and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale. Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-45187-3
  • Magnello, M. Eileen. "Victorian statistical graphics and the iconography of Florence Nightingale's polar area graph," BSHM Bulletin: Journal of the British Society for the History of Mathematics (2012) 27#1 pp 13–37
  • Nelson, Sioban and Anne Marie Rafferty, eds. Notes on Nightingale: The Influence and Legacy of a Nursing Icon (Cornell University Press; 2010) 184 pages. Essays on Nightingale's work in the Crimea and Britain's colonies, her links to the evolving science of statistics, and debates over her legacy and historical reputation and persona.
  • Rees, Joan. Women on the Nile: Writings of Harriet Martineau, Florence Nightingale, and Amelia Edwards. Rubicon Press: 1995, 2008
  • Rehmeyer, Julia (26 November 2008). "Florence Nightingale: The Passionate Statistician". Science News. Retrieved 4 December 2008.
  • Richards, Linda (2006). America's First Trained Nurse: My Life as a Nurse in America, Great Britain and Japan 1872–1911. Diggory Press. ISBN 978-1-84685-068-4.
  • Strachey, Lytton (1918). Eminent Victorians. Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Pub. Co., Inc. ISBN 978-0-8486-4604-2. – available online at

External links

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