Nursing postcards

Visting nurse in Scotland, 1926
Visting nurse in Scotland, 1926

The National Library of Medicine, History of Medicine Division has created a new exhibit called Pictures of Nursing, which is based on the postcard collection of American nurse, Michael Zwerdling. His collection consists of 2,588 postcards of nurses and the nursing profession from around the world, most of which date from 1907 to 1920. The exhibition at the National Library of Medicine and the online exhibit feature some of these postcards, but you can browse 500 digitized postcards from the collection here.

Japanese Red Cross nurse, c1905
Japanese Red Cross nurse, c1905

The exhibit examines how these images of nurses and nursing portray ideas about gender, healing, and healthcare- and how they change over time and cultures. Its a fascinating way to look at the history of nursing through the context of images and popular culture.

The Melnick Medical Museum is on the waiting list to reserve the traveling banner version of this exhibit. Stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “Nursing postcards

  1. My great aunt Florence a. Dark was with Base Hospital 31 in Contrexeville. Do you have any more information about her and /or her service?

    1. Hi Nancy. Yes, your great aunt was listed as an original volunteer and member of Base Hospital 31. She left Youngstown on September 11, 1917 with the other 63 nurses from the unit. They travelled to New York City for training.
      The entry for her in The official roster of Ohio soldiers, sailors and marines in the World War, 1917-18 reads: “Nurse ANC Kenmore, NY. Sept 11, 1917. AEF Dec 14, 1917 to April 18, 1919. Honorable discharge on May 22, 1919.”
      I have her birth date listed as March 2, 1872 in Canada which means she was 45 years old when she volunteered for this duty.
      The address for her recorded in the roster of the group shows 844 E. 93rd Street, Cleveland, OH.

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