Country Joe McDonald's Tribute to


M A Y  1 2,  1 8 2 0  -  A U G U S T  1 3,  1 9 1 0

"The pioneers of one generation are forgotten when their work has passed into the accepted doctrine and practice of another." -- Edward Cook, Florence Nightingale

A portrait of Florence Nightingale
“What the horrors of war are,” wrote Miss Nightingale on her way to the Crimea in May 1855, “no one can imagine. They are not wounds, and blood, and fever, spotted and low, and dysentery, chronic and acute, and cold and heat and famine. They are intoxication, drunken brutality, demoralization and disorder on the part of the inferior; jealousies, meanness, indifference, selfish brutality on the part of the superior.”
In the 12th of May, 1820, in the city of Florence, Italy, Frances Nightingale gave birth to her second child. Another girl. In honor of the city of her birth and in keeping with the tradition started by her parents, the little girl was named Florence. An unusual thing to do in a conservative time. This little girl was to bear no children of her own but to become perhaps the most famous woman of all time and give birth to the profession of nursing as we know it today. In response to a call from God to nurse the sick poor she was to turn her back on love, wealth, society and comfort the likes of which few will ever know to single handed champion a new direction for women of the world and health of all its citizens. This was not to be an easy task.

It was to be a difficult birth full of anxiety bordering on insanity; frustrations few could endure, loneliness and physical and mental pain that would have killed a regular person. She wandered in her own wilderness. Most often alone and misunderstood by her mother and sister and those around her. Growing up in a world of golf courses and servants and grandeur, royalty, operas and luxury, she taught herself the art of nursing and the knowledge of hospitals. In an age where the smell of a hospital would induce nausea and nurses were typically whores and drunks she aspired to be one. Her mother and sister fainted and were thrown into hysterics and near insanity by her ambitions ... but she continued on, becoming the one and only expert on the subject of nursing and hospitals in all of Europe by the age of 30.

It was not until the age of 33 that she dressed herself and did her own hair. The family house in Hampshire had 70 gardeners. The girls were presented to Queen Victoria at the ages of 17 and 16 years. She was to prove that the patients in London hospitals died at a rate of 90% while those sick that did not go to hospital died at a rate of 60%. She had one and only one desire and that was to nurse.

Photo of FN in 1851
Nightingale in 1851, before Scutari
Photo of FN in 1856
Nightingale in 1856, just 5 years later
Photo of shell-shocked vet
Shell-shocked soldier from Vietnam
In the end she was to bring a health and comfort to the sick of the world as had never been seen nor conceived of before. And to the idle and disrespected women of her time and forever after she brought forth a profession and work and respect and independence never seen before.

She lived a long and wondrous life of 90 years. Through the Victorian age into the age of electricity and biology. From darkness into light. From a tortured secret life of sorrow and almost madness she emerged as a war hero and leader of a society of women that spans the world over to this day. She predicted her own fate ... that some day she would be "nothing but a name" ... FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE … but that her works would live on forever.

T H E   S T O R Y   O F   H E R   L I F E :
part 1
part 2

The University of California San Francisco School of Nursing is planning to archive this site so that its information will be saved for posterity. The site will still be available here. I am donating my Florence Nightingale archive to the UCSF Nursing School.

Read and hear nursing historian Adelaide Nutting's summation of Nightingale's life and work
Some questions to ask as you read the timeline
How I got interested in Florence Nightingale
Her writings

In honor of National Nurses Week, check out this Florence Nightingale video.
News and events
Suggested reading
Latest additions to this site
Related sites

F E A T U R E D   S I T E

Nurses Are Angels

Parthenope's book about Athena the owl
Llewellynn Jewitt's scrapbook
Edwin W. Bok and his scrapbook
The "Nightingale Pledge"
Fun with Florence

I'm looking for:

Women who died in the Vietnam War.

Look at my nurse doll collection.

[ A D V E R T I S E M E N T S ]
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California Nurses Association Pick of the Week

American Nurses Association / California
The Nightingale Declaration
Nightingale Teddy Bear

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