Hopkins Nurses Find Illumination from the “Lady with the Lamp”

Hopkins Nurses Find Illumination from the “Lady with the Lamp”

By Diana Schulin

Florence Nightingale was a pioneer of modern nursing…but did you know?

  • In 1860, she was the first woman to be elected a fellow of the Statistic Society;
  • Over her career, Nightingale published more than 200 books, reports, and pamphlets;
  • Her most famous book, Notes on Nursing, has been translated into eleven foreign languages and is still in print;
  • The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) has a collection of her original letters, books, and wheelchair.

JHUSON was founded “under the influence of a Nightingale-type education,” says Maryann Fralic, DrPH, RN, FAAN. “That’s the real legacy for nurses here, in that we continue to prepare leaders who have a wonderful heritage…in a real way, in that there are parts of her life here.”

The Florence Nightingale wheelchair was donated to the School by Howard Kelly, a prominent Hopkins physician. Kelly purchased the chair in 1921 and presented it to the School, writing in a letter, “If an inanimate object can convey a lesson and transmit an inspiration, may this chair suggest the spiritual presence of your great apostle of nursing and prove a blessing to the nursing school.” The chair can be found on the fourth floor of the School of Nursing Anne M. Pinkard Building.

Another rare gift donated by Kelly in 1917, included a collection of original Nightingale letters, which he had bound in a handmade book for the School. He also donated a number of books and other materials that were both directly and indirectly related to Florence Nightingale, now housed at the Welch Library archives.

A bridal bouquet was sent by Florence Nightingale to Isabel Hampton on the occasion of her wedding to Hunter Robb in 1894. A friend of Nightingale’s, Isabel Hampton was the first superintendent of the Johns Hopkins training school for nurses, and was also in charge of the nursing service for the entire hospital. The reconstructed bouquet now rests under a glass dome on the first floor in the Admissions Office.

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