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May 12

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This version of Women of Achievement has been taken
from the draft of an unpublished book based on
Irene Stuber's files on women of achievement and herstory.
The full text of this episode of Women of Achievement and Herstory
will be published here in the future.


Florence Nightingale


QUOTE by Florence Nightingale.

Florence Nightingale

      One of the first things Florence Nightingale did when she arrived at the British hospital in the Crimea where wounded soldiers war were dying at a rate of 40% was to order 200 scrub brushes.
      The doctors and army officers in charge of the facility were allowing rats, fleas, and filth to kill their wounded men - as they had in wars immemorial.
      She didn't know what was worse, fighting the dirt and filth or fighting the generals and men doctors who so disliked a woman telling them what to do.
      The Crimea was was one of the first times that women were allowed any authority as hospitals and what a difference it made!
      Florence Nighingale who got her nickname as "The Lady of the Lamp" for her nightly walks through the wards as she personally checked on every patient had dropped the mortality rate of the wounded from 40% to an astounding 2%.
      All during her stay, Generals and other officers and doctors tried desperately to remove her but she prevailed with the help of Queen Victoria who could reach statistics without a male ego getting into the way.
      Later, back in London (she returned secretly to avoid the huge welcoming parade planned for her) she established the Nightingale School for Nurses, the first professional nursing school in the world.
      Through reading she became an expert on public health and care and when Britain invaded India she became the recognized expert on that country and supervised its nursing - while staying home.
      She constantly fought distractions heaped on her by an adoring public and officials that she felt distracted her from her main work.
      For years she conducted a huge correspondence from her couch; her retreat into invalidism is seen as a way to keep people at a distance. In 1907 she became the first and only woman awarded the British Order of Merit established to honor eminent men AND women. By her orders, she did not have a state funeral. Florence Nightingale the founder of modern nursing who saved millions of lives.

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B. 05-12-1842, Maria Konopnicka, one of the most important Polish authors and poets. She was a tireless worker for women's suffrage and their right to education.
      MK had, in the ways of the times, married an older man and had six children. She fled him because of his overbearing meanness and abuse, settling in Warsaw.
      She denounced the Catholic Church's rules about women, marriage, and the lower classes.

B. 05-12-1857, Lillian Nordica, U.S. soprano whose full, rich voice teamed with her striking stage presence tp dominate the Wagnerian stage.

B. 05-12-1883, Hazel Lucile Harrison, Afro-American concert pianist who made her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1904. She was blocked from concerts with major American orchestras because of her race AND sex.
      Her technique and ability was praised for years in Europe.
      Her mother, a hairdresser and manicurist , was the daughter of slaves who followed the underground railway to the north.

B. 05-12-1893, Georgia Lee Witt Lusk, educator, state government official, and congressional representative is known as the first lady of New Mexico.
      In 1924 she was elected superintendent of schools in her home county and elected superintendent of public instruction for the state 1930.
      She moved on to the U.S. Congress in 1946, and was a member of the War Claims Commission (1949-1953).
      GLW was instrumental in getting free textbooks in all the New Mexico school.

B. 05-12-1900, Mildred H. McAfee, at 36 became the seventh president of Wellesley College (1936- 1949). She was granted a leave to act as director of the WAVES (1942-46).

B. 05-12-1916, Julia E. Hamblet who became Director of the Women's Corps of the U.S. Marines in 1953.

B. 05-12-1910, Dorothy (Mary) Crowfoot Hodgkin, British chemist won 1964 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for determining the atomic structure of vitamin B-12.
      She also determined the structure of insulin and penicillin. With an amazing mind and sense of reasoning, she was a noted exponent of experimental physics. DCH developed a method of passing x-rays through crystals to show their molecular structure. The only other woman to win the Nobel in Chemistry was Marie Sklodowska Curie, who won her second Nobel in 1911.

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      "No man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this -- `devoted and obedient.' This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman."
            -- Florence Nightingale, 1859.

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