On Friday the 18th of October, CHH hosted a one-day symposium titled ‘Writing the Nurse.’ The purpose of this day was to bring together those researching nurses’ lives and letters, in order to share methods and discuss materials we have found relevant to our own work. Participants included Anne Marie Rafferty and Jessica Howell, from King’s College London; Rosemary Wall, from University of Hull; Jane Brooks and Christine Hallett, from the University of Manchester; Linda Bryder, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand; and Nadia Atia, from Queen Mary’s, University of London. Each participant presented an excerpt of primary materials she has analysed, discussing how she discovered these materials and why she thinks they are significant. Topics addressed ranged from the life writing materials of colonial nurses in Africa and the Caribbean; to nursing during World War I (letters from nurses posted in Egypt and the WWI fiction of Rebecca West); to nursing during WWII (letters from nurses serving during an Italian typhus epidemic). Also, we discussed the role played by material items and official documents (training pamphlets and schedules, for example) in the study of nurses’ lives.
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