Autograph Books

Charlotte Lillian Annie ROBINSON completed her nurse training at St George’s Hospital, London, in April 1912, and then worked as as a Staff Nurse and as an Assistant Night Sister at St George’s, before leaving to take up private nursing. She applied to join the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) in August 1912. Interestingly, her Matron while she … Read More

Preserving ephemera

Many families will have a collection of old documents, books, photographs, albums and other ephemera, which while they be not be intrinsically valuable, will have great sentimental value, and will need to be looked after for descendants to appreciate in years to come. Paper documents, books and photographs deteriorate quickly if not kept in ideal conditions, and there are many … Read More

Finding ephemera

The term ‘ephemera’ covers a wide range of documents including leaflets, tickets, programmes, printed tins and packaging, advertising inserts, posters, newspapers and much more. In terms of nursing history it will also include letters, postcards, diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, and original official documents. What they have in common is their ‘transient’ nature. They were produced to be consumed ‘at the time’, … Read More

Women’s history and the professionalisation of nursing

Context The birth of Army nursing took place against a backdrop of an emerging professionalisation of nursing, and the debates for the registration of nurses. Army nurses were active in both of these processes. When we look at the history of Army nurses, or explore a member of our family who was an Army nurse, we need to understand these … Read More

Mixing family and nursing history

Context Family and nursing historians might share the same data sources but will usually have different perspectives. Family historians want to ‘fix’ the family connections and so might be more interested in what further connections they can establish, or if the data supports connections they have already surmised. Nursing historians want to ‘fix’ the context in that they want to … Read More

Example: Kate Luard’s letters

Context “Kate Evelyn Luard was born in 1872, the 10th of thirteen children born to Rev. Bixby Garnham Luard and Clara Isabella Sandford (nee Bramston). Her childhood was spent at Avely Vicarage, Essex and Birch Rectory, near Colchester, Essex. A defining moment in her life was her time spent at Croydon High School for Girls (1887-1890). The headmistress and founder … Read More

Self-censorship and official censorship

Context “Nurses know nursing in a way that no one else does, and yet the reflections you have, though often well meant, are created by others” (White, 2012). What Nicola White captures here is that the story of British Army nurses has largely been told by others. There are few published accounts of the wartime work of Army nurses (although … Read More

Challenges of transcription, context and language

Context “Reliable research, reliable conclusions, reliable reports, and reliable publications all rest on one foundation: skill at note taking” (Mills, 2001; p.293). In order to be able to take good notes, whether a full transcript or an extract, we need to understand the context in which the original document was written. Words and phrases have changed meaning over time, and … Read More


Please let us know (via the Contact page) if you think there are other items we could add to this bibliography. General Nursing & Military Nursing History Abel-Smith, B. (1960) History of the nursing profession. London: Heinemann Ardern, P. (2005) The Nursing Sister: A Caring Tradition. Robert Hale Baly, M. (1995) Nursing and Social Change. London: Routledge Bassett, J. (1992) … Read More

Medal Rolls of the Boer War

Context The Boer War (South Africa 1899-1901) was important for British military nursing as it was the first major conflict for Britain in which nurses in large numbers had been deployed, and at the end of the war a new nursing service was created, the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), which saw nurses becoming a formed component of … Read More