Monday, January 21, 2013
Excavating the Lives of Nurses
Today I received a comment from a reader regarding Nursing Sister McKenzie. The public school she had attended in Toronto had made a memorial to her. It revealed her nickname "Nan." I think small clues such as these are very important and give a more rounded, human picture of the women who gave their lives during the First World War. So often, all we know about them is what is written in their military files, and these can be very thin indeed. I have seen programs on television excavating the bodies of first world war soldiers and the meagre possessions they left on the battlefields. So often the archaeologist can give us a great sense of what these men were really like. It's tougher with the nurses--unless family members have cared for the objects of their usually single nurse ancestors, there is little to use to reconstruct their lives. So these small clues, such as the one submitted by Martha Jackson are a real help!