Margaret M Allemang Centre for the History of Nursing
Bulletin Description Bulletin Archives Membership
Description Bulletin Archives Membership




MAY 1989

Margaret M. Allemang Centre for Nursing History

Editor: Natalie Riegler, RN, PhD. 3 Dromore Crescent, Willowdale, Ontario, M2R 2H4.
TEL: 416-221-5632 E-MAIL:


LOST AND FOUND: N/S Alma Florence (Finnie) Lucas.

Sent in by Helen Mussallem.

Dr. Mussallem kindly sent a note about finding Nursing Sister Alma Florence (Finnie) Lucas at the Nursing Sisters Association of Canada annual Remembrance Day dinner held in Ottawa last November. Though 98 years old, N/S Lucas travelled from Peterborough with her granddaughter Jennifer, a nurse in Dawson City, to share with the other Nursing Sisters memories of her first World War nursing experiences. She also taped an interview for the CBC which was broadcast on November 11th. Helen Mussallem included the following biographical information about Alma Lucas which was provided by Alma's daughter, Vera Lucas of Ottawa.

Alma was born on July 24, 1890 and grew up on the Finnie family homestead in Bensford Corners, 12 miles south of Peterborough. She taught for two years before entering the Grace Hospital (Toronto) to train as a nurse. After graduating in 1915, [same school/same year as Florence Emory.--ed.] Alma enlisted as an army nurse and sailed for overseas in 1917. During the war, she served in military hospitals in France, accompanied Canadian wounded on the trains from the Front in France to the channel port of Le Treport and nursed at Orpington Hospital in England. Upon her return to Canada in 1919, she worked at Christie Street Military Hospital (Toronto). Upon leaving Christie Street Hospital, Alma joined the Red Cross and after the gold strike in the spring of 1926 journeyed with two other Red Cross nurses to Red Lake by train and canoe to tend the prospectors and miners. Later that year, she returned to Toronto and married Norma Lucas, a veteran of the Battle of Passchendale whom she had met at Christie Street Hospital.

N/S Alma Lucas has the distinction of being one of the first Canadian women to be given the vote. While stationed in England as a Serving Officer of the Canadian Armed Forces she cast that first ballot. A photograph of this event was part of the Canadian Women at War display shown in 1985 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Helen Mussallem hopes that the family will eventually donate tp the CNA Archives the precious historical items still in Alma Lucas's possession. She feels that the daughter-in-law is aware of their importance to Canadian nursing.


BOOK REVIEW: By Natalie Riegler

Anne Hudson Jones, ed.IMAGES OF NURSES: PERSPECTIVES FROM HISTORY, ART, AND LITERATURE. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988.

I enjoyed this book so much for its refreshing analysis of nursing history that I find myself referring it to those interested in the media image of nurses and nursing. Anne Hudson Jones, Associate Professor of Literature and Medicine at the University of Texas, has brought together papers which argue that the portrayal of the nurse, in art and literature, must be understood as metaphor, that is, the nurse is not represented as reality but instead reflects society's attitude towards women. She believes that nursing is viewed as the quintessential female profession which, as female power, both attracts and repels males. Hudson concludes that the solution to the frequent negative portrayal of the nurse is to elevate the status of women and all female labour. It is her belief that, "the status of nursing, the status of women's work, and the status of women have been and will remain mutually dependent."

The first three articles alert the reader to art, sculpture, photographs and architectural design as primary artifacts or documents. Natalie Boymer Kampen, an art historian, finds that the nurse/midwife image in the sculpture and art from the 5th to the 20th century must be accepted as a reflection of the society within which it was created, used and survived. Her article is a good companion piece for anyone who uses Patricia Donahue's, Nursing, The Finest Art (1985) as a reference. (I would argue that Donahue in her choice of pictures has not considered the context in which they were produced.) Rima D. Apple, a medical historian, interested in photographs as primary documents, asks the reader to always question whether the photograph presents the reality of nursing or an image of nursing used for a specific purpose. She believes that a careful scrutiny and documentation of the history of each photograph will eventually lead to a re-evaluation of views on nursing. The remaining essay looks at the changes in the design of nurses' residences between 1860 and 1972. Karen Kingsley, an historian of architecture, presents her thesis that such changes reflect a shift in the image of nurses and the nursing profession: as theoretical education became separated from ward practice, the classroom, library and laboratory became built into the residence. Later, towards the end of the twentieth century, residences, which previously had been designed to separate the old (the untrained) nurse from the new (the trained) nurse and to "safeguard the character of the student," became less important.

The next four essays are interesting and suitable for use in a course in which literature is used to interpret the nurses' and nursing's image. Leslie Fiedler, Professor of English, in his comparison of Dicken's Sairey Gamp and Kesey's Nurse Ratched contends that the image of the nurse in literature, as portrayed by male authors, is one of ambivalence towards "all women." Kathryn Montgomery Hunter, an Associate Professor of Humanities takes Fiedler's thesis of ambivalence and symbolism a step further by arguing that the bad nurse in satiric writing is always a female and the good nurse, inevitably, is a male. In short fiction, according to Barbara Melosh, Associate Professor of English and Humanities, the images of nurses and nursing give the reader "psychological truths" which have been made palatable by the distance gained through literature. Lastly, Joanne T. Banks, Research Professor of Humanities, shows that the three nurses created by Patrick White in his The Eye of the Storm are really mythological types. These four papers provide us with an insight into the social ambivalence towards nursing which remains between genders.

Two of the essays in the final part of the book do not fit as closely with the theme of art as metaphor but they contribute to the argument as examples of the influence social images can have on nursing. One deals with the image making of the Black nurse and the other with image perception by nurses. While Darlene Clark Hine, Professor of Medical History, argues that the self-image of Black nurses and organizations has been formed by the realities of racism and sexism, Janet Muff, a psychotherapist, takes this further in a feminist analysis of the nurse in society. She considers, in a change of focus from her previous book, that the problem for nurses is more internal than external, that is, "it is not experiences themselves that induce stress, but an individual nurse's perception of events and people involved" and that this "perception influences the nurse's response, which in turn influences the reactions of others." Jones ends this section with an essay on how reality was altered to maintain and promote the traditional image of Nightingale by The White Angel, the 1930s American film of Florence Nightingale.

These authors, in providing the historian of nursing with arguments related to the interpretation of primary resources, have begun a process by which nurses can gain more insight into the dynamics of image-making and confidence in articulating the

debate on society's maintenance of such an image. It is a book which forces you to consider the affect of literature, art and social artifacts on the public image of nurses and nursing and their subtle and not-so-subtle impact on the self-image held by nurses. These essays should stimulate Canadian scholars to consider more critically their use of primary sources.



Carol Helmstadter, "The `Efficient Nurse' Within the Great London Hospitals 1845-1890: A Study of Organizational Relationships Between Nurses, Doctors and Administrators."

Pauline Jardine, "Redundancy or Career Choice: Nursing and Middle-Class Women's Paid Work in Ontario 1844-1914."

Lynn Kirkwood, "Professionalizing Strategies--Nursing Expertise vs. Nursing Functions: Nursing Courses at Canadian Universities 1920-1940."

These papers were presented on April 26, 1989 at the Ontario Society of Nursing History meeting held in conjunction with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.


Natalie N. Riegler, "Lytton Strachey's Biography of Florence Nightingale: A Good Read, A Poor Reference."

Judith Young, "Women Founders, Nurses and the Care of Children at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto 1875-1899."

Both of these papers were presented at the conference, Nightingale and her Era: New Scholarship about Women and Nursing, which was sponsored by the School of Nursing, University of Buffalo, SUNY, in Buffalo, April 18-19, 1989.




Annual Meeting in Quebec City, June 9-11, 1989.

The program will include,

Keynote Speaker: Michael Caya, Archivist, McGill University.

Panel Discussion: Issues in the Archival Task.

Dinner Speaker: Sr. Marie Bonin, "Pioneering Endeavours of the Grey Nuns throughout the West to the Arctic Circle--19th Century."

Trips: 1) Hotel Dieu Hospital and

2) Grosse Ile (19th century landing place for immigrants with cholera and fevers).

Business Meeting.

To register contact Irene Goldstone, Treasurer, Apt.309, 5775 Toronto Road, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1X4.



To be held in Baltimore, MD., September 23-25, 1989.

Contact: AAHN, Box 90803, Washington, D.C. 20090-0803.



Goldie, Sue M., ed. I Have Done My Duty--Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War, 1854-1856. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1988.



Central Hospital (Toronto). The Spark:25th Anniversary Issue 1957-1982. Toronto: Central Hospital (Toronto), 1982.


Christie, Kate and Jessie Young. "Training the `Kelly Girls': Jessie Young Remembers the Early Years of Nursing Assistants." The Bedside Specialist 3 (September/October 1988): 3-5, 10.

Jardine, Pauline O. "An Urban Middle-Class Calling: Women and the Emergence of Modern Nursing Education at the Toronto General Hospital 1881-1914." Urban History Review 17 (February 1989): 176-190.

Riegler, Natalie N. Review of The Lion's Tale: A History of the Wellesley Hospital 1912-1987, by Joan Hollobon. In The Quarterly (Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association) (Winter 1988-1989): 4-5.


Canadian Nurses Association. Guide to the Historical Collections of the Canadian Nurses Association. Ottawa: Canadian Nurses Association, 1987.


Anyone interested in subscribing to the Bulletin of Nursing History (Royal College of Nursing) can write to the Director of Education, Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, London, W1M OAB.



Keep pushing, tis wiser than sitting aside,

And dreaming and sighing and waiting the tide.

Before us, even as behind, God is, and all is well.

[Cited by Robina Stewart, Superintendent of Nursing, Toronto General Hospital, at the conclusion of her first Annual Report, 15 June 1911, p.7. She notates it as being by Whittier.]






© 2000, The Margaret M Allemang Centre for the History of Nursing