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Florence Nightingale on Health in India

Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 9

Edited by Gérard Vallée
Subjects Medical, Public Health, History
Series Collected Works of Florence Nightingale Hide Details
Hardcover : 9780889204683, 1048 pages, November 2006
Ebook (PDF) : 9781554581122, 1048 pages, November 2006


Volume 9: Florence Nightingale on Health in India is the first of two volumes reporting Nightingale’s forty years of work to improve public health in India. It begins with her work to establish the Royal Commission on the Sanitary State of the Army in India, for which she drafted questionnaires, analyzed returns, and did much of the final writing, going on to promote the implementation of its recommendations. In this volume a gradual shift of attention can be seen from the health of the army to that of the civilian population. Famine and epidemics were frequent and closely interrelated occurrences. To combat them, Nightingale recommended a comprehensive set of sanitary measures, and educational and legal reforms, to be overseen by a public health agency. Skilful in implementing the expertise, influence, and power of others, she worked with her impressive network of well-placed collaborators, having them send her information and meet with her back in London. The volume includes Nightingale’s work on the royal commission itself, related correspondence, numerous published pamphlets, articles and letters to the editor, and correspondence with her growing network of viceroys, governors of presidencies, and public health experts. Working with British collaborators, she began this work; over time Nightingale increased her contact with Indian nationals and promoted their work and associations.
Currently, Volumes 1 to 11 are available in e-book version by subscription or from university and college libraries through the following vendors: Canadian Electronic Library, Ebrary, MyiLibrary, and Netlibrary.


The details and explications of her views...are presented in carefully annotated and insightful editorial discussions....[These volumes] provide a more complete understanding of this complex woman, extending our appreciation of her much beyond the `The Lady with the Lamp' legend.... The product of rigorous scholarship, of meticulous historical research--and a labour of love.

- Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, Volume 21/1, 2004, 2005 October

These two books [Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volumes 8 and 9] cannot fail to be welcomed additions to the resource available to scholars of the Victorian age.... Nightingale was both a quintessential Victorian and a major reformer. Her writings illuminate many murky corners of Victorian life as well as the formidable level of activity of liberal reformers.... [M]ost readers will discover new and fascinating material. Nightingale's sharp, sometimes abrasive, wit and insight mean that much is a delight to read. Many nurses, for example, will give a wry smile when reading Nightingale's comment that `people even now [1897] are not accustomed to the idea that nursing is a distinct department ... and not only a supplement to the doctors.' Then there are her occasional outbursts of frustration: `All doctors to be locked up in lunatic asylums by act of Parliament. And all clergy and all men' -- and that was just the beginning of that particular note!... These volumes are essential purchases for any institution catering for scholars of the Victorian age.

- Judith Godden, University of Toronto Quarterly, Letters in Canada 2006, Volume 77, Number 1, Winter 2008, 2008 July

[I]t is clear that this is an academic project of the highest importance and integrity. It will have an impact on the work of scholars far beyond the immediate field of health history. Nightingale's interests were wide-ranging and her correspondence included some of the leading thinkers of her day....The editing of these volumes is exemplary. Every reference has been followed up, including the identification of minor dramatis personae. Important personalities are accorded short biographies. On every page there are biblical allusions, which are faithfully identified. Each thematic section has an introductory essay and these are amplified by a full outline of Nightingale's life and thought in volume 1. This project makes a major contribution to scholarship which will be of permanent value.

- Helen Mathers, University of Sheffield, Ecclesiastical History

The Nightingale project ranks with both the Gladstone diaries and the Disraeli letters as a major undertaking in the field of Victorian-era scholarship, and therefore is of surpassing value to historians of the period, as well as to general readers.

- C. Brad Faught, Tyndale University College, Toronto, Anglican and Episcopal History, Vol. 81 (1), March 2012, 2012 April

The Collected Works will allow us to see for the first time the full complexity of this extraordinary and multifacted woman. It will be a tool of enormous value not only to Nightgale scholars and biographers, but also to historians of a wide variety of aspects of Victorian society: war, the army, public health nursing, religion, India, women's issues and so on.

- Mark Bostridge, Times Literary Supplement, January 10, 2003, 2003 October