Again, milk, and the preparations from milk, are a most important article of food for the sick. Butter is the lightest kind of animal fat, and though it wants the sugar and some of the other elements which there are in milk, yet it is most valuable both in itself and in enabling the patient to eat more bread. Flour, oats, groats, barley, and their kind, are, as we have already said; preferable in all their preparations to all the preparations of arrowroot, sago, tapioca, and their kind. Cream, in many long chronic diseases, is quite irreplaceable by any other article whatever. It seems to act in the same manner as beef tea, and to most it is much easier of digestion than milk. In fact, it seldom disagrees. Cheese is not usually digestible by the sick, but it is pure nourishment for repairing waste; and I have seen sick, and not a few either, whose craving for cheese showed how much it was needed by them.
In the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale all the surviving writing of Florence Nightingale will be published, much of it for the first time. Known as the heroine of the Crimean War and the major founder of the modern profession of nursing, Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) will be revealed also as a scholar, theorist and social reformer of enormous scope and importance.
Original material has been obtained from over 150 archives and private collections worldwide. This abundance of material will be reflected in the series, revealing a significant amount of new material on her philosophy, theology and personal spiritual journey, as well as on her vision of a public health care system, her activism to achieve the difficult early steps of nursing for the sick poor in workhouse infirmaries and her views on health promotion and women’s control over midwifery. Nightingale’s more than forty years of work for public health in India, particularly in famine prevention and for broader social reform, will be reported in detail.
The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale demonstrates Nightingale’s astute use of the political process and reports on her extensive correspondence with royalty, viceroys, cabinet ministers and international leaders, including such notables as Queen Victoria and W. E. Gladstone. Much new material on Nightingale’s family is reported, including some that will challenge her standard portrayal in the secondary literature. Sixteen printed volumes are scheduled and will record her enormous and largely unpublished correspondence, previously published books, articles and pamphlets, many of which have long been out of print.
There will be full publication in electronic form, permitting readers to easily pursue their particular interests. Extensive databases, notably a chronology and a names index, will also be published in electronic form, again permitting convenient access to persons interested not only in Nightingale but in other figures of the time.
Nightingale was an astute behind-the-scenes political activist. Society and Politics publishes (much of it for the first time) her correspondence with such leading political figures as Queen Victoria, W.E. Gladstone and J.S. Mill. There are notes and essays on public administration and personal observations on various members of royalty, prime ministers and ministers, and Indian viceroys. Nightingale’s support of the vote for women (contrary to much in the secondary literature) is here shown. Correspondence and notes on British general elections from 1834 to 1900 is reported, with letters to and for (Liberal) political candidates and fierce condemnations of Conservatives.
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.
If, then, every woman must at some time or other of her life, become a nurse, i.e., have charge of somebody's health, how immense and how valuable would be the produce of her united experience if every woman would think how to nurse.
I do not pretend to teach her how, I ask her to teach herself, and for this purpose I venture to give her some hints.
The letters were not meant for publication, and indeed are hardly suitable to be printed as a whole as there is naturally a good deal of repetition in them. Since Miss Nightingale’s death, however, heads of nursing institutions and others have asked for copies of the addresses to be read or given to nurses, and her family hope that the publication of a selection may do something to carry further the intention with which they were originally written.
Perhaps, too, not only nurses, but others, may care to read some of these letters. There is a natural desire to understand the nature of a great man’s or woman’s influence, and we see in the addresses something at least of what constituted Miss Nightingale’s power. Her earnest care for the nurses, her intense desire that they should be “perfect,” speak in every line. They do not, of course, give full expression to the writer’s mind. They were written after she had reached middle age, as from a teacher of long and wide experience to pupils much younger than herself—pupils some of whom had had very little schooling and did not easily read or write. The want of even elementary education and of habits and traditions of discipline which grow in schools are difficulties less felt now than in 1872, when Miss Nightingale’s first letter to nurses was written. At that time it was necessary in addressing such an audience to write very simply, without learned allusions (though some such appear in disguise) and without too great severity and concentration of style. The familiar words of the Bible and hymns could appeal to the least learned among her hearers, and never lost their power with Miss Nightingale herself.
But through the simple and popular style of the addresses something of a philosophical framework can be seen. When Miss Nightingale hopes that her nurses are a step further on the way to becoming “perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect,” she has in mind the conception she had formed of a moral government of the world in which science, activity, and religion were one. In her unpublished writings these ideas are dwelt on again and again.