The Lockdown Chronicles 29: Mary Jane

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Mary Jane wanted to be a nurse.
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Mary Seacole (née Mary Jane Grant, 1805, Kingston, Jamaica – 1881, London, UK), businesswoman who provided sustenance and care for British soldiers at the battlefront during the Crimean War. Despite her nursing experience during a cholera epidemic in Panama and in Jamaica caring for yellow fever victims, her offers to serve as an army nurse were refused. She attributed her rejection to racial prejudice (Seacole 1857: 74-80). After her death she fell into obscurity but in 2004 took first place in the 100 Great Black Britons poll in the UK. [Wikipedia entry] [Britannica entry]

In a 2014 letter to the Guardian, Professor Lynn McDonald, editor of the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, wrote of Seacole that “[y]es, she was kind and generous, to ordinary soldiers as well as officers. These are good qualities, but not the sort that saves lives or pioneers health care” (Monday 27 October 2014).

It seems to me, as a humble reader, that all these years after her death Mary Seacole keeps suffering from the rejection she described experiencing in her 1857 autobiography (see chapter VIII).

Text sources: Syal, R. (18 May 2020) “Points-based UK immigration bill passes initial Commons stage”. The Guardian; Sparrow, A., Murphy, S. and Perraudin, F. (19 May 2020) “UK coronavirus live: excess deaths reached almost 55,000 in early May, says ONS”. The Guardian; Sample, I. (18 May 2020) “Over three-quarters of BAME doctors fear they will contract Covid-19”. The Guardian; Seacole, M. (2003)[1857] Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, via Project Gutenberg.

Source image: Photograph of Mary Seacole c. 1873, unknown photographer, Maull & Company London, in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or fewer, via Wikimedia Commons. This comic strip CC-BY-NC-SA.

References

Syal, R. (18 May 2020) “Points-based UK immigration bill passes initial Commons stage”. The Guardian; https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/may/18/points-based-uk-immigration-bill-passed-by-parliament [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Sparrow, A., Murphy, S. and Perraudin, F. (19 May 2020) “UK coronavirus live: excess deaths reached almost 55,000 in early May, says ONS”. The Guardian; Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/may/19/uk-coronavirus-live-latest-updates [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Sample, I. (18 May 2020) “Over three-quarters of BAME doctors fear they will contract Covid-19”. The Guardian; Available at https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/18/over-three-quarters-of-bame-doctors-fear-they-will-contract-covid-19 [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Seacole, M. (2003)[1857] Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, via Project Gutenberg. Available at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/23031/23031-h/23031-h.htm [Accessed 19 May 2020].

Photograph of Mary Seacole c.1873, unknown photographer, Maull & Company London, via Wikimedia Commons, available at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seacole_photo.jpg [Accessed 19 May 2020].

The Lockdown Chronicles is a series of periodical comic strips made at night (in candlelight!) adapting and reusing openly-licensed or public domain items from online digital collections. Publication and tweetage are scheduled in advance. Historical sources are adapted and updated for the current pandemic; please refer to each strip’s references on each post for further context.  Catch up with the series at https://epriego.blog/tag/the-lockdown-chronicles/.

The Lockdown Chronicles 20: Edith

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Edith is studying to become a nurse.
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As in the rest of this series, this is a homage; liberties were taken with the historical source material.

Edith Louisa Cavell (4 December 1865 – 12 October 1915) was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, for which she was arrested. She was accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage. The night before her execution, she said, “Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.” These words were later inscribed on a memorial to her near Trafalgar Square. Her strong Anglican beliefs propelled her to help all those who needed it, both German and Allied soldiers. She was quoted as saying, “I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved.” The Church of England commemorates her in its Calendar of Saints on 12 October. Cavell, who was 49 at the time of her execution, was already notable as a pioneer of modern nursing in Belgium. [Wikipedia entry]

Source texts:  Belgian Edith Cavell Commemoration Group, (2015) “Edith Cavell Story”; Pickles, Katie (2017) “Cavell, Edith Louisa”, International Encyclopedia of the First World War, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin; quotes from St George’s Hospital medical staff as quoted in Bayley, Sian (23 March 2020) “Coronavirus deaths at St George’s Hospital rises to 15”, News. The Wandsworth Times; White, Emma (2016) A History of Britain in 100 Dogs, Cheltenham: The History Press.

Source images: Panel 1: Harcourt, Bosworth W. Swardeston Common, August 15 1895 (drawing, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, © Norfolk Museums Service, CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Panels 2-4: Edith Louisa Cavell in Red Cross uniform. Colour process print after E. M. Ross, 1915. Wellcome Library no. 9872i, Wellcome Images, Wellcome Collection. CC-BY 4.0. This comic strip CC-BY-NC-SA.

References

Belgian Edith Cavell Commemoration Group, (2015) “Edith Cavell Story”; available at http://www.edith-cavell-belgium.eu/edith-cavell-story.html [Accessed 5 May 2020]

Pickles, Katie: Cavell, Edith Louisa (Version 1.1), in: 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson, issued by Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin 2017-01-24. DOI: 10.15463/ie1418.10214/1.1. [Accessed 5 May 2020]

Tweets by Tooting MP and A&E doctor at St George’s Hospital, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, and Dr Lisa Anderson, consultant cardiologist at St George’s Hospital, to the BBC’s Andrew Marr (22 March 2020), as quoted by Bayley, Sian (23 March 2020) “Coronavirus deaths at St George’s Hospital rises to 15”, News. The Wandsworth Times, available at  https://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/18328407.coronavirus-deaths-st-georges-hospital-rises-15/ [Accessed 5 May 2020]

White, Emma (2016) A History of Britain in 100 Dogs, Cheltenham: The History Press. Excerpt available at https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/edith-cavell-and-her-furry-four-legged-friends/ [Accessed 5 May 2020]

Harcourt, Bosworth W. Swardeston Common, August 15 1895 (drawing) Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Norfolk Museums Service, available at http://norfolkmuseumscollections.org/collections/objects/object-3860293849.html [Accessed 5 May 2020]

Edith Louisa Cavell in Red Cross uniform. Colour process print after E. M. Ross, 1915. Wellcome Library no. 9872i, Wellcome Images, Wellcome Collection, available at https://wellcomecollection.org/works/ym9xg9kp [Accessed 5 May 2020]

Judson, Helen (1941) “Edith Cavell”. The American Journal of Nursing. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 41 (7): 871. doi:10.2307/3415077

The Lockdown Chronicles is a series of periodical comic strips made at night (in candlelight!) adapting and reusing openly-licensed or public domain items from online digital collections. Publication and tweetage are scheduled in advance. Historical sources are adapted and updated for the current pandemic; please refer to each strip’s references on each post for further context.  Catch up with the series at https://epriego.blog/tag/the-lockdown-chronicles/.