Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

From Saint To Sex Object: Postcards of Nursing 1900-1950

Share this:

1915

1915

 

In the 20th Century the nurse changed from being a saint and a mother to an object of desire.

The Smithsonian notes:

“The nurse as a symbol of health—good health—dates back to ancient times,” says Julia Hallam, a professor of film and media at the University of Liverpool who curated an exhibit on nursing at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland. “Pictures of Nursing” opened earlier this month with a guest lecture from Hallam. The exhibit covers nurses of all varieties, ethnicities and genders through what, to some, might seem an unorthodox medium: the postcard.

“The postcard is a very fleeting art form, and one that in the age of electronic communication—email, twitter, selfies, Flickr, and Instagram—looks ever more anachronistic,” says Hallam.

 

Field hospital on the Tugela River in South Africa during the Boer War, 1900 Produced by Underwood & Underwood, New York

Field hospital on the Tugela River in South Africa during the Boer War, 1900
Produced by Underwood & Underwood, New York

 

The US Library of Medicine:

Nursing as a profession began about 150 years ago led by social reformers, like Florence Nightingale, in the United Kingdom and the United States.

A career in nursing offered new opportunities for women such as economic independence and freedom from constricting domestic lives. The postcards promote opportunities for service and travel to distant lands in the military or the Red Cross, while public health nursing offered the chance to engage in meaningful service to the community.

 

 

poverty

1908

1908

 

Illinois Red Cross community nurse fund promotional card, ca. 1914

Illinois Red Cross community nurse fund promotional card, ca. 1914

 

1900s

1900s

 

 

Red Cross Motor Corp promotional card, ca. 1917 Produced by American Red Cross

Red Cross Motor Corp promotional card, ca. 1917
Produced by American Red Cross

1915

1915

1926 - nursing in Scotland

1926 – nursing in Scotland

 

 

1910

1910 – Male nurses, Lakewood, NJ1910

 

A Queen’s rural district nurse on her rounds, Scotland ca. 1927

A Queen’s rural district nurse on her rounds, Scotland ca. 1927

 

Male nurses, Lakewood, NJ, ca. 1910

Male nurses, Lakewood, NJ, ca. 1910

1920s - Hankou Union Hospital

1920s – Hankou Union Hospital

 

 

1935 anti-TB

1935 anti-TB

1933

1933

1930s

1930s

 

Una voce dolce, una mano lieva (A sweet voice, a gentle hand), 1935 Produced by Italian Fascist National Federation for the Fight Against Tuberculosis, Rome

Una voce dolce, una mano lieva (A sweet voice, a gentle hand), 1935
Produced by Italian Fascist National Federation for the Fight Against Tuberculosis, Rome

 

 

1940s

1940s

1950s

1950s