Description, Contents, and Expanded Outline with Excerpts

Michael Zwerdling

Michael Zwerdling, RN, CHPN

Author's Comment:

Although there are many ways to enjoy this book, what I had in mind when I created it was for the reader to approach each chapter as if it were a museum or gallery exhibit, each double-page spread representing one wall.   You can read the introduction to each exhibit (chapter) or, if you prefer, simply walk right in, so to speak, and wander around.   Notes to the images are available if you'd like more information, and are placed at the ends of the chapters to avoid interfering with the overall graphic display.

However you approach it, I hope you find the book as enjoyable to read or browse as I did to write and arrange.



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Postcards of Nursing: A World Wide Tribute

The Art:   Children's illustrations, humor, art nouveau, art deco, impressionism, modernism, futurism, fantasy art, realism, advertising, propaganda, manga...everything!

The Photographs:  Royalty as nurses, actresses as nurses, nurses from over 70 countries, unique Americana, nursing during ten major wars, rare hospital interiors, clinical specialties, etc.

The Text:  Narrative chapter introductions provide context for the images, and captions offer insights into the pictures. End notes and a bibliography offer additional support to anyone interested in more detail. There is also a full index.

The Postcards:  The book traces the development of the postcard from 1893 through 2002, using pioneer, undivided back, divided back, white border, linen, color lithography, real photo, chrome and contemporary postcards.

Table of Contents

Chapter I: Symbols of Care
Chapter II: Twentieth Century Postcard Art
Chapter III: The Nurse on the Advertising Postcard
Chapter IV: Portraits
Chapter V: War
Chapter VI: An American Postcard Album
Chapter VII: Parade of Nations

Expanded Outline with Excerpts


Chapter I: Symbols of Care

  1. Hygeia
  2. Asclepius
  3. Jesus
  4. Nurse Angels
  5. The Nurse Servant
  6. The Nurse Guardian
    1. The Cross of Lorraine
    2. The Cross of St. George
    3. The Cross of Malta
  7. The Lady With the Lamp
  8. The Nurse Mother

Chapter II: Twentieth Century Postcard Art

  1. Traditional Art
  2. Realism
  3. Salon Art
  4. Impressionism
  5. Art Nouveau
  6. Art Deco
  7. Futurism
  8. Constructionism
  9. Stalinist Art
  10. Glamour Art
  11. Romance
  12. Children's Illustrators
  13. Fantasy Art
  14. Humor
  15. Comic and Stereotype
  16. Contemporary

Artists of note include Alphonse Mucha, Raphael Kirchner, Paul Hey, Paul Rieth, Willy Planck, B. Wennerberg, Marcello Dudovich, I. Lapina, Kurnyniksy, Marthe Buhl, William Barribal, Gene Pressler, G. Nanni, Luigi Bompard, Herman Maul, Trevor Brown, Harrison Fisher, Xavier Sager, Jane Wiley, Samuel Schmucker, Usabel, Eugenie Richards, Katherine Gassaway, Grace Weiderseim, Randolph Caldecott, Louise Ibels, G. Boulanger, Louis Wain, William Henry Ellam, Lawrence Wilbur, James Montgomery Flagg, Harry Payne, and others.

Chapter III: The Nurse on the Advertising Postcard

United States Advertising from 1893 through 2002. Foreign Advertising from 1898 through 2002. This chapter also traces the development of the postcard, and includes the pioneer card, the undivided back card, the divided back card, the white border card, offset color lithography, the chrome. All areas of commerce are covered including breweriana, pharmaceuticals, patent medicines and tonics, nursing and hospital services, transportation (air, land and sea), household appliances, clothing, birth announcements, etc.

Chapter IV: Portraits

This chapter is divided into three segments: ordinary nurses (which also includes children dressed as nurses, as well as a few surprises), performers, and royalty.

Black and white portraits of early twentieth century nurses are interesting studies in contrasts. Until quite recently, nurses wore starched white caps and, not long before that, white aprons, white skirts, and blouses with highly starched (and often chafing) white collars and cuffs. The shapes and sizes of the cap and the uniforms themselves were quite varied. Dozens of styles can be found in almost any illustrated nursing history book, but not usually in a way which allows direct comparisons. When viewed in groups, however, as presented here, interesting variations and subtleties appear which are not apparent in single portraits.

Performers of stage, screen, and television are represented and include Charlie Chaplin, Tora Teje, Maybelle Taliferro, Wee Georgie Wood, Brigitte Helm (star of Metropolis), June Collyer, Madge Evans, Shirley Temple, Larraine Day, the Dionne Quintuplets, Majel Roddenberry (of Star Trek), and others.

The Royalty section of the chapter is especially detailed. The contribution of late nineteenth and early twentieth century royalty to nursing cannot be overstated. Royals founded nursing services. They patronized and donated enormous sums from their private wealth to hospitals and nursing schools. They visited and subsidized the poor and the sick and, in not a few cases, trained as nurses themselves. Queen Eleonore of Bulgaria engaged nurses from Lilian Wald's Henry Street Settlement to teach principles of community nursing to the royal family. The sister of the Tsarina of Russia gave all of her wealth to found a nursing order. Her devotion to that order was so great that she was canonized by the Russian Orthodox church. She died in a mine into which she had been thrown, with her relatives, by the Bolsheviks, who then dynamited the shaft. She was tending the wounded to the end.

During the Great War, many of the royals served as nurses, not just in name, but actually working among the wounded. They changed bloody bandages, carried supplies, and received the last words of the dying. The Empress of Russia and her daughters, and the Queen of Romania and her daughters, all received formal training as nurses and served in their country's hospitals. Princess Mary of England, who was so painfully shy that public appearances actually made her ill, overcame this trait to be a nurse's aide, at age 17, in a war hospital. These are only a few examples of a more widespread trend of the aristocracy's involvement in patient care.

Depicted royalty and aristocracy includes members of the dynasties of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (which became known as Windsor after World War I), Habsburg, Romanov, Hohenzollern and others. Individual photo postcards of European royalty include the Kings and Queens of England from Queen Victoria through Queen Elizabeth II; Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna and her daughters Olga and Tatiana Nikolaevna; Grand Duchess George of Russia; Grand Duchess Elizaveta Alexandrovna of Hess; Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna; Queen Marie of Romania, her sister, Princess Alexandra, and her daughter, the Queen of Yugoslavia; Queen Eleonore of Bulgaria and her stepdaughters Princess Eudoxia and Princess Nadjeda; Princess Gundelinde of Bavaria; Archduchess Augusta of Austria; Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony; Elisabeth, Queen of the Belgians; Princess Stephanie of Belgium; Princess Maria JosŤ of Piedmont; Princess Josephine Charlotte of Belgium; Queen Elena of Italy; Victoria Eugenie, Queen of Spain; Archduchess Margarete of Habsburg; Helene D'Orleans, Archduchess of Aosta, and others. Most of these royals worked directly as nurses.

Chapter V: War

More nurse-related postcards were issued during World War I than during any other four year period in history. In fact, it is likely that the number of nursing postcards issued during World War I is equal to the sum of all other nursing postcards combined. Therefore World War I is presented in depth in this chapter, inlcuding photos and poster art from both sides, i.e. the Allies and the Central Powers.

Specific WWI topics include Edith Cavell (the most famous nurse whose actions occurred in the 20th century), the King George Military Hospital (which is a remarkable series of the interior of a major war hospital in action), French studio photos, hand-made postcards done by recovering patients, and others.

Other wars covered in this chapter include:
  1. Spanish-American War (1898)
  2. Boer War (1899-1902)
  3. Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)
  4. Mexican Incursion (1914-1917)
  5. World War I (1914-1918)
  6. Russian Civil War (1917-1922)
  7. Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)
  8. Sino-Japanese Wars (1937-1945)
  9. World War II, including III Reich (1939-1945)
  10. Middle East Conflicts (1970s-1980s)

Chapter VI: An American Postcard Album

Rural free delivery, inexpensive paper-film cameras and the introduction of the postcard made it possible for anyone to create and send a picture, easily, reliably, and cheaply. Before those necessary components came together in 1907, most people had no clear image of where their distant friends and family lived, what their homes looked like, or even what they looked like. As a result, when photo postcards became possible, everything was photographed.

This is not hyperbole: the subject matter on postcards is so diverse you can hardly dream up a subject that you can't find photographed. No one and nothing was overlooked. There are pictures of every item imaginable, natural, hand-crafted, or manufactured. Every relative and neighbor, every street, every building in town inside and out, the shed out back, the rock behind the shed...all were photographed. Naturally, events of note were documented too: celebrations, disasters, haircuts, dinner, the sale of the cow, or a visit to the store. Although postcards were produced in every mechanized country in the world, only in America were there so many real photos which captured the day-to-day lives of the people.

Eventually, the postcards found their way into the postcard collectibles community. A medium-size postcard show, of which there are hundreds each year around the world, can have several million postcards for sale in one room. At any given time, there are tens of thousands more being offered on internet auction sites. A good number of the amateur photographic ones are out of focus, poorly composed, and of unidentified people and places. However, if you are willing to mine this vast repository, you can discover many postcard gems which perfectly capture the spirit of the golden times. This chapter presents those gems which depict nurses.

Chapter VII: Parade of Nations

This is a survey of nurse postcards from countries around the world. Here are the abridged captions for the postcards included.
1. Algeria. c. 1914.
2. Argentina. 1959.
3. Australia. 1995.
4. Austria. c. 1910.
5. Congo Free State. c. 1908.
6. Belgium. c. 1910.
7. Bophuthatswana. 1985.
8. Brazil. Sao Paulo Isolation Hospital nurses. 1908
9. British West Africa. Sister Grace, Jamestown Girls Institute. c. 1908.
10. Bulgaria. c. 1914.
11. Canada. Typhoid case tent hospital, Cobalt, Ontario. c. 1910.
12. Canada. Nursing Auxiliary Canadian Red Cross Corps. c. 1914
13. China. c. 1908.
14. Croatia. c. 1960.
15. Czechoslovakia. 1951.
16. Dahomey. c. 1910.
17. Denmark. Staff has practiced bandaging skills on each other. c. 1910
18. Egypt. American Mission Child Welfare Clinic. c. 1920.
19. England. Nurse Lloyd, Greatest Lady Tooth Extractor c. 1910.
20. England. National Memorial to Queen Alexandra. 1927.
21. England. The Quads. 1935.
22. England. London Hospital. Finsen's therapy for tuberculosis. c. 1914.
23. England. Schneebath. c. 1915.
24. England. District nurses. c. 1915.
25. Estonia. c. 1914.
26. France. Artificial Seashore. (Note sand on floor) c. 1910.
27. French Indochina. Sisters of St. Paul in Tra Vinh c. 1910.
28. French West Africa. c. 1910.
29. Gabon. "At the Village of Light." c. 1970.
30. Germany. "A nurse teaching a deaf child to speak. " c. 1908.
31. Ghana. " X-ray instruction in Accra." c. 1970.
32. Greece. A nurse of the Greek Red Cross. c. 1915.
33. Haiti. c. 1910.
34. Hungary. c. 1910.
35. Iceland. c. 1925.
36. India. c. 1910.
37. Ireland. 1920.
38. Israel. c. 1950.
39. Israel. c. 1995.
40. Italy. c. 1920.
41. Italy. Can you find the four nurses? c. 1910.
42. Japan. c. 1950.
43. Japan. 1959.
44. Japan. 1937.
45. Latvia. c. 1915.
46. Luxembourg. 1929.
47. Madagascar. Father Dupuy. c. 1920.
48. Martinique. Hospice of Saint-Esprit: ward of incurables. c. 1920.
49. Mexico. Vera Cruz. Mexican Revolution. 1914.
50. Netherlands. 1940.
51. Morocco. c. 1915.
52. Nyasaland. c. 1910.
53. Palestine. Sister Selma Mayer at the Shaare Zedek Hospital. c. 1925.
54. Persia. c. 1910.
55. Philippines. c. 1920.
56. Poland. Polish Nursing Association Badge of Honor. 1985.
57. Portugal. "Our Lady of Good Childbirth."c. 1920.
58. Romania. Queen Maria of Romania. c. 1915.
59. Russia. Mudbath. c. 1920.
60. Russia. c. 1940.
61. Scotland. A.Cunningham, Robert Louis Stevenson's Nurse. 1920.
62. Scotland. Dressing Station. Peterhead Institute. c. 1920.
63. Scotland. District nurse. c. 1915.
64. Slovenia. 1929.
65. Soudan and Upper Volta. c. 1910.
66. South Africa. Nurse Molly Fellows. 1928.
67. Southern Rhodesia. Washburn Memorial Hospital. c. 1985.
68. Spain. c. 1910.
69. Sweden. Head Nurse Thomasine Andersson c. 1915.
70. Switzerland. "Pity." c. 1916.
71. Tahiti. Orofara Leper Colony. "Three improved lepers." c. 1930.
72. Turkey. Turkish Red Crescent Society. c. 1915.
73. Uganda. Mengo Hospital. 1911.
74. United States. 1932.
75. Wales. c. 1915 .
76. Yugoslavia. 1938.




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Michael Zwerdling, RN
Zwerdling Nursing Archives
Post Office Box 1377
Palm Harbor, FL 34682