previous next


Hospital life.

Hospital life for those well enough to enjoy it was far from dull. Witness the white-clad nurse with her prim apron and hoopskirt on the right of the photograph, and the band on the left. Most hospitals had excellent libraries and a full supply of current newspapers and periodicals, usually presented gratuitously. Many of the larger ones organized and maintained bands for the amusement of the patients; they also provided lectures, concerts, and theatrical and other entertainments. A hospital near the front receiving cases of the most severe character might have a death-rate as high as twelve per cent., while those farther in the rear might have a very much lower death-rate of but six, four, or even two per cent. The portrait accompanying shows Louisa M. Alcott, the author of ‘Little Men,’ ‘Little Women,’ ‘An Old Fashioned Girl,’ and the other books that have endeared her to millions of readers. Her diary of 1862 contains this characteristic note: ‘November. Thirty years old. Decided to go to Washington as a nurse if I could find a place. Help needed, and I love nursing and must let out my pent — up energy in some new way.’ She had not yet attained fame as a writer, but it was during this time that she wrote for a newspaper the letters afterwards collected as ‘Hospital Sketches.’ It is due to the courtesy of Messrs. Little, Brown & Company of Boston that the wartime portrait is here reproduced.

An afternoon concert at the officers' quarters, Harewood hospital, near Washington

Louisa M. Alcott, the author of ‘little women,’ as a nurse in 1862


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Washington (United States) (4)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Louisa M. Alcott (4)
Hospital Sketches (2)
Little (2)
Brown (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1862 AD (2)
November (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: