Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: February 2020 update: C20 nursing history

The latest Oxford Dictionary of National Biography update, released yesterday, includes the lives of 20 leading figures in the nursing profession in the twentieth century, and coincides with 2020 being designated by the World Health Organization as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

The newly-added entries have been contributed by nurses as well as historians, led by the RCN History of Nursing Forum in collaboration with the UK Association for the History of Nursing, and curated by Teresa Doherty of the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive.

The lives range from Anne Campbell Gibson (1849-1926), matron of the Birmingham workhouse infirmary, which came to be regarded as the best-managed poor law infirmary in the country, to Annie Therese Altschul (1919-2001), who fled Austria in 1939 and settled in Britain, where she became an authority in psychiatric nursing.

The update includes the lives of the founding generation of the Royal College of Nursing (1916) and the introduction of state registration of nursing (1919), as well as  those who went on to work under the NHS, developing teaching and research programmes for nurses.

Mark Curthoys, Senior Research Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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