The Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library’s Archives & Special Collections is pleased to announce that the Florence Nightingale letters in its Auchincloss Florence Nightingale Collection are now available digitally through the Florence Nightingale Digitization Project. Columbia’s 252 Nightingale letters now join over 2,000 digitized other letters written by her. Among the Project’s international group of contributing institutions are Boston University, the National Library of Medicine, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Illinois in the U.S., and the Wellcome Library, the Florence Nightingale Museum, and the Royal College of Nursing in the U.K., among others. The project is led and supported by Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center.
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is best-known as the founder of modern nursing, but she was also an important figure in 19th century public health, a pioneer in the visualization of statistics (she popularized the polar area diagram, a form of pie chart), a spiritual seeker, and a prolific writer of books and letters, of which the latter some estimate equal about 100,000 items.
The Auchincloss Florence Nightingale Collection is named after Dr. Hugh Auchincloss (1878-1947), a Columbia University professor of surgery who donated the core of the collection in 1932 in memory of his mother, Maria Sloan Auchincloss, on the graduation of his daughter, Maria Sloan Auchincloss, from the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing, now the Columbia University School of Nursing.
Besides the 252 letters by Nightingale, the Auchincloss Collection includes about two dozen letters to her; comprehensive holdings of Nightingale's published works, including first editions of Notes on Hospitals (1859), Introductory Notes on Lying-In Institutions (1871), and her landmark Notes on Nursing (1860); and a wealth of pictorial material including prints, photographs, and cartes-de-visite of Nightingale and places associated with her.
For many years housed at the School of Nursing, the Auchincloss Collection was transferred to the Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library in 1979.