Skip to main content

The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale

Quick menu


On this site


Major Collections

British Library, London: 180 volumes in the Nightingale Collection, plus letters scattered throughout numerous other collections: Gladstone, Ripon, etc.;

Claydon House Trust, Bucks: 84 bundles of letters mainly by Nightingale, 268 bundles of letters to her or by or to members of her family, plus scattered letters in the Verney Collection.

Wellcome Trust for the History and Understanding of Medicine, London: 14 boxes of original papers, 39 boxes of copies of Claydon material, 18 boxes of copies of material in other collections (for this material, however, copies were obtained from the original sources).

London Metropolitan Archives, London: Nightingale collection largely of material from St Thomas’ Hospital, plus letters scattered through other collections.

Other British and Irish State Archives/Libraries

Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections (at the British Library); Royal Archives, Windsor Castle; Public Record Office, Kew; India Office, British Library (Marquess of Salisbury Collection), National Archives of Scotland (including Earl of Wemyss Collection), National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh; National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; Northern Ireland Public Record Office, Belfast; National Army Museum, Chelsea Hospital, London; National Library of Ireland, Dublin; Convent of Mercy Archives, Kinsale

British University Archives

Balliol College (including Mallet Family Collection), Oxford University Bodleian Library; Pusey House, Oxford; Cambridge University Manuscripts and Archives, Girton College, Trinity College, Cambridge; University of London; British Library of Political and Economic Science (Farr Collection), University (Senate House) Library (Seeley Papers), University College Library (Chadwick and Galton Collections); University of Wales Bangor; King’s College London

Universities of Edinburgh (Lothian Health Board); Birmingham; Guildhall University (Fawcett Library) Liverpool; London; Manchester (John Rylands Library); Nottingham; Durham; Southampton (Palmerston Papers); Leeds; Bradfield College; University College, London;

British County and City Record Offices/Archives

County Archives of Anglesey, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire; Wiltshire (Pembroke Collection); City Archives of Bristol, Liverpool (Rathbone and Derby Collections); City of Westminster Archives; City of Bristol Archives,

British and Irish Hospital/Medical/Nursing Archives

Florence Nightingale Museum, London; Royal College of Nursing (Edinburgh and London), British Red Cross (Wantage Papers), Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel; Radcliffe Infirmary (Oxfordshire Health Archives), Radcliffe Guild of Nurses; Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Royal Liverpool Infirmary (?); Royal College of Physicians, London; Royal College of General Practitioners, London: Royal Glasgow Infirmary; Liverpool Medical Institution; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Royal College of Surgeons of England; Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; Royal Free Hospital, London; Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability; St Bartholomew’s Hospital; Children’s Hospital, Gt. Ormond St.; University of Ulster, School of Nursing, Belfast; St Mary’s Hospital Archives; Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital;

Other British Sources

Lea Hurst RSAS Age Care, Derby; Convent of Mercy, Bermondsey and Birmingham; Royal Bank of Scotland; Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Royal Institute of British Architects, London; Grosvenor Chapel, London; 9th/12th Lancers Museum, Derbyshire; Skaill House, Orkney; Times, London;

Other European Countries

Kaiserswerth Diakoniewerk, Germany; National Archives of Malta; Royal Library, National Library of Sweden, Stockholm; Kuopio University, Helsinki, Finland; Ville de Genève; Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz; Württembergische Landesbibliothek;

United States

Library of Congress, Washington, DC; National Library of Medicine (History of Medicine Division, Bethesda); Columbia University Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing, New York City; Radcliffe College, Cambridge MA (Schlesinger Library); University of Alabama at Birmingham (Reynolds Historical Library); University of California at Los Angeles; Emory University (Pitts Theological Seminary), Atlanta GA; Harvard University (Countway Medical Library, Houghton Rare Books Library and Pusey House), Cambridge MA; Florence Nightingale Collection in the History of Nursing Archives at Boston University; Clendening History of Medicine Library, Kansas University Medical Center; International Museum of Surgical Science, Chicago; UIC (Univesity of Illinois at Chicago) Midwest Nursing History Resource Center; Duke University (Rare Book Library and Medical Center Library); University of Chicago; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore MD; Yale University and Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, New Haven; University of Iowa; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Northwestern University, Chicago; University of Virginia; University of Maryland; Wayne State University, Detroit; Cornell Medical Center; University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; New York Public Library; Texas Tech University, Southwest Collection; New York State Library, Albany; Bellevue Center for Nursing History; United Health Services, Binghamton, New York; Gannett Healthcare Group; Smithsonian Institution (Dibner Library)


Archives of Ontario, Toronto; University of Toronto (Thomas K. Fisher Rare Book Library); University of British Columbia (Woodward Biomedical Library), Vancouver; Vancouver General Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association; Mt Sinai Hospital, Toronto; McGill University School of Nursing Alumnae; Victorian Order of Nurses, Ottawa;

Australia and New Zealand

State Library of New South Wales (Mitchell Library, Sydney); State Library of South Australia; State Library of Victoria; University of Sydney; National Library of New Zealand; Auckland Public Library; Dunedin Public Hospital; Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington; Nelson Hospital, New Zealand;

Other Countries

Nehru Museum, Delhi; Pune Sarvajanik Sabha, Pune, India; National Archives of India, New Delhi; St Luke’s Hospital, Tokyo, Japan; South African Library, Capetown; Turkish Land Forces, Istanbul

Small Private Collections

Small private collections in London, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Northamptonshire, Oxford, UK; Nelson, New Zealand; Netherlands; Toronto, Ottawa, Guelph and Ancaster, ON; North Vancouver, BC; Fredericton, NB; San Francisco, CA; Providence RI; Albuquerque, NM;

Missing Sources

The Problem:

It is evident that many letters written by Nightingale have disappeared. That is, there are references to letters which are not in any collection found so far. Sometimes we have a letter to Nightingale which acknowledges correspondence received. Assuming that not all these letters were destroyed, we hope that some will surface in people’s basements and attics, or perhaps be found in small collections. Since many of these letters were to nurses we hope that they will be found in the collections of nursing alumnae associations or nursing school archives. If you know of any, please contact us.

Some letters identified by Sue Goldie in her Calendar of Letters as held by private collectors or sales agencies have since been sold or otherwise disposed of.

St Thomas’ Hospital, Nightingale School. A massive number of Nightingale’s letters to Sarah Wardroper, matron and superintendent are missing. (Wardroper’s to Nightingale fill 5 volumes at the British Library; there are very few of Nightingale’s to her, although they corresponded from 1860 to 1892). A Wardroper son lived in East Grinstead after Mrs Wardroper’s death. Any family still there? Possibly letters in a local archive?

The Florence Nightingale Society (in the United States) apparently owns letters (according to its website), but attempts to get a response from this organization have been unsuccessful. If anyone knows where this material might now be housed, we would appreciate knowing of it.

Many letters to Mary and Julius Mohl were seen by E.T. Cook for his biography, but have since disappeared.

Nightingale letters to Elizabeth Herbert (probably a lot) are still missing (neither at the British Library nor the Wiltshire County Record Office).

A long 1855 letter to Richard Dawes, dean of Hereford, listed as being “Wellcome” has not been found.

For many important people typed copies of letters are available, but not the originals: Sir John Lawrence, Selina and Charles Bracebridge, Sir James Clark, Lady Aberdeen, Arnold Toynbee

John Martineau, the biographer of Sir Bartle Frere, stated that there were more than 100 Nightingale letters to him, but Goldie records (and we have seen) only 17.

Many letters Goldie saw when doing her compilation for the Wellcome cannot now be found: notably from sources listed as the Salisbury Infirmary, Bon Secours, Geneva; St John of Jerusalem; a letter to Grace Neill, in Wellington; Hammersmith District Nurses Association; Liverpool Royal Infirmary; Trained Nurses Association of India

Miscellaneous missing letters (known of from replies) are to Dr Norman Moore, warden, St Bartholomew’s Hospital; Gathorne Hardy (Lord Cranbrook); Lord Salisbury

Some letters to nurse Maria Machin, on nursing in Montreal, are in the University of Toronto Archives, originally held by the South Africa Nursing Association, but some are not. Where are they?

We know correspondence with a nun, Signora Elena Comparetti Calle del Ridotto, Venezia, probably 1888, maybe other years, is missing (draft letters found and correspondence about) re starting a training school for nurses in Padua.

What happened to letters at the Historical Museum Aldershot? Many are in the RAMC collection at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine, but it seems not all.