Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 09, 2004

U of G prof bringing Florence Nightingale home

*Note to media: Lynn McDonald will only be available for interviews in Canada until March 15.

Florence Nightingale is returning to her homeland, thanks to the efforts of a University of Guelph sociology professor.

Prof. Lynn McDonald is launching the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, which will eventually contain 16 volumes, in London April 14 at 6:30 p.m. during a reception at Canada House, Trafalgar Square. The official launch will mark the publication of Volume 6, Florence Nightingale on Public Health Care. Publication of the collection began in 2001.

The Collected Works of Florence Nightingale draws on more than 200 archives and private collections worldwide to bring together all of Nightingale’s letters, unpublished writings and long out-of-print books and articles. The research and writing are being done by McDonald with an international team of researchers.

“The major archives are in London, but we have found material all over the world,” McDonald said. With the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, people for the first time will be able to draw on the whole range of Nightingale’s work, she said.

Nightingale’s correspondents included Queen Victoria and other royals, as well as many cabinet ministers, prime ministers and viceroys. “The scope, breadth and quality of the writing are outstanding,” McDonald said. “Nightingale is well known for the role she played in founding the modern profession of nursing, but her broader role as a public health care visionary and reformer is not known,” she said. Nightingale was also a pioneer statistician and political activist who lobbied hard for change.

“I think she was one of the greatest thinkers of all time,” McDonald said. “She comes across in this collection as an extremely rare and brilliant mind, and she was delightfully witty.”

The first three volumes of the Collected Works of Florence Nightingale were published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press in 2001-2002 and focus on her life, spiritual journey and theology. Volume 4, published in 2003, relates her thoughts on mysticism and Eastern religions, including her Letters from Egypt. Volume 5, Society and Politics, also published in 2003, reports her pioneering work as a social theorist and statistician, with her political commentary and correspondence with political notables. Future volumes will look at Nightingale’s European travels and her thoughts on women, medicine and prostitution, the Crimean War and militarism, India and hospital reform.

The collection is two-tiered, beginning with print publication. Electronic publication will follow, complete with searchable databases. Information on the project is available online.

McDonald, a U of G faculty member since 1991, has been writing about Nightingale and other women theorists since her 1993 book, Early Origins of the Social Sciences. She is herself a public health advocate. As a member of the Canadian Parliament, she succeeded in getting the non-smokers’ health act adopted in 1988 as a private member’s bill. A well-known women’s advocate, McDonald was also president of the national Action Committee on the Status of Women, the largest women’s organization in Canada.

Prof. Lynn McDonald
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 52198
(416) 944-9334 (home)
After March 15, McDonald may be reached in London at:
011 44 207 833 2713

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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