Florence Nightingale

On this date in 1820, Florence Nightingale was born in England. Refusing to conform to the limited expectations for women of her class, Florence entered hospital work. She was appointed Superintendent of a Hospital for Invalid Gentlewomen in London in 1853. To award her for two years of diligent organization in caring for the wounded during the Crimean War, her government offered 50,000 pounds for a Nightingale School for Nurses. Nightingale was the first woman to receive the Order of Merit, among many other honors. British freethought encyclopedist Joseph McCabe identified her as a nonChristian theist, rejecting rites and ceremonies or any denominational claims. Nightingale wrote about her rejection of many religious claims in Fraser's Magazine (May and July 1873). D. 1910.

"The Church is now more like the Scribes and Pharisees than like Christ . . . What are now called the 'essential doctrines' of the Christian religion he does not even mention."

—Florence Nightingale, 1896 letter, quoted by Sir Edward Cook, Life of Florence Nightingale (1913)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor; Photo by Everett Collection, Shutterstock.com

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