Most Cuba or Jacksonville: 1898-1900. Silver gelatin or albumen photographs, various sizes ranging from 3 x 3 to 6 x 8, most captioned to verso. With handwritten manuscript, four leaves, discussing various diseases. Item #List518
The Spanish-American War was the first war in which nurses formed their own dedicated units, as well as the first war in which they were accepted within military hospitals. While no nurses died in battle, 153 died during the war from disease. Nurses were responsible for both treating soldiers as well as maintaining sanitary conditions within the camps. Conditions were often poor, leading some to work until they were too sick to continue.
The current collection of photographs documents the experiences of a Mrs. Waters, who was originally from Groton, Massachusetts. The collection begins with a couple early photographs including a portrait as a young woman and a cyanotype of one of Waters’ leprosy patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The next section shows Waters’ training in Jacksonville, Florida, with either the Fourth or Seventh Army Corps at what was called Camp Cuba Libre (both Corps trained there in 1898). The photographs of Jacksonville show life around the military camp and environs, with some notable photographs of African-American inhabitants of the region. Three photographs, quite notably, show the Congregation of American Sisters, a small group of American Indian nuns led by Reverend Francis Craft. The photographs taken in Cuba are notable for their portrayal of local life. Several photographs of military installations are taken around the “trocha” or line, established by General Valeriana Weyler from Mariel to Majana. Another notable photograph is a cabinet card of a large group of nurses taken by the Havana photographer R. Testar.
The group overall shows very early photographic records of military nurses in training, as well as a scarce photographic record from a woman in a combat situation. The photographs are generally well preserved in very good to excellent condition, with some light fading. Accompanying the photographs is a four page manuscript essay, presumably by Waters, discussing leprosy, as well as the booklet Spanish Phrase Book for American Soldiers and Sailors, published by the National Relief Commission of Philadelphia.
Offered in partnership with Daniel / Oliver Gallery.