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Edith Cavell: A Nurse Who Did Her Duty


Edith Cavell (Dec. 4, 1865–Oct. 12, 1915), after training and working as a nurse in her native England, was recruited as matron of a medical school in Brussels, Belgium. In the early days of World War I, she began to shelter British soldiers from the German occupation and to help them flee to the neutral Netherlands. In August of 1915, she was arrested and, in October of the same year, was put to death. Her execution caused an international uproar and media frenzy, and she quickly became an icon of the war effort and the nursing profession.

In recognition of the 100th anniversary of Nurse Cavell's martyrdom, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences has organized an exhibit of postcards pertaining to Nurse Cavell from the collection of Kay Seidenberg, a long-time Friends of VCU Libraries donor, as well as a graduate of the VCU School of Nursing.

The exhibit is free and open to all during normal library hours. Parking is available for a fee in the 8th Street parking deck. If special accommodations are needed, please contact Thelma Mack, research and education coordinator, at (804) 828-0017.

Opening reception

An opening reception will be held on Friday, Oct. 9, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Special Collections and Archives reading room at Tompkins-McCaw Library. Refreshments will be served, and there will be remarks at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to all.

Image: The late Nurse Cavell, martyred by the Germans, Oct. 12th, 1915, by the Daily Mirror, postcard printed by J. Beagles & Co., Ltd.