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Mary Seacole - Research Paper Example

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Mary Seacole: A Forgotten Heroine Mary Seacole was a nurse and a contemporary of Florence Nightingale who cared for the sick and injured soldiers during the Crimean War. However, while Florence Nightingale became a well known nurse who was largely responsible for making nursing the acceptable and honorable profession it is today, Mary Seacole's name remained hidden in obscurity for almost a century after her death…
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Mary Seacole
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"Mary Seacole"

Download file to see previous pages Because historians did not begin to study this great women until 1970s, a lot of the information regarding her life was lost with time. All the work done on Mary Seacole, whether in academic papers or in popular media can be dated to within the last 30-40 years. But, even at this late date, historians have dug enough to give us a pretty accurate picture of Mary Seacole's life from her birth to her death. Through the dedicated work of several writers over the past few decades, we know a lot more about Seacole today than we did even twenty-five years ago. Yet, there remain a number of gaps in our knowledge regarding Mary Seacole and as a result of the fact that her life and achievements were completely ignored after her death and hence lost in the mist of time, there is little hope of scholars and historians learning much more about this forgotten heroine. Of the hundreds of books and articles written on Seacole, this essay has shortlisted two books and an article to discuss Seacole's contribution to history. Robinson has done a thorough job of researching Seacole's life and the various influences on it. Her book is much more complete since Robinson takes the pains of putting together bits and pieces of information from various sources to come to conclusions that help us better understand Seacole. Ramdin too analyzes Seacole's life. However, he is almost entirely dependent on her autobiography and as result, Ramdin's book is more a retelling of the Seacole story and does not add much to the canonical information available about Seacole. Since very limited information is available about Seacole, mostly because of lack of interest in her life, it is normal to ask why Seacole's story was lost in time while Nightingale became the inspiration of nurses around the world. Seaton attempts to answer this question and look at the various attempts made in the last few decades to restore her memory. The historians working on Mary Seacole have a tough time finding and validating information related to this heroine of the Crimean War. Almost everything that we know today about her life is through her autobiography, "Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole". But historians like Robinson have been able to glean a wealth of information from other primary things "reported in transcripts...[of] a court case, recorded in her will, and printed in letters published in Punch and The Times." (Robinson 7). For example, Seacole does not mention her maiden name or her father's name anywhere in her autobiography. But based on her will, records of army personal posted in Jamaica around the time Seacole was born and "an entry Kingston Registers of Death of a spinster, Louisa Grant",(10) Robinson was able to deduce to that Seacole's father was named James Grant. Similarly, even though Seacole never mentions the year of her birth, and her birth was never registered, her death certificate helps Robinson place her birth around the year 1805. The first chapter of Robinson's book also discusses the presence and influence of several other people in her life including her mother, and a grandmotherly lady who is not identified by name. Robinson also takes pains to explain Seacole's social status in the little Jamaican island as well as in Britain, which she apparently visited as a teenagers. All these details are extremely important in an introductory chapter about a women who ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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