Heroines of Mercy Street
Heroines of Mercy Street:
Real Nurses of the Civil War
by Pamela Toler, PhD
Air Date/Time May 2, 3pm (Central)
1st ed., 304p., hardcover
Heroines of Mercy Street tells the true stories of the nurses at Mansion House, the Alexandria, Virginia mansion turned wartime hospital and setting for the PBS drama Mercy Street. Among the Union soldiers, doctors, wounded men from both sides, freed slaves, politicians, speculators and spies who passed through the hospital in the crossroads of the Civil War, were nurses who gave their time to save lives and aid the wounded.
Civil War nurses ushered in a new era for medicine in the midst of tremendous hardship. While the country was at war, these women not only learned to advocate and care for patients in hostile settings, saved countless lives, and changed the profession forever, they regularly fell ill with no one to nurse them in return, seethed in anger at the indifference and inefficiency that left wounded men on the battlefield without care, and all too often mourned for those they could not rescue.
Heroines of Mercy Street tells the true stories of the Civil War nurses at Mansion House, the Alexandria, Virginia, hotel turned wartime hospital and setting for the PBS show Mercy Street. Women like Dorothea Dix, Mary Phinney, Anne Reading, and more rushed to be of service to their country during the war, meeting challenges that would discourage less determined souls every step of the way. They saw casualties on a scale Americans had never seen before; diseases like typhoid and dysentery were rampant; and working conditions-both physically and emotionally–were abysmal.
Drawing on the diaries, letters, and books written by these nursing pioneers, Pamela D. Toler, PhD, has written a fascinating portrait of true heroines, shining a light on their personal contributions during one of our country’s most turbulent periods.