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Gendered spaces, gendered pages: Union women in Civil War nurse narratives
  1. Jennifer Casavant Telford1,2,
  2. Thomas Lawrence Long1,3
  1. 1School of Nursing, University of Connecticut, Connecticut, USA
  2. 2Department of History, University of Connecticut, Connecticut, USA
  3. 3Department of English, University of Connecticut, Connecticut, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jennifer Casavant Telford, Assistant Professor, University of Connecticut, School of Nursing and Department of History, 231 Glenbrook Rd. U-2026, Storrs, CT 06269-2026, USA; jennifer.telford{at}


This interdisciplinary analysis joins literary and culture studies with history using Daphne Spain's theory of gendered spaces. Specifically, we examine the reconfiguration of the spaces of military medical work and of book publishing that produced popular literary representations of those medical spaces. As a social historian of nursing and a scholar of American literature and culture, we argue that the examination of Civil War narratives by or about Northern female nurses surveys a landscape in which women penetrated the masculine spaces of the military hospital and the literary spaces of the wartime narrative. In so doing, these women transformed these spaces into places acknowledging and even relying upon what had been traditionally considered male domains. Like many historiographical papers written about nurses and the impact of their practice over time, this work is relevant to those practicing nursing today, specifically those issues related to professional authority and professional autonomy.

  • Gender
  • nursing history
  • United States Civil War
  • memoir and biography
  • history of the book
  • narrative medicine
  • gender studies
  • feminism
  • history
  • cultural history
  • social science
  • literature
  • literary studies
  • nurse

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.