Lot 341 of 395:
Letter about hospital care in Crimean War 1855  

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Autograph Letter Signed (in French), as Prussian Ambassador to Ottoman Turkey, relating to medical treatment and nursing in the Crimean War, with veiled reference to the accomplishments of Florence Nightingale

Wildenbruch, Ludwig von

Pera [Contantinople], Turkey


March 29, 1855


2 pages, on 4-page stampless lettersheet, addressed on p.4. 27x21.5 cm. (10½x8½").

Von Wildenbruch writes to British Ambassador Lord Stratford (Canning) de Redcliffe, thanking him for allowing Dr. Morris to inspect the English Hospital at Constantinople, where he felt great "admiration" for the care of the "brave sick and wounded soldiers" who were being treated there, though he had doubts about the "too great abundance" of patients. A year before, Britain and France, allied with Turkey, Germany and Austria, declared war on imperial Russia. After fighting began on the Crimean coast of the Black Sea, the allied troops suffered greatly during the winter of 1854-55 from lack of fuel, clothing and supplies. Hearing in London of the horrible conditions of the British wounded, in November 1854, 35 year-old Florence Nightingale took 38 British women volunteer nurses to staff an overcrowded British military hospital near Constantinople, hundreds of miles from the battlefields. The nurses - who were not welcomed by the male Army Doctors - found a shortage of medicine and food and such awful sanitary conditions that many of the evacuated wounded were dying of typhus, cholera and dysentery.  Not until March 1855, after the inspection of a British  Sanitary Commission, did improved Hospital sanitation and ventilation begin to reduce the high death rate. The (apparently) German doctor, who visited the Hospital that same month with credentials from Ambassador von Wildenbruch was perturbed by the overcrowding. But he could only praise the care given the patients, thanks - though this diplomatically-worded letter neglects to mention it - to Florence Nightingale, known poetically as "the Lady with the Lamp".

Lot Amendments

Some creasing and wear along one edge, very good.

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