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Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection

Nurses and nursing have been the frequent subjects of postcards. These postcard images are informed by cultural values; ideas about women, men, and work; and by attitudes toward class, race, and national differences. Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Pos


The postcard, as a fleeting art form, has been a significant medium for illustrating nurses and nursing for over  The Postcard Nursing   a century. No other art form has portrayed the nursing profession as extensively and diversely as postcards. These images are deeply influenced by popular visual styles, cultural values, and societal ideas about gender, work, class, race, and national differences.

The Zwerdling Collection, housed in the History of Medicine Division, is a unique archive containing 2,588 postcards featuring images of nurses and the nursing profession from around the world. Spanning the years 1893 to 2011, this collection provides a rich historical perspective on the evolving portrayal of nursing.

"Pictures of Nursing" investigates the impact these images have had on the public imagination both historically and in contemporary times. It explores how cultural values and societal attitudes have shaped the visual representation of nurses and nursing, offering insights into the broader perceptions of gender roles, professions, and diversity.