Florence Nightingale letters discovered in family’s desk
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Seven letters from Florence Nightingale have been discovered in a family’s Victorian-era desk.
The letters will be auctioned by U.K. auction house Hanson’s Auctioneers on Tuesday.
Nightingale, a pioneer of modern nursing, wrote the letters between 1892 and 1894 when she was in her 70s. The letters, which are written to a Mrs. Walker, inquire as to the health of Hannah Allen. Allen lived in Holloway, near Matlock, Derbyshire, which is near Nightingale’s former family home.
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“The letters ask after Hannah’s wellbeing, mental and physical, and refer to gifts of food and payments made for her care,” said Hansons Auctioneers in an emailed statement.
The letters were written between 1892 and 1894 when Nightingale was in her 70s.
The identity of the seller has not been revealed, although the auction house said that the letters were found in a desk. “The seller inherited the letters through descent in 1986 and discovered them in the family Victorian desk where they had lain for decades,” the statement read.
Dubbed “the Lady with the Lamp,” Florence Nightingale rose to prominence when tending to casualties in the Crimean War.
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The letters were discovered in a Victorian-era desk. (Hansons Auctioneers)
The letters are a “wonderful find,” according to Jim Spencer, a paper expert at Hansons. “They epitomize all that Nightingale stood for — boundless kindness and compassion and the importance of gaining the right care,” he wrote in the statement. “They demonstrate her dogged determination to ensure the welfare of others. Despite being overworked and ill, Nightingale continually looked out for Hannah.”
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English nursing reformer Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) became the first woman to receive the Order of Merit for her tireless efforts during the Crimean War.
(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The letters, along with a book inscribed by Hannah for Nightingale, have a pre-sale estimate of $1,267 to $1,897 each.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers
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