Cover image for Historical encyclopedia of nursing
Historical encyclopedia of nursing
Snodgrass, Mary Jane.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [1999]

Physical Description:
xvii, 354 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
An encyclopedia covering the history of nursing, spanning topics from abortion to World War II.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RT31 .S66 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This unique reference work traces the story of nursing from Roman times to the present, including the evolution of military nursing.

* Numerous biographies of healthcare pioneers, including many first-person narratives and eyewitness accounts, from Mother Teresa to Walt Whitman

* Provides a timeline of landmarks, a detailed bibliography, and a comprehensive index

Author Notes

Mary Ellen Snodgrass was born on February 29, 1944 in Wlimington, North Carolina. She is an award-winning author of textbooks and general reference works, and a former columnist for the Charlotte Observer. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Appalachian State University, and holds degrees in English, Latin, psychology, and education of gifted children. She teaches English and Latin at Lenoir Rhyne University. In addition to her membership on the North Carolina Library Board, she serves the N.C. Humanities Commission as a traveling lecturer. She has also held jobs as a freelance writer for the Charlotte Observer along with being a columnist, and book reviewer for them. She has also worked on the Canadian Medical Association Journal, American Guidance Service, American Reference Books Annual and Cliffs Notes along with being a professor of Latin and English, Lenoir Rhyne University, 2008-2010. Her works include Michel Faber and Feminism: The Neo-Gothic Novel, Leslie Marmon Silko, The Civil War Era and Reconstruction: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History, and World Food.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The entries in this encyclopedia include 37 biographical sketches of notables in the field of nursing. The remaining articles cover the history of nursing; such topics as Abortion, African-American nurses, Christian nursing, Midwifery; and the role of nurses in specific military conflicts. Entries are alphabetical and cross-referenced to related articles. There is a time line of landmarks in nursing from 3000 B.C. to 1998, a list of "works by and about healers," and a bibliography of books, articles, and Web sites. Any one-volume encyclopedia is bound to be selective, but there are some omissions here that weaken the book's value as a history of nursing. Nursing schools and nursing education are not covered. Some notable people such as Lavinia Dock (1858^-1956), who wrote one of the first nursing textbooks, and Elizabeth Fry (1780^-1840), founder of an early visiting-nurse organization, do not have their own entries (although both are mentioned in other entries). A more comprehensive history of the nursing profession is Nursing, the Finest Art, by M. Patricia Donohue (2d ed., Mosby-Year Book, 1996). Donohue's title is arranged topically and covers the origins and history of nursing, including the current status of the profession. The impact of specialization and managed care are discussed as they relate to nurses. There is also thorough coverage of nursing education, professional organizations, and the future of the nursing. Historical Encyclopedia of Nursing will be a useful supplement to more comprehensive works, but it falls short as a history of an ancient profession undergoing constant change.

Library Journal Review

Snodgrass, who has authored a number of ABC-CLIO references (e.g., Encyclopedia of Southern Literature, LJ 3/1/98), here offers a one-volume encyclopedia on nursing history from ancient and medieval times to the present. The alphabetically arranged essays range from approximately one to 14 pages in length, averaging two to three pages. Well written and well referenced, the articles focus on public healthcare, wartime nursing, midwifery, abortion issues, and current events or people as they have contributed to the field of nursing. The photographs and illustrations are excellent; appended cross references, source lists, and a time line of landmark events in nursing add to the volume's value. However, there are a few flaws. The 20th-century section only briefly mentions nursing theorists, with some inaccuracies (e.g., the last name of Dr. Hildegard Peplan, the "mother of psychiatric nursing," is misspelled). Still, this is a useful resource for public and consumer health libraries.--Rebecca Cress-Ingebo, Wright State Univ. Libs., Dayton, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Sixty-three alphabetized entries, most one to five pages in length, deal with important time periods or major events, key healers, ethnic healing methods, and major breakthroughs in treatment. Snodgrass covers social issues that impacted nursing and health care at particular times (e.g., mobile army surgical hospital--MASH--units during the Korean War, midwifery). She includes contributions by significant people as well as essays on the history of recent topics such as abortion, disease, and hospices. A list of the 63 main entries, a subject index, an extensive bibliography that includes URLs, a time line of landmarks in nursing, a list of works by and about healers, black-and-white photos, cross-references within entries, and a source list for each entry contribute to the book's overall usefulness and attractive format. One omission was noted: Madeleine Leininger, whose transcultural nursing theory goes back to the 1970s, is missing from the subject index, although the book has entries for Native American and African American nursing. Belongs in academic libraries supporting nursing programs, and a handsome addition to a nurse's or nursing student's personal library. E. Okuma; Hawaii Community College