Boston Art Commission

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  • ArmyNursesPratt
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Army Nurses Memorial

Artist:

Bela Lyon Pratt

Location:

State House  

Location

State House
United States
42° 21' 27.2196" N, 71° 3' 49.2876" W

Neighborhood:

Downtown

Type:

Memorial

Year:

1914

Medium:

Bronze

Collection:

Massachusetts State House

Funders:

Army Nurses Memorial Association

Description:

The memorial in Nurses Hall in the State House is a tribute to the women who served in the Civil War nursing corps: “Angels of Mercy and Life Amid Scenes of Conflict and Death.” The sculpture by Bela Lyon Pratt (1867-1917) depicts a kneeling nurse, appearing on a battlefield, to support a fallen soldier while she offers him a drink of water. In Nineteenth-Century America it was highly unusual for a woman to become a nurse. Estimates of women nurses in the Civil War vary from two thousand to eight thousand on both sides, perhaps no more than a quarter of the total number of nurses. If it was exceptional for a woman to become a nurse, it would have been even more exceptional for a female nurse to serve on a battlefield, though a few women did. The women nurses  were praised for having served the wounded from either side with equal care. The monument was commissioned by the Army Nurses Memorial Association. The association was sponsored by the Daughters of Veterans of the Civil War, an affiliate of the Massachusetts Department of the Grand Army of the Republic, an association of Union Civil War veterans. The monument was dedicated in 1914, and may be only one of two dedicated to the Civil War’s women nurses.

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