history meme: 6 women → [3/6] Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910) was a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was dubbed “The Lady with the Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night.
Nightingale was born to a wealthy upper-class family, at a time when women of her class were expected to focus on marriage and child bearing. Unitarian religious inspiration led her to devote her life to serving others, both directly and as a reformer. Nightingale rejected proposals of marriage so as to be free to pursue her calling. Her father had progressive social views, providing his daughter with a well-rounded education that included mathematics and supported her desire to lead an active life. Nightingale’s ability to effect reform rested on her exceptional analytic skills, her high reputation, and her network of influential friends. Starting in her mid-thirties, she suffered from chronic poor health, but continued working almost until her death at the age of ninety.