Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People and the hybrid pathways of Chinese
range of ills: anaemia, consumption, scrofula, rickets, fits, chronic erysipelas, bronchitis, lumbago, rheumatism, rheumatic gout, sciatica, eczema, paralysis, locomotor ataxy, neuralgia, St Vitus's Dance, and nervous headache.
This list of purported uses was not exhaustive, since other advertisements emphasised different sets of ailments. Another Illustrated London News advertisement from 1898, for example, claimed to have healed an ex-Royal Marines sergeant who had ‘suffered more than most men in a lifetime
fancy dress ‘Variety Race’ and during a
period of night duty, Harris persuaded another nurse to cover her
duties until 3 a.m. so that she could attend a local English colonists’
dance, leaving at 2 a.m. to complete her duty. It seems she did not
even stop to change into civilian clothes, claiming to have proudly
worn her nurse’s uniform while indulging in ‘plenty of dancing’ and
enjoying herself ‘immensely’ as it ‘was very jolly’.48 During their service in South Africa, nurses recorded their many varied excursions
in their personal correspondence. They recorded their
men in readiness to return
to battle. Nursing sisters thus created a space for themselves in
front-line duties. The chapter demonstrates that the use of humour
to support healing helped to dispel anxieties about impropriety in
the encounter between young single women and vulnerable male
soldiers and to further support nurses’ presence in the masculine
world of war.
The chapter then examines the morale-boosting presence of nurses
outside the hospital ward as they became dance partners, dinner
guests and potential wives for healthy male
Base Hospital Is Not a Coney Island Dance Hall’, presents a
handful of clear examples of serious bullying on the part of medical
officers, though it is unclear whether these can be viewed as typical.12
Julia Stimson’s ‘splendid women’
American nurse Julia Stimson appears to have had no difficulties in her
relationships with medical officers. Her charismatic personality and
apparently resolute refusal to see anything but good in any of her colleagues seems to have inoculated her against the problems encountered
by some other senior nurses
relief services and instructed mothers how to care for their infants.
She stated, ‘For Biafrans, this is a war for independence. We are fighting for our rights …. If they leave us alone, that is all we want.’54 In
addition to meeting immediate needs for survival, this Biafran nun
was working for her nation.
The film also shows a white Irish nun embodying the idea of cultural change. Rather than criticising African dances, as missionaries
did in the past, this nun joined in an African dance performed with
Biafran women. She was Sister M. Conrad Clifford, a Holy Rosary
,660 ANC nurses served with the
American Expeditionary Force in Europe’: Kimberly Jensen, ‘A Base Hospital
Is Not a Coney Island Dance Hall: American Women Nurses, Hostile Work
Environment, and Military Rank in the First World War’, Frontiers, 26.2
(2005): 206–35 (208–9). A very small number of volunteer nurses were incorporated into the US Army Medical Services.
95 Kimberly Jensen, ‘A Base Hospital Is Not a Coney Island Dance Hall’: 211.
96 Sarnecky, A History of the US Army Nurse Corps: 80–1.
97 Sarnecky, A History of the US Army Nurse Corps: 83. Brief histories of a
report – Belsen Concentration Camp’, 3
(c. June 1945), IWM Documents 10541.
31 Brooks, ‘“The nurse stoops down … for me”’, 226; Reilly, ‘Cleaner, carer and
occasional dance partner?’, 156.
32 Reilly, ‘Cleaner, carer and occasional dance partner?’, 156
33 Mary Copeland, in Barbara Mortimer, Sisters: Extraordinary True-Life
Stories from Nurses in World War Two (London: Hutchinson, 2012), 227.
34 Mary Sands, ‘Notes on dealing with Belsen’ (April 1993), 6, MMM Belsen
Concentration Camp – 1 945. For some reason, Sands calls Bergen-Belsen,
‘Belsen-Bergen’; it is
Component in Persecutory Delusions’. In 1938, Bender
developed a method for testing the ‘perceptual problems of
schizophrenic children’, in which she gave children gestalt
figures to draw. 47 From the late 1930s, she began to test the
responses of ‘schizophrenic’ children, arguing that
their responses showed an ‘accelerated impulse to motion,
action, whirling, dancing, and
Amy danced off into the conservatory which opened out
of the room, before the gaunt, pale, unwashed, unshaven weaver was
ushered in. There he stood at the door sleeking his hair with old country
habit, and every now and then stealing a glance round at the splendour of
‘Well, Wilson, and what you want to-day,
‘Please, sir, Davenport's ill of the fever, and
Wilson, Tissue Culture in Science and Society: The Public Life of
a Biological Technique in Twentieth Century Britain (Basingstoke:
Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) pp. 8–27.
62 On interwar attitudes to orthodox medicine, see Martin Pugh, We
Danced all Night: A Social History of Britain Between the Wars
(London: Vintage, 2009) pp. 37–42.
63 Anna K. Mayer, ‘A Combative Sense of Duty: Englishness and the
Scientists’, in Christopher Lawrence and Anna K. Mayer (eds),
The making of British bioethics
Regenerating England: Science, Medicine and Culture in Inter