Skip to main content

The Diary of a Civil War Nurse

Tokens of Remembrance

After a little over a year of service, Amanda Akin returned to her home in Quaker Hill. Before departing she purchased a cartes-de-visite photo album similar to the one shown here. These albums were intended for display within the home, and for sharing among friends and family.
Collecting carte-de-visite photographs (small studio portraits) became very popular in the 1860s. The relatively new medium of photography proved especially meaningful to people separated from their loved ones by the war. While at the hospital, Akin exchanged cartes-de-visite with coworkers as well as with those under her care. The images served as a remembrance of the many people who briefly shared in the community of the hospital during the years of conflict.

“July 20, 1864. The day has at last arrived to bid adieu to my ward and its absorbing duties, now realizing, reluctantly, how my life has been rounded within it….”
—Amanda Akin
Presented to Miss Anna Lowell

“Presented to Miss Anna Lowell …”
Inscription page from the inside cover of Anna Lowell’s album. The “attendants” were convalescent soldiers who worked with Lowell in her ward.

Page from Anna Lowell’s Album

Page from Anna Lowell’s Album
(Lent by National Library of Medicine)

Anna Lowell’s Album

Anna Lowell’s Album
Anna Lowell was a Ward K nurse who worked with Amanda Akin at Armory Square Hospital. Her ward “attendants” presented her with this photograph album in November 1864. It is filled with war views, shown here, from Mathew Brady’s and Alexander Gardner’s galleries, as well as cartes-de-visite. (Lent by National Library of Medicine)

5 of 7