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So Much Need of Service: The Diary of a Civil War Nurse

"So Much Need of Service" – The Diary of a Civil War Nurse

This exhibition featured the diary of Civil War nurse Amanda Akin. In April 1863, Akin left her home in Quaker Hill, New York, to serve as a nurse at Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D.C. During her 15 months at Armory Square, Akin wrote long letters to her sisters and recorded her daily activities in diaries. Nearly 50 years later, Akin drew on these written records to publish an account of her wartime role in a book, The Nurse of Ward E.

While this collection preserves the memories and experiences of Akin, the documents also represent millions of other Americans who left their families and communities behind to contribute to the Civil War effort. 

Other documents in the exhibition included a photo album belonging to Akin’s fellow nurse, Anna Lowell, and two issues of a small newspaper, the Armory Square Hospital Gazette, printed and published by the hospital staff.

This exhibition is jointly produced by the National Museum of American History and the National Library of Medicine.