The Making of a Canadian Military Nursing Heroine with Katherine Dewar
Tuesday, April 17, 2018 | 7 p.m. | Main Building Faculty Lounge
The April 2018 Island Studies Lecture took place on Tuesday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in the SDU Main Building Faculty Lounge on the UPEI campus and featured author Katherine Dewar speaking about “The Making of a Canadian Military Nursing Heroine.” The heroine in question was Prince Edward Island’s own Georgina Fane Pope (1862-1938) and is the subject of Katherine’s soon-to-be-released book from Island Studies Press: Called to Serve.
How does a young woman, born in 1862 into privileged circumstances in Prince Edward Island, rise to the top echelons of Canadian military nursing leadership? This Island Lecture Series presentation discussed Georgina Pope’s path to power through the second half of the 19th century and into the 20th. Among other things, it addressed the significance of her privileged and powerful lineage, the influence of her parents on her world view, and the inspiration of Florence Nightingale who invoked in Pope a “burning desire” to become an “army nurse” in a faraway land. The story takes us from Georgie’s rather sheltered life in Victorian Prince Edward Island to the “Boston States”; to the dangerous and primitive conditions she experienced as Superintendent of nurses in two South African Wars; to her work in the formation of the nursing component of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (PAMC); and to the battlefields of Europe during the First World War.
Katherine Dewar is the author of the award-winning book, Those Splendid Girls: The Heroic Service of Prince Edward Island Nurses in the Great War, 1914-1918. Katherine is retired from a career as a nursing instructor at the PEI School of Nursing, and is now committed to researching PEI’s colourful nursing history. Those Splendid Girls was shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, won the Publication of Year award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and the City of Summerside’s Heritage and Culture department, and Katherine herself is the recipient of the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation Award of Honour for her outstanding contribution to Prince Edward Island Heritage.