Society for the Social History of Medicine 2018

Excited to join my history of medicine and history of nursing colleagues at the SSHM 2018!  My paper “Nursing Careers at Haslar and Plymouth Naval Hospitals, 1769-1800” counters historiographical preconceptions about pre-Nightingale nursing through a detailed analysis of the nursing workforce at Plymouth and Haslar Naval Hospitals, in conjunction with the nursing regulations for naval medical care. As the experiences of nurses at Plymouth Naval Hospital show, the physical stability of naval hospitals allowed for nurses to develop healing and care skills over a period of longstanding employment.

The full conference programme is available here.

Presenting at “Redcoats, Tommies, and Dusty Warriors: Britain’s Soldiers c.1650 to the present”

I’m heading to Leeds for the day to present at the “Redcoats, Tommies, and Dusty Warriors: Britain’s Soldiers c.1650 to the present” conference.  My paper “‘An awkward clumsy man’: Perceptions of female nurses and male orderlies in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars” demonstrates the at times contradictory views of female nurses and male orderlies in regimental and general hospitals.  This is achieved through an examination of regulatory literature which highlights the officially endorsed ambiguity of the roles of nurses and orderlies in regimental and general hospitals while letters, memoirs, and medical treatises are used to showcase contemporary understandings of medical practitioners and military authorities on the provision of medical care in the army.

The conference programme is available here.

UK Association for the History of Nursing Colloquium










I’m in the lovely Roman city of Chester today to present at the UK Association for the History of Nursing Colloquium.  My paper “‘And if they are to be men or Women’: Nursing on late-18th Century British Hospital Ships” considers the decision to employ women as nurses on British navy hospital ships and convalescent ships in the eighteenth century.  Specifically to showcase the role of women in these floating medical institutions.

The programme for the colloquium is available here.


Canadian Association for the History of Nursing Conference 2018

It was so great to be back in Nova Scotia for the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing Conference!  Especially as it was my first CAHN conference that wasn’t held jointly with the CSHM as part of the Congress of Social Sciences and Humanities.

My paper “The Nursing Workforce at British Naval Hospitals in Haslar and Plymouth 1770-1800,” gave me the first chance to make some comparisons between Haslar and Plymouth from nursing pay list records.  Although this analysis is still in the preliminary stages I hope to soon have the rest of the Haslar records added to the nursing database.

The full conference program is available here.  Thank you to the Nova Scotia Nursing History Group and Gloria Stephens for organizing the conference!

CHESS 2018

I’m finishing up my time in Saskatchewan, by heading to Saskatoon for the Canadian History and Environment Summer Symposium.  This year’s CHESS features both the traditional summer school and a new workshop component for the recently launched Papers in Canadian History and Environment.  I will be workshopping my paper: “‘The Hardships he labours under for want of an Allowance of Fuel in that severe Climate’: Environment and Military and Naval Hospitals in Canada 1756-1814.”

Word cloud of my paper:

Watch later in June for my Congress/CHESS retrospective on my Saskatchewan conferencing adventures!

Canadian Historical Association 2018

Super excited to present at the CHA this year with such wonderful people and to discuss the importance of subverting traditional historiographies!  Word cloud of my paper accurately representing my use of pay list records to showcase the role of nurses in British naval hospitals.

Join us on Wednesday 30 May at 1:30!

Subverting Traditional Historiographies: Seeking Diversity in the Archives and Beyond | Contourner l’historiographie traditionnelle : à la recherche de la diversité dans les archives et ailleurs

Michelle Desveaux (University of Saskatchewan): “Firm Foundations: The National Archives as an Expression of Early 20th Century Canadian Historical Consciousness”

Katherine MacDonald (University of New Brunswick): “Organizing the Unorganisable?: International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union Decline and Membership Engagement in Montreal, 1970-1989”

Stephanie Pettigrew (University of New Brunswick): “Disrupting Colonial New France: Diversity in Seventeenth Century Colonial Populations”

Erin Spinney (University of Saskatchewan): “Forgotten Carers: How digital methodology illuminates female nursing in 18th century British Naval Hospitals”

Chair | Animatrice : Andrea Eidinger (University of British Columbia)

The whole CHA program is available here!

CSHM 2018

I’m going to be presenting twice at #Congressh2018 this year!  My first meeting is with the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine, where I will be discussing the medical care provided for nurses in eighteenth and early nineteenth century naval hospitals.

Word cloud of my paper. I think I enjoy making word clouds a bit too much!

Join me bright and early on Monday, May 28th!

Panel information:

G1: Being Nurses 9:00-10:00 am

Chair: Frank Stanisch, University of Calgary        LI 111

“Nursing the Nurses: Medical Care for Nurses in British Naval Hospitals 1790-1815/ Soigner les infirmières : soins médicaux pour les infirmières britanniques dans les hôpitaux de la marine 1790-1815” Erin Spinney, University of Saskatchewan*

“‘We have to remember there was a past’: A first glimpse of the Saskatchewan Nursing Oral History Collection 1950-2010/Souvenons-nous qu’il y a eu un passé’: Un premier aperçu de la Collection d’histoire orale des infirmières et des infirmiers de la Saskatchewan entre 1950 et 2010” Meghan Bend, Megan Hewson, Helen Vandenberg, University of Saskatchewan


Excited for the AAHM 2018

Tomorrow I’m off to the American Association for the History of Medicine in Los Angeles! I’m excited for the conference, my first visit to California, and the chance to go swimming in the ocean in May. It is also the first opportunity I have to present on my new postdoctoral project “A System of Care and Control: British Naval Medicine 1790-1815.”

Word could of my AAHM paper.

Information about our panel:

Saturday, May 12, 2018
F2. Great Britain: Systems of Care and Knowledge
Location: Legacy A + B
Chair: Jacob Steere-Williams (College of Charleston)

1. Erin Spinney (University of Saskatchewan)
Hospital Ships within a System of Care and Control: British Naval Medicine 1790-1815
2. Stephanie Snow (University of Manchester)
Rationing in a Universal Health System: The Treatment of Renal Failure in Guy’s and St Thomas’, London, 1970s-1990s
3. Seth LeJacq (Duke University)
Bodies Made Knowable: Sexual Crime and the Emergence of Published Sexual Forensics in Britain, 1780-1840

The complete program is available here.

#ASEH2018Tweets Reference List

Twitter Presentation

Further Resources:

Images used in this paper:

Arrowsmith, John. “West Indies.” (London: John Arrowsmith, 1832). Link

“Bag for cinchona bark, Peru, 1777-1785” by Science Museum London. Credit:  Science Museum, London

‘Cinchona plant (Cinchona officinalis): flowering and fruiting branch. Coloured etching by J. Pass, c. 1801, after J. Ihle’ by Johann-Eberhard Ihle. Credit: Wellcome Collection.

Jefferys, Thomas. “Engraved Title Page: West-India atlas: or, a compendious description of the West-Indies.” London: Sayer and Bennett, 1788. Link.

“Johnny New-come in the Island of Jamaica.” (London: Willm. Holland, 1800). Link 

‘Naval officers and men on a ship, dressed in the uniform of nine labelled ranks of the Royal Navy. Wood engraving.’. Credit: Wellcome Collection.

Pariset, Etienne and Andre Mazet. Observations sur la fièvre jaune, faites à Cadix, en 1819. Credit: Wellcome Collection

Archival Sources:

National Maritime Museum

ADM/E/46: ADM/E/46 “Sick and Hurt Board, In-Letters and Orders 1797-1798.”


Wellcome Library

RAMC 210 “Volume of copy letters and reports.”  1811-1823.

Printed Primary Sources:

 Bell, John. An Inquiry into the Causes Which Produce, and the Means of Preventing Diseases Among British Officers, Soldiers, and Others in the West Indies. London, 1791.

Fergusson, William. Notes and Reflections on a Professional Life. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longman, 1846.

Henderson, Stewart. A Letter to the Officers of the Army Under Orders For, Or That May Hereafter Be Sent to the West Indies, on the Means of Preserving Health, and Preventing That Fatal Disease the Yellow Fever. London: John Stockdale, 1795.

Laughton, John and James Sullivan eds. Journal of Rear-Admiral Bartholomew James. London: Navy Records Society, 1896.

Lempriere, William. Practical observations on the diseases of the army in Jamaica, as they occurred between the years 1792 and 1797, Volume 1 and 2. London: T. N. Longman and O. Rees, 1799.

McLean, Hector. An enquiry into the nature, and causes of the great mortality among the troops at St. Domingo. London: T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1797.

Moseley, Benjamin. A Treatise on Tropical Diseases; On Military Operations; and on the Climate of the West-Indies. London: G. G. and J. Robinson, 1795.

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Alsop, J. D. “Warfare and the Creation of British Imperial Medicine, 1600-1800.” In British Military and Naval Medicine, 1600-1830, edited by Geoffrey L. Hudson, 23-50. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007.

Arnold, David ed. Warm Climates and Western Medicine: The Emergence of Tropical Medicine, 1500-1900. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996.

Bailey, Mark S. “A brief history of British military experiences with infectious and tropical diseases.” Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 159 (2013): 150-157.

Buckley, R. Norman. The British Army in the West Indies: Society and the Military in the Revolutionary Age. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1998.

Buckley, R. Norman.  Slaves in Red Coats: The British West Indian Regiments, 1795-1815. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979.

Burnard, Trevor. “’The Countrie Continues Sicklie’: White Mortality in Jamaica, 1655-1780.” Social History of Medicine 12(1) (1999): 45-72.

Charters, Erica. Disease, War, and the Imperial State: The Welfare of the British Armed Forces during the Seven Years’ War. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2014.

Churchill, Wendy. “Efficient, Efficacious and Humane Responses to Non-European Bodies in British Military Medicine, 1780-1815.” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 40(2) (2012): 137-158.

Crewe, Duncan. Yellow Jack and the Worm: British Naval Administration in the West Indies, 1739-1748. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1993.

Dobson, Mary. “Mortality Gradients and Disease Exchanges: Comparisons from Old England and Colonial America.” Social History of Medicine 2(3) (1989): 259-297.

Duffy, Michael. Soldiers, Sugar, and Seapower: The British Expeditions to the West Indies in the War against Revolutionary France. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.

Dunn, Richard. Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624-1713. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1972.

Elliz, David. “Revolution, War, Empire: Gendering the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1776-1830.” In Gender, War and Politics: Transatlantic Perspectives, 1775-1830, edited by Karen

Hagemann and Gisela Mettele, 169-187. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Harrison, Mark.  “’The Tender Frame of Man’: Disease, Climate, and Racial Difference in India and the West Indies, 1760-1860.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 70(1) (1996): 68-93.

Humphreys, Margaret. Yellow Fever and the South. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.

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Warren, Christian. “Northern Chills, Southern Fevers: Race-Specific Mortality in American  Cities 1730-1900.” The Journal of Southern History 63(1) (1997): 23-56.