Laupus Library exhibits “Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection”

Laupus Library is hosting the traveling exhibit “Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection” in the Evelyn Fike Laupus gallery on the fourth floor of the library.

On display from Oct. 23 through Dec. 2, the six-banner exhibit explores a unique archive of 2,588 postcards and over 100 years of images of nurses and the nursing profession from around the world, investigating the hold these images exert on the public imagination — then and now.

The postcard is a fleeting and widespread art form influenced by popular ideas about social and cultural life in addition to fashions in visual style. Nurses and nursing have been the frequent subjects of postcards for over 100 years. In fact, no other art form has illustrated the nursing profession so profusely using such a variety of artistic styles and images.

These images of nurses and nursing are informed by cultural values; ideas about women, men and work; and attitudes toward class, race and national differences. By documenting the relationship of nursing to significant forces in 20th-century life, such as war and disease, these postcards reveal how nursing was seen during those times.

The exhibition highlights only a small selection from the 2,588 postcards of the Zwerdling Postcard Collection, but over 500 more are available to view in the exhibition’s online digital gallery at http://nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/picturesofnursing/digitalgallery.

A “Pictures of Nursing” exhibit reception will be held on Nov. 16 from 4-6 p.m. on the fourth floor of the library and is open to the public. During the program a special collection of nursing artifacts from the Country Doctor Museum will be on display and museum curator Anne Anderson will speak about the history of nursing and healthcare during the early and mid-twentieth century.

“We were really delighted to have been selected as a host site for this exhibit, not only because we like connecting our nursing students and faculty with their profession’s past, but it also allows us a really great opportunity to showcase some of our excellent nursing artifacts from the Country Doctor Museum,” said Beth Ketterman, director for Laupus Library. “It’s a real pleasure whenever we can connect our students with the past in such a tangible way.”

The exhibit is available during operating hours posted at www.ecu.edu/laupuslibrary/about/hours.cfm, or call 252-744-2219.

The exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, and curated by Julia Hallam, PhD.

For more information about the exhibit visit www.nlm.nih.gov/picturesofnursing or contact Kelly Dilda at 252-744-2232 or rogerske@ecu.edu.

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