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Tompkins County honors Civil War nurses

New York’s Tompkins County Civil War Commemoration Commission is establishing a “living memorial” to honor four local women who served as nurses in the Civil War.  The Commission has teamed up with the Tompkins Cortland Community College Foundation to establish a fund that will be used to create three permanent nursing scholarships.  The fund will also support the college’s first endowed nursing chair.

According to Tompkins County historian Carol Kammen, women were not welcome on the battlefield in the early days of the Civil War, not even as nurses.  However, Kammen identified four Tompkins County women who served as nurses during the war:  41-year-old Julia Cook, 34-year-old Sophronia Bucklin (who worked with Dorothea Dix at Gettysburg), 32-year-old Sarah Graham Palmer Young and 32-year-old Susan Hall, who was one of the first women from New York State accepted as a nurse. 

The group hopes to raise $80,000 by next April 12, exactly 150 years from the start of the American Civil War.

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Jennifer Fink, RN, BSN

Jennifer is a professional freelance writer with over eight years experience as a hospital nurse. She has clinical experience in adult health, including med-surg, geriatrics and transplant; she also has a particular interest in women’s health and cancer care. Jennifer has written a variety of health and parenting articles for national publications.

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