Has there ever been someone who accomplished so much and at the same time thought less of herself? Before she had even turned forty, Florence Nightingale was the darling of the British public, the heroine of the Crimea. Who Was Florence Nightingale? Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. Part of a wealthy family, Nightingale defied the expectations of the time and pursued what she saw as her God-given calling of nursing. During the Crimean War, she and a team of nurses improved the unsanitary conditions at a British base hospital, greatly reducing the death count. Her writings sparked worldwide health care reform, and in 1860 she established St. Thomas’ Hospital and the Nightingale Training School for Nurses. A revered hero of her time, she died on August 13, 1910, in London.
Florence Nightingale’s father was William Edward Nightingale (having changed his original surname, “Shore”), a wealthy landowner who would be associated with two estates—one at Lea Hurst, Derbyshire, and the other at Embly, Hampshire. Florence was provided with a classical education, including studies in mathematics along with German, French and Italian.