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Civil War nurse to be portrayed for women’s history celebration

March 9, 2011
The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - On Sunday, in celebration of National Women's History Month, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women's Consortium will present Maxine Getty's portrayal of Civil War Nurse Mary Ashton Rice Livermore.

Livermore was not just a nurse but an organizer who flourished shortly after the beginning of the Civil War, according to a news release.

She became director of the Northwestern branch of the United States Sanitary Commission, which was founded as the agency that checked and shipped donations, coordinated volunteers and medical care and established sanitary procedures for hospitals and army camps.

Article Photos

Mary Ashton Rice Livermore is shown in an engraving from the 1867 book “Woman’s Work in the Civil War: A Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience,”?by Dr. Linus P. Brockett and Mary C. Vaughn.

Livermore worked in the Chicago office but also traveled behind Union lines, often tending to wounded soldiers in camp hospitals or accompanying them to their homes.

She also organized several sanitary fairs to raise money for the cause.

Her experience working with women's organizations convinced her that women were capable of achieving great things, and that the country was doing them a disservice by denying them their place in the public arena, according to the news release. In 1869, she established a women's newspaper and organized Chicago's first woman suffrage convention.

Getty, a resident of Scotia, has been doing historical presentations for the past 12 years. After accompanying her husband to re-enactments, she began to investigate and research women of the mid-19th century.

After learning about the struggle that women had in the 19th century to educate themselves and become equals to men in society, Getty was inspired to speak about what it took for women to obtain equality.

Dressed in period costume and using items accurate for the times, Getty will share with the audience Livermore's experiences as a nurse during the Civil War.

The event will take place at the First Presbyterian Church on South Market Street. The doors will open at 2 p.m., and the performance will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Refreshments will be served after the performance. Admission will cost $5, or $2 for students. Student nurses are encouraged to attend, the news release said.



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