Seacole, Mary

  • Jessica KirwanEmail author
Living reference work entry


Born in 1805 in Kingston, Jamaica, Mary Seacole was a nurse and businesswoman of Jamaican-Scottish descent who described herself as a Creole doctress. Having trained under her mother, Seacole provided herbal and other medical treatments to patients in Jamaica, Central America, and the Crimea. She opened a hotel wherever she lived. Seacole treated patients during cholera and yellow fever epidemics in Jamaica and Central America. Having found great joy in treating British soldiers in Jamaica, Seacole sought to assist Florence Nightingale during the British conflict in the Crimea. She moved to London in 1855 but was denied a formal position as a nurse on the warfront. As a result, she independently traveled to the Crimea where she established a hotel and provided medical treatment in Balaclava. Seacole received praise during and after the war for her efforts nursing soldiers on and off the battlefield, where she also sold provisions. Once the Crimean War ended, Seacole returned...


Nursing Creole Doctress Jamaica Panama Crimea Nightingale Cholera 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More CollegeUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada