Mary Seacole

Mary Seacole: The Making of the Myth
May 2014

Mary Seacole: The Making of the Myth is the first book to challenge the popular misconceptions that surround Mary Seacole’s iconic status as a “pioneer nurse” and battlefield heroine, intended, by some, to replace Florence Nightingale in those roles. McDonald masterfully disentangles reality from the myths, both those that exaggerate Seacole’s work and ignore or denigrate Nightingale’s. Drawing on the considerable primary sources available on both women, including letters and journal notes by officers, medical doctors and other observers during the Crimean War, as well as Seacole’s own memoir, McDonald debunks claims that Seacole was the real heroine of the Crimean War and a pioneer of healthcare. Her book supports the recognition of Seacole for her life and work, but not as the decorated battlefield heroine as she is typically portrayed today.


Lynn McDonald

Lynn McDonald

Lynn McDonald is university professor emerita at the University of Guelph and the director of the 16-volume Collected Works of Florence Nightingale (2001-12). She did her BA at the University of British Columbia and her PhD at the London School of Economics.