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LÜCKES, Eva Charlotte Ellis (1854-1919)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0387 PP/LUC
Held at: Royal London Hospital
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Full title: LÜCKES, Eva Charlotte Ellis (1854-1919)
Date(s): 1874-1918
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 boxes
Name of creator(s): Lückes | Eva Charlotte Ellis | 1854-1919 | London Hospital Matron


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, Newnham Gloucestershire, 1854; educated at boarding school, Malvern, Cheltenham Ladies College; trained as a nurse probationer at the Middlesex and Westminster Hospitals, 1876-1878; Night Sister, London Hospital, 1878-1879; Lady Superintendent, Pendlebury Children's Hospital, Manchester, 1879; Matron, London Hospital, 1880-1919; radically reorganised the nursing service and training at the hospital, and was a major contributor to the development of the nursing profession; Lady of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem; member of the British Red Cross Society; Royal Red Cross (1st class); CBE 1917; died, 1919.
Publications: Lectures on General Nursing (Kegan Paul & Co, London, 1884); Hospital Sisters and their Duties (J & A Churchill, London, 1886).

The period 1889 to 1898 was a turbulent one for both Eva Lückes and Florence Nightingale. The British Nurses Association (BNA), founded in 1887, was campaigning vigorously for a statutory register of trained nurses as a way of achieving professional status. Both Florence Nightingale and Eva Lückes opposed registration on the grounds that the essential qualities of a good nurse would be subordinated to theory and exams. The BNA successfully applied for a Royal Charter of Incorporation, although the Privy Council watered down the charter by not including the power to maintain a register. State registration of nurses was not achieved until 1919. As well as campaigning against registration Eva Lückes was attacked by those who criticised her method of management. In 1890/1891 she was called before a House of Lords Select Committee set up to investigate the efficiency of metropolitan hospitals. Many charges from other witnesses were made against her department. The Select Committee made its report in 1892 and found not only the charges to be unsubstantiated but that the majority of the allegations were exaggerated.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Eva Lückes, 1874-1918, comprising letters written by Florence Nightingale, 1889-1898, with transcripts of Eva Lückes' replies, concerning registration and training of nurses, exhibition of nursing appliances, Eva Lückes' appearance before the House of Lords Select Committee, and some personal details; letter from Florence Nightingale to Sydney Holland, 1897, relating to the matronship of St George's Hospital, and an open letter from her to the nurses of St Thomas' Hospital, 1881; correspondence from her readers and publishers concerning her books, 1890-1919, including a letter from Sir Frederick Treves; commonplace book of Eva Lückes, 1874.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The papers are arranged according to record type.

Conditions governing access:

Researchers wishing to consult the archives should first contact the Trust Archivist, The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London, E1 1BB, for an appointment.

Conditions governing reproduction:

A photocopying service is available at the discretion of the Archivist. Photocopies are supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

A list is available at the Royal London Hospital Archives and Museum.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Florence Nightingale's letters were purchased in 1976 from Sotheby's. The commonplace books were acquired in 1991.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Records of nursing service (reference: LH/N), reports and correspondence of Eva Lückes on nursing staff and conditions, 1896 (LH/A), press cuttings relating to Eva Lückes' response to her detractors (reference: LH/A/26/3), correspondence to Mrs Margaret Jessie MacDonald (reference: PP/PAU), held by the Royal London Hospital Archives and Museum.

Correspondence of Eva Lückes with Sir Henry Burdett, 1884-1917, held by the Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts (reference: MSS Eng b 2068-69, c 5894-6032, d 2867-89); there are papers of Florence Nightingale, held in various repositories, including the London Metropolitan Archives, British Library and Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Eva C E Lückes, Matron, The London Hospital, 1880-1919 Margaret MacEwan (London Hospital League of Nurses, London, 1958); Ever Yours. Florence Nightingale Selected Letters edited by Martha Vivinus and Bea Nergaard (1989); A Calendar of the letters of Florence Nightingale Sue Goldie (1983); The Battle of the Nurses Susan McGann (Scutari Press, London, 1992).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: 'Eva C E Lückes: An Extraordinary Matron' Jonathan Evans; Who's Who 1897-1996 CD-ROM (A & C Black); Historical Manuscripts Commission On-line National Register of Archives; British Library Public on-line catalogue. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June 2001

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