Rebecca Usher of Hollis was 41 and single when she joined the Union nursing service at the U.S. General Hospital at Chester, Pennsylvania. Her time there and later at City Point, Virginia, were defining experiences of her life.
In 1892 five physicians -- William H. Simmons, William C. Mason, Walter H. Hunt, Everett T. Nealey, and William E. Baxter -- realized the need for a hospital in the city of Bangor had become urgent and they set about providing one.
Alonzo Garcelon of Lewiston was a physician, politician, businessman, and civic leader when he became Maine's surgeon general during the Civil War, responsible for ensuring regiments had surgeons, for setting up a regimental hospital in Portland, and generally concerned with the well-being of Maine soldiers.
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan will give students the opportunity to read and analyze letters, literature, and other primary documents and articles of material culture from the MHS collections relating to how people in Maine have given and received healthcare throughout history. Students will discuss the giving and receiving of medicines and treatments from the 18th-21st centuries, the evolving role of hospitals since the 19th century, and how the nursing profession has changed since the Civil War. Students will also look at how people and healthcare facilities in Maine have addressed epidemics in the past, such as influenza and tuberculosis, and what we can learn today from studying the history of healthcare and medicine.