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"Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine"

New NLM Exhibition Focuses on the Contributions of African-American Surgeons and Nurses during the Civil War

Many histories have been written about medical care during the American Civil War, but the participation and contributions of African Americans as nurses, surgeons and hospital workers have often been overlooked. Opening Friday, October 1, 2010 at the National Library of Medicine, a special display, Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine, looks at these men and women, and how their service as medical providers challenged the prescribed notions of race and gender pushing the boundaries of the role of African Americans in America.

Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries will be displayed in the first floor lobby and History of Medicine Division (HMD) Reading Room of the main National Library of Medicine (Building 38), on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland, through February 28, 2011. The Library is open 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM weekdays (except Federal holidays) and 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM Saturdays.

Through historical images and never-before-seen Civil War era documents, Binding Wounds explores the life and experiences of surgeons Alexander T. Augusta and Anderson R. Abbott, and nurses Susie King Taylor and Ann Stokes as they provided medical care to soldiers and civilians while participating in the fight for freedom. "This exhibition opens the door to this rarely studied part of history and brings a voice to those that have remained silent for nearly 150 years," says curator Jill L. Newmark of the History of Medicine Division.

The online version of the exhibition launches October 1, at: //

The traveling banner version of the exhibition will begin touring the United States in October 2010. For more information, contact or visit the HMD traveling exhibition Web site: //

This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, with research assistance from The Historical Society of Washington, DC.

For information on visiting the National Library of Medicine, go to: //


Freedmen's Hospital

Freedmen's Hospital: Courtesy The Historical Society of Washington, DC

Susie King Taylor

Susie King Taylor: Courtesy East Carolina University

Anderson R. Abbott in uniform

Anderson R. Abbott: Courtesy Toronto Public Library, Abbott Collection