2016 News Releases

New exhibit highlights lifetime achievements of Florence Nightingale

At the exhibit grand opening, Dr. Tony Paterniti explains Florence Nightingale's use of statistics.

At the grand opening of the Florence Nightingale exhibit at TWU, Tony Paterniti, Ph.D., owner of the collection, discusses Nightingale's use of statistics in her efforts to demonstrate how improved hygiene could save lives. Photo by Deanna Titzler.

Texas Woman’s Blagg-Huey Library has launched a new exhibit, "A Life Unveiled: The Portrait of Florence Nightingale," which features memorabilia and artifacts related to the life and legacy of this extraordinary woman. These items are on a five-year loan from the extensive collection of Tony Paterniti, Ph.D., a TWU alumnus and former faculty member at the university. The exhibit is expected to be on display at TWU through 2017.

Florence Nightingale, known as the founder of modern nursing, broke barriers and pushed boundaries as a social reformer in the Victorian era. Her influence reaches far beyond the hospitals, clinics and battlefields, for which she is most generally known.

Paterniti became interested in Nightingale in 1980 when he came across a first-edition copy of her book Notes on Nursing, the first modern textbook devoted to the practice of nursing. A few years later, he acquired more Nightingale-related items, which are now part of what is considered one of the most significant private collections devoted to her life. It includes books from Nightingale’s personal library, statuary, a Nightingale Nursing School pin and many original documents highlighting her achievements. Unique items include original letters penned by Nightingale as well as an admission ticket and program from her memorial service.

“Many people know Florence Nightingale as ‘The Lady with the Lamp’ from the Crimean War,” Paterniti said. “However, her accomplishments over the course of her life tell a story of power and influence, guided and directed by a commitment and conviction to improve the lives of patients as well as of those who choose nursing as a profession.”

According to Kimberly L. Johnson, director of special collections for the TWU library, this collection is exhibited to highlight the interdisciplinary impact Nightingale had during her lifetime.

“Today, Nightingale’s influence can be seen in the study of statistics, service, leadership, hospital management and women’s history,” Johnson said. “We hope to break down the stereotypes people frequently have when they think of Florence Nightingale.”

The exhibit, located on the first floor of the library, is free and open to the public during the library’s hours of operation, Monday through Sunday. For library hours and directions, please visit www.twu.edu/library or call 940-898-3701.

About Texas Woman’s University

Texas Woman’s University is the largest public university in the nation primarily for women and is internationally recognized for its historic nursing program. It has an enrollment of approximately 15,000 students on campuses in Denton, Dallas and Houston. Since its founding in 1901, TWU has produced more than 88,000 graduates in fields vital to the growth and quality of life in Texas and the nation, including nursing, health care, education and business.

Media Contact

Deanna W. Titzler
Interim Director of Public Relations
940-898-3252
dtitzler@twu.edu