From Kossuth’s Twin-Soul to the Nation’s Chief Nurse: the Legacy of Zsuzsanna Kossuth Meszlényi
Keywords:Zsuzsanna Kossuth, War of Independence in 1848-49, nursing, volunteering, military hospitals emigration, exile
In this study the personal life and professional career of Zsuzsanna Kossuth, the youngest sister of Lajos Kossuth, is discussed based on primary and secondary sources with special emphasis on her physical and emotional journey into exile, where she was surrounded by both Hungarian emigrés and American intellectuals. By the time she arrived in the United States in 1853, her personal life had been full of ups and downs: she had lost her husband and baby son within a year of each other, spent months in prison twice and had become sick, with only a cough initially, then pneumonia and finally “pulmonary affections.” In spite of the many setbacks she suffered, Kossuth also stands apart for the unusual reason that she had a career: in April, 1849, during the Hungarian War of Independence, she was appointed the Chief Nurse of camp hospitals. Although she has not become as famous as Florence Nightingale, viewed as the founder of modern nursing, Zsuzsanna Kossuth organized seventy-two camp hospitals and a network of volunteer nurses five years previous to the Crimean War. The year 2017 was dedicated in Hungary to her memory commemorating the bicentenary of her birth in particular and to the profession of nursing in general. Her legacy should be promoted globally.
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