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Nurs Hist Rev. 2010;18:84-99.

"I am a trained nurse": the nursing identity of anarchist and radical Emma Goldman.

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  • 1University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6096, USA.


For more than a century, scholars have analyzed the many dimensions of Emma Goldman. Remembered as an agent of revolution, feminism, sexual freedom, anarchy, and atheism, Goldman's motives, personality, and actions have generated an entire subgenre of historical scholarship. But although Goldman practiced nursing in New York City for ten years, one facet of her life that has been neglected is her nursing identity. Goldman's autobiography, Living My Life, reveals the way her nursing experiences informed her evolving anarchist political philosophy and international activism. She valued nursing for many reasons--for the economic independence it offered, identity it provided, and sense of community and connectivity she believed it encouraged. Finally, for Goldman, nursing represented was a vehicle to understand people's struggles and as a way of translating political philosophy into meaningful, practical solutions.

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