Were Florence Nightingale and Caroline Chisholm friends?

Various biographies of Caroline Chisholm suggest that Florence Nightingale was Caroline Chisholm’s “friend and pupil”. Frustratingly when writing my book I could never find anything to substantiate these comments. However, further research has found concrete evidence that Florence Nightingale did indeed know Chisholm and helped her before going off to the Crimea. Letters written by Nightingale in June 1852 to Fr Manning housed in an American University Library indicate that Nightingale “went into the country yesterday to organise something for Mrs Chisholm”. The letter also tells Fr Manning where Chisholm is living in Islington, London, and the times he might find her there. Nightingale also enclosed a letter of introduction for Manning to Caroline Chisholm. It would not be unreasonable to assume that Nightingale also visited Chisholm at her home in Islington. This new information makes it very clear that Nightingale did indeed know Chisholm and could be said to be her “friend and pupil”.

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