Sep 5th 2019

Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection

@ International Museum of Surgical Science

1524 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610

Opening Thursday, September 5th, from 5:30PM - 8:30PM

On view through Thursday, September 5th

Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection explores a unique archive of 2,588 postcards and over 100 years of images of nurses and the nursing profession from around the world, investigating the hold these images exert on the public imagination—then and now.

The postcard is a fleeting and widespread art form influenced by popular ideas about social and cultural life in addition to fashions in visual style. Nurses and nursing have been the frequent subjects of postcards for over one hundred years. In fact, no other art form has illustrated the nursing profession so profusely using such a variety of artistic styles and images. These images of nurses and nursing are informed by cultural values; ideas about women, men, and work; and attitudes toward class, race, and national differences. By documenting the relationship of nursing to significant forces in 20th-century life, such as war and disease, these postcards reveal how nursing was seen during those times.

The six-banner traveling exhibition highlights only a small selection from the 2,588 postcards of The Zwerdling Postcard Collection, but over 500 more are available to view in the exhibition’s online digital gallery at


This opening is held in conjunction with After Hours: Summer Surgical Science. This event is FREE and open to the public. Come explore the International Museum of Surgical Science after hours as you learn about both the history of surgery and the history of this early 20th century home! Enjoy a rare opportunity to see the Museum at a time that it is not normally open to the public. All four floors of the Museum will be open for guests to tour around.


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