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Nurses: In Advertising

What do we see when we look closely?

Examine this early 20th-century advertisement for an antiseptic soap, which preys on parents' fears of death from infectious diseases by showing children being cared for by nurses in a hospital ward.
Roll over different areas of the postcard to discover answers to the questions below.

    • Q1Can you find the nurse in this advertisement?
    • A1The featured nurse gestures towards the spotlessly clean children's ward of a hospital at a time when cleanliness and diet were used to fight high infant mortality rates.
    • Q2Can you find evidence of the effects of Gossages' Carbolic Soap?
    • A2At the time, Gossages' was one of the most popular carbolic soaps; it was used to clean everything from floors and hard surfaces, like gramophones, and the faces of little boys and girls.
    • Q3Can you find the Carbolic Soap on the nurse's cart?
    • A3Following British physician Sir Joseph Lister's use of carbolic acid, in the 1860s, to treat oozing wounds, the substance is added to soap and used extensively in hospitals to fight germs.
White female nurse next to gramophone with a White girl in a ward with five patients in beds behind.
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A soap advertisement using a nurse to advocate for cleanliness as a way to avoid illness, ca. 1905

    • Q1Can you find the nurse in this advertisement?
    • A1The featured nurse gestures towards the spotlessly clean children's ward of a hospital at a time when cleanliness and diet were used to fight high infant mortality rates.
    • Q2Can you find evidence of the effects of Gossages' Carbolic Soap?
    • A2At the time, Gossages' was one of the most popular carbolic soaps; it was used to clean everything from floors and hard surfaces, like gramophones, and the faces of little boys and girls.
    • Q3Can you find the Carbolic Soap on the nurse's cart?
    • A3Following British physician Sir Joseph Lister's use of carbolic acid, in the 1860s, to treat oozing wounds, the substance is added to soap and used extensively in hospitals to fight germs.
  • 1Can you find the nurse in this advertisement?
  • 2Can you find evidence of the effects of Gossages' Carbolic Soap?
  • 3Can you find the Carbolic Soap on the nurse's cart?