Meet Ann Reading — the Civil War nurse that Mercy Street’s Anne Hastings is based | News Release | City of Alexandria

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Meet Anne Reading, Civil War Nurse

Her Great, Great Grand-Daughter Discusses Her Life At The Lyceum, October 5


Fans of the PBS series “Mercy Street” (Sunday nights at 8 p.m. beginning January 22) are familiar with the character of Anne Hastings, an English nurse who received her early training with none other than Florence Nightingale during Britain’s war in the Crimea.  What they may NOT know, however, is that Anne Hastings is based on a real nurse named Anne Reading, who journeyed from England to work in the Mansion House Hospital right here in Alexandria during the Civil War.

Margaret Irwin had long heard family stories about an ancestor who had learned nursing from Florence Nightingale.  In 1955, her mother showed her Anne Reading’s handwritten journal for the first time and, fifty years later, she had it published.  “The Journal of Anne Reading” documents this amazing woman’s early training and work with Nightingale, her later service in Alexandria, and some of her life after the war.  Margaret Irwin will discuss Anne’s life dressed as a Civil War nurse, and will sign copies of her book following the program.

“The Journal of Anne Reading” will take place on Wednesday night, October 5 at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $10 per person and may be purchased in advance at The Lyceum or by going to shop.alexandriava.govreservations are required, as space is limited.  To learn more about the event and The Lyceum — Alexandria’s History Museum, visit alexandriava.gov/Lyceum.


The City of Alexandria is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended. To request a reasonable accommodation, e-mail Nicole.Quinn@alexandriava.gov or call 703.746.4554, Virginia Relay 711.


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