(Photograph reproduced with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)
The Daughters of Charity so often get credit for nursing in the Civil War that their work in other conflicts is overshadowed. Previously, we posted a photograph of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, temporarily quarantined at Camp Wikoff, Montauk Point on Long Island, New York, upon their return from action in the Spanish American War. Today, we highlight another treasure that underscores the Daughters as nurses at this same hospital: a stereoscope photograph showing, at left, a Daughter speaking with President William McKinley (right) who visited Camp Wikoff on Sept. 10, 1898. Between them is McKinley’s Secretary of War, Russell Alger. Although the sister is unidentified, it’s tempting to think that it might be Sr. Adelaide who, when asked by McKinley what the sisters might need, told him more orderlies. Forty were sent in the following day. All told, 201 Daughters of Charity nursed at eleven hospitals during the Spanish American War; 110 of them eventually served at Camp Wikoff. Of those sisters, four (Sr. Anastasia, Sr. Mary Elizabeth, Sr. Mary and Sr. Mary Agnes) died of exposure to typhoid fever brought home by their patients. This photograph is part of the collection that recently arrived in the Provincial Archives from Albany. Some of the details of the Daughters’ work at Camp Wikoff were taken from Sr. Gertrude Fenner’s 1949 thesis “The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in the Spanish American War,” APSL (formerly ASJPH) 10-1-6-#3.