Kate Marsden

(1859—1931) traveller and nurse

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Victorian-era nurse who traveled the Near East and Siberia in search of leprosy treatments. Kate Marsden was born in Middlesex, England, the youngest of eight children in a middle-class Victorian family. She was a tomboyish girl who, at age eighteen, decided to go into nursing as a career, one of the few choices available to women. On assignment in Bulgaria during the Russo-Turkish War, she observed victims suffering the ravages of leprosy. The experience impressed her deeply, and, some years later, she set out to learn all she could about the disease, visiting leper settlements in Europe, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Moscow. During her travels she heard accounts of leper colonies in Yakut, deep in northeastern Siberia, where they used a “miracle herb” to treat the patients.


From The Oxford Companion to World Exploration in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: World History.

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