Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands: Edited by W. J. S.; with an Introductory Preface by W. H. Russell

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The daughter of a Scottish soldier and a Jamaican herbalist, Mary Seacole (1805-81) gained recognition for her provision of care to British troops during the Crimean War. She had travelled widely in the Caribbean and Panama before venturing to England to volunteer as an army nurse in the Crimea. Although rebuffed by officials, an undeterred Seacole funded her own expedition, establishing the British Hotel near Balaclava to provide a refuge for wounded officers. Known affectionately as 'Mother Seacole' among the men, yet returning to England bankrupt at the end of hostilities, she had her plight highlighted in the press. First published in 1857, and reissued here in its 1858 printing, her autobiography was intended to share her story and restore to her some financial security. Probably dictated to her editor, who then polished the text for publication, this was the first autobiography by a black woman in Britain.