Handwritten Text Recognition Transforms Access to The Papers of Florence Nightingale

06 December 2017

(Marlborough, UK – November 2017) Medical Services and Warfare, 1850-1927, the latest primary source collection from Adam Matthew Digital, has transformed access to the personal and professional writings of Florence Nightingale with exclusive Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR). The HTR technology allows these handwritten papers to be fully searchable for the first time. Dr Patrick Spero, Director, American Philosophical Society Library, explains the impact of HTR:

“[HTR] is going to transform scholarship and the types of questions researchers can ask. The technology has tremendous potential.”

Alongside the Nightingale Papers, thousands of digitised documents from prestigious archives enable students and scholars to experience first-hand the development of medical practice as influenced by the wars of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Presented across military, scientific, professional, and personal perspectives, key developments including X-rays, plastic surgery, artificial limbs and sanitation are explored, with a focus on rehabilitation, nursing and the psychological toll of war.

Users are invited to browse the interactive data tool based on Nightingale’s famous coxcomb diagrams, read personal correspondence of Civil War nurses, and explore the Jonathan Letterman Collection: correspondence and memoirs from the ‘father of battlefield medicine’.

Photographs of artefacts including surgical equipment, prostheses, medals, and uniforms bring to life the different experiences of warfare, alongside documents including The American Red Cross collection highlighting American service in the First World War and the work of national and international Red Cross societies.

“These sources are second to none, and their digitisation has opened up a whole world of material to historians and students.”


These unique primary sources and interactive features are available now. To find out more or to request a free 30-day trial of Medical Services and Warfare, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., read our blog, “Ever Yours”: The Florence Nightingale Papers and Handwritten Text Recognition Technology, or watch the HTR demonstration here.