Oak Hill Cemetery Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Ellen La Motte (November 27, 1873 – March 2, 1961) was a nurse and author. She was a member of the Heterodoxy Club. During her time in Paris during the war La Motte formed a close friendship with the American expat writer Gertrude Stein. Researchers have speculated that Ernest Hemingway's influential unadorned style may have been influenced by La Motte's own writing, through Stein's mentoring.
Ellen Newbold LaMotte was born in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, the daughter of Ferdinand LaMotte (1844–1917) and Ellen Newbold (1847–1926).
She was a 1900 graduate of the Training School of John Hopkins Hospital, one of the three leading nursing schools in the United States. After graduation she became a member of the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association of Baltimore. She organized the Public Health Nursing Staff of Baltimore and was the Superintendent of the Tuberculosis Division of the Health Department from 1910 to 1913. She was the first to understand that tuberculosis patients needed to be segregated. In 1914 she published The Tuberculosis Nurse: Her Function and Her Qualifications: A Handbook for Practical Workers in the Tuberculosis Campaign. She believed nurses should have the autonomy to decide on a course of action independently. Before the United States entered World War I she traveled to Europe to volunteer her nursing skills. She first worked at the American Hospital in Neuilly. She met Mary Borden, the daughter of an American businessman and the wife of an English merchant, who ran a field hospital in Belgium. LaMotte joined her and served as a nurse with the French Army from 1915 to 1916. During the war she wrote about her experiences and the articles were published in the Atlantic Monthly. They included The Backwash of War: The Human Wreckage of the Battlefield as Witnessed by an American Hospital Nurse in 1916. Her book was banned by the United States Government in 1918 as it graphically revealed the horrors of the first modern war. After the war she traveled to China, Japan, French Indochina, and Siam. She published six books: Peking Dust in 1919; Civilization: Tales of the Orient in 1919; Snuffs and Butters in 1925; Opium Monopoly in 1920; Ethics of Opium in 1922 and Opium in Geneva: Or How the Opium Problem is Handled by the League of Nations in 1929. A common theme in her books was how foreigners took advantage of the native population and victimized them.
Her 1922 passport application stated that she resided in France from June 1913 to 1916 and in the Far East from 1916 to July 1917. The application also stated she resided in Europe from October 1920 to November 1921 and London was her temporary residence. The Chinese Nationalist government awarded her the Lin Tse Hsu Memorial Medal in 1930.
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