Phoebe Yates Levy Pember
Phoebe Yates Levy Pember managed a hospital through the chaos of the Civil War and left an account of her life that offered a window into daily life for Jews in Southern high society. A young widow, Pember sought to hold on to her new-found independence by becoming matron and first female administrator of the Chimborazo Hospital near Richmond, Virginia in 1862. She oversaw nursing operations as well as housekeeping and food, and maintained a friendly but firm authority, loved for her feminine charms and her dedication to her patients, but willing to threaten a staff member with a gun when he attempted to steal whiskey from the hospital’s supplies. After the war, Pember travelled throughout America and Europe. Her account of her life, A Southern Woman’s Story: Life in Confederate Richmond, described her time at the hospital through the war years as well as her experiences as a proud but assimilated Jew welcomed into the tight-knit world of the South’s elite.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Phoebe Yates Levy Pember." (Viewed on April 26, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/pember-phoebe>.