to a host of liberal causes, perhaps most notable among them her advocacy of education for Native Americans. Intellectually vital at 84 years of age, in 1888, she published her Lectures in Training Schools for Kindergartners.
As chief matron at Hospital Number Two at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from 1862 to 1865, Phoebe Levy Pember was among the most prominent of Confederate Civil War NURSES. As a woman of elite social stature, she daily challenged traditional Southern society that regarded with distaste and suspicion any “lady” who lowered herself to engage in the “coarse” and “dirty” work within military hospitals.
Phoebe Yates Levy was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to Jacob Clavius Levy, a prosperous Jewish merchant, and to Fanny Yates Levy, a well-known actress. The Levys were well accepted among the elite in Charleston and appear not to have experienced significant prejudice or discrimination on account of their religious background. All that is known of Levy’s childhood is that she was well educated. The younger sister of fiery Southern rights’ advocate EUGENIA LEVY PHILLIPS, Phoebe moved with her family to Savannah, Georgia, in the late 1840s. In 1856, she married Thomas Pember of Boston. When Pember fell ill with tuberculosis, the couple settled in South Carolina where it was hoped the warmer weather would improve his health. Following Pember’s death in 1861, Levy Pember rejoined her father and other family in Marietta, Georgia. This living arrangement did not agree with Levy Pember who encountered friction and hostility among her relatives from the moment she arrived.
In November 1862, Levy Pember received a letter from a woman of her acquaintance, Mrs. George W. Randolph, wife of the Confederate Secretary of War, urging her to accept the post of matron at one of the large Confederate military hospitals. Not hesitating long, Levy Pember agreed to assume a post at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond. In her memoir, A Southern Woman’s Story, she fully acknowledged that the untenable circumstances of her