The anti-opium crusade, 1916–1930s
in Ellen N. La Motte
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The purpose of this chapter is to examine La Motte’s work about the opium trade in order to analyze how she used her public health nursing experience to launch a crusade against it. During a trip to Asia in 1916–1917, she witnessed the impact of opium consumption and became preoccupied with exposing the corruption of the opium trade and its public-health implications. Over the next several decades she published dozens of articles and three books related to her observations and analyses of opium production and consumption, which form the basis of my analysis, using her writing to advocate for the abolishment of the opium trade. The chapter also examines how La Motte’s writings about World War One and the opium trade led to her being censored and put under surveillance by American and British authorities.

Ellen N. La Motte

Nurse, writer, activist


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