Phoebe Yates Pember (1823 - 1913) - Author Collection
Phoebe Yates Levy Pember (August 18, 1823 - March 4, 1913) was a member of a prominent American Jewish family from Charleston, South Carolina and a nurse and female administrator of Chimborazo Hospital at Richmond, Virginia during the American Civil War. She assumed the responsibility informally at the age of 39 and eventually over 15,000 patients came under her direct care during the war.Pember was born on August 18, 1823 and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. The fourth of seven children, she was raised in a wealthy and socially prominent Jewish family; her father, Jacob Levy, was a successful merchant while her mother, Phoebe Yates, was a popular actress. One of Pember's sisters, Eugenia Levy, married lawyer and congressman Philip Phillips, and would later be twice imprisoned for her support of the Confederate cause. Exemplifying the way in which wealth enabled some antebellum Jewish families to gain full community acceptance, the Levy family moved among Charleston's elite until a series of financial setbacks sent them to Savannah, Georgia, in the late 1840s.