Elizabeth Hutchison was born in Smyrna, Delaware, in 1917. At the age of 26 she
applied her training as a registered nurse to aid the United States Army, and
for a ten year period (1943 - 1954) she was enlisted in the active service and
the reserves, including a tour of duty in Europe during World War II. During
her military career she achieved the rank of captain in the Army Nurse Corp. She
was stationed in France during her first tour of active duty in the period 1943
to 1946. Upon completion of this tour she took a civilian job as a nurse at
the Delaware Hospital, where she remained until 1951. Harriet re-entered
active duty for a two year period beginning in 1951 in which she was stationed
in the United States at Fort Meade, Maryland. In June 1954 Harriet received an
Honorable Discharge from the Army Nurse Corps of the United States Army
Reserves. On her discharge papers Harriet is referred to as a Captain, but it
is not clear when this promotion occurred. Throughout her military career
Harriet was decorated with several honors: American Campaign Medal, World War
II Victory Medal, Meritorious Service Unit Plaque, and the European African
Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. These awards were created specifically for the
World Wars. Her affiliation with the armed forces appears to have continued
until at least 1974, when she received a certificate of recognition from the
United States Air Force Recruiting Services.
Biographical information is derived from the collection.
Scope and Contents Note
The Harriet Elizabeth
Hutchison papers were a gift from her sister Mary Hutchison Brown in 2004. This
small collection, spanning the dates 1943 to 1974, comprises documents and
memorabilia associated with Harriet Hutchison’s service as a nurse in the Army
during World War II and it also includes personal notes and official documents
from her life in the post-war period.
A large portion of the
collection consists of official military documents which trace her military
career from the first enlistment and tour of active duty in France, to her appointment
as First Lieutenant of the Army Nurse Corp, and finally to her Honorable
Discharge from the Army Reserves in 1954. In addition to these military
documents there is also a series of undated handwritten notes that record the
series of deployments and assignments which dictated Harriet’s career as a
nurse in the United States Army. Three photographs and dog tags are also
included in the groups of materials pertaining to Harriet’s military career.
While stationed in France
from 1944-1945, Harriet collected 38 souvenir patches from various provinces in
France. The collection includes 32 patches representing 12 of the 22 French
provinces. The remaining patches depict common French phrases, or commemorate
sources of pride for France, such as the scientist Louis Pasteur who developed
the “germ theory of disease.” A “Petit Lexique” French phrase book is also
included with the souvenirs from France.
A mounted pen and ink
cartoon drawn by Gus Edson is included in the collection. Gus Edson (1901 - 1966)
was in the military before he began his successful career as a cartoonist. The
cartoon in the collection shows a man in military dress commenting on Halloran
General military hospital This was meaningful to Harriet because she first
reported for duty at this hospital on Staten Island before she served overseas
in 1944. A small notebook, spanning the years 1948 to 1969 concludes this
collection. A sort of commonplace book, it contains handwritten notes, poems,
quotes and newspaper clippings on various topics.
This small collection
of personal and official records pertaining to Harriet Elizabeth Hutchison
offers only a glimpse of one woman’s service in World War II. Those interested
in material culture of the twentieth century may find the collection of
souvenir patches from France helpful.
Box -- Folder -- Contents
Elizabeth Hutchison Papers
F1 Military Service, 1943-1974
Includes 3 photos, handwritten
notes, dog tags, Honorable Discharge papers, United States Army Certificate of
Service, Certificate of Appointment to First Lieutenant, and Certificate of
recognition from the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service.
30 souvenir patches from 12 French provinces, and 8 souvenir patches that are
not region or province specific.
Includes one “Petit Lexiques”
French phrase book.
by Gus Edson mounted on board. Cartoon includes man in military dress saying
“The boss’s son, David Edson, is right – Halloran General is the best military
hospital in the world!!!”
ca. 1948-ca. 1969
poems, quotes, and newspaper clippings on various topics.