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Inventory of the Ruth Ann McDonald Papers, 1941-2000

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Correspondence, photographs, military records, clippings, and textiles of Ruth Ann McDonald. Materials document her service in the U.S. Army during World War II as a nurse stationed at the Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Fort Bliss, Texas, the 67th General Hospital in England, and the 30th Field Hospital, which traveled through Luxembourg, France, and Germany. Also includes transcripts pertaining to Ruth's nursing education, certificates relating to her army service, and issues of army periodicals The Yank, The Army Weekly, and The Army Nurse. A small portion of the collection pertains to liberated concentration camps and displaced persons, Ruth's travels directly following her Army service, her fiancé Lyle Simpkins, and two reunions of the 67th General Hospital.
Title: Ruth Ann McDonald papers
Creator: McDonald, Ruth Ann, 1919-2013
Date(s): 1941-2000 (bulk 1941-1945)    
Extent: 2 linear feet
(2 document boxes, 3 flat boxes, 1 oversize paper folder)
Repository: Special Collections, College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: (843) 953-8016
Fax: (843) 953-6319
URL: http://archives.library.cofc.edu
Call Number: Mss 0200
Language of Material: Materials in English

Biographical Note

Ruth Ann McDonald (1919-2013) was born to Agnes and John L. McDonald in Braintree, Massachusetts. After graduating from St. Elizabeth's School of Nursing in 1941, Ruth joined the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, where she trained at the Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and Fort Bliss, Texas. In 1942, she was assigned to the 67th General Hospital in England, remaining there until 1944 when she was transferred to the 30th Field Hospital. Ruth stayed with the 30th Field Hospital through the end of World War II, traveling through Luxembourg, France, and Germany. In December of 1944, her fiancé Lyle Simpkins, a private in the United States Army, was killed in action and Ruth was granted leave to visit his grave in Belgium after VE Day. Ruth returned to the United States in September of 1945 and spent time traveling along the west coast with friends from the Nurse Corps shortly after her return. After her travels, Ruth worked in Anchorage, Alaska, for six months, leaving to attend Boston University in 1946 and graduating with her BS in Nursing in 1950. She then attended the Physical Therapy School at the Medical College of Virginia, graduating in 1954. Ruth worked as a physical therapist and public health official in Michigan and Massachusetts, retiring in 1981.


Collection Overview

The collection consists of a significant amount of correspondence sent by Ruth during her service in the U.S. Amy Nurse Corps during World War II as well as photographs taken during her service. Correspondence discusses her interactions with patients, off-duty activities, and observations during and immediately after the war. Photographs primarily document Ruth's service at Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Fort Bliss, Texas, the 67th General Hospital in England, and the 30th Field Hospital, which traveled through Luxembourg, France, and Germany. A small portion of materials contain images of liberated concentration camps and displaced persons, Ruth's travels directly following her Army service, her fiancé Lyle Simpkins, and two reunions of the 67th General Hospital. The collection also includes military documents, Army periodicals, files relating to her fiancé Lyle Simpkins, a private in the United States Army, certificates, transcripts, clippings, and Ruth's army uniform garrison cap.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.


Search Terms

The following terms have been used to index this collection in the Library's online catalog. They are grouped by name of person, family, or organization, by topical subject, by place, and by types of material.

    Names

    • McDonald, Ruth Ann, 1919-2013
    • Simpkins, Lyle, 1917-1944
    • United States Army. Lawson General Hospital, Atlanta
    • United States Army. Field Hospital, 30th
    • United States Army. General Hospital, 67th
    • United States. Army. Nurse Corps

    Subjects

    • World War, 1939-1945--Participation, female
    • World War, 1939-1945--Hospitals
    • World War, 1939-1945--Medical Care
    • Military hospitals
    • Military nursing
    • Concentration camps
    • Nurses--United States

    Places

    • Fort Bliss (Tex.)
    • Atlanta (Ga.)
    • England
    • France
    • Germany
    • Luxembourg

    Types of Material

    • Correspondence
    • Black-and-white photographs
    • Color photographs
    • Photograph albums
    • Military records
    • Magazines (periodicals)
    • Clippings (information artifacts)
    • Garrison caps

    Inventory


    Correspondence, 1941-1945, 1978, undated

    Correspondence spans Ruth's service in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War II, documenting her time at Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, Fort Bliss in Texas, the 67th General Hospital stationed in England, and with the 30th Field Hospital in Luxembourg, France, and Germany. Her letters reference her interactions with patients, off-duty activities, and observations during and immediately after the war. Includes letters to her mother, father, and her two sisters, Mary May McDonald, and A. Judith McDonald.




    Transcription, undated   box 1 | folder 1

    A bound book of typed transcriptions of the entire collection of Ruth's letters.




    November-June, 1941-1942   box 1 | folder 2

    Letters from Ruth while she was stationed at Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.




    July-December, 1942   box 1 | folder 3

    Letters from Ruth while she was stationed at Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and Fort Bliss, Texas, and the 67th General Hospital in England.




    January-June, 1943   box 1 | folder 4

    Letters from Ruth while she was stationed with the 67th General Hospital in England.




    July-December, 1943   box 1 | folder 5

    Letters from Ruth while she was stationed with the 67th General Hospital in England.




    January-June, 1944   box 1 | folder 6

    Letters from Ruth while she was stationed with the 67th General Hospital in England.




    July-December, 1944   box 1 | folder 7

    Letters from Ruth while she was stationed with the 30th field hospital in France and Luxembourg.




    January-August, 1945   box 2 | folder 1

    Letters from Ruth while she was stationed with the 30th field hospital in Germany and Austria, and while on leave in Belgium and the French Riviera.




    Lyle Simpkins condolence letters, 1978, undated   box 2 | folder 2

    Letters to Ruth on the death of her fiancé, Lyle Simpkins, as well as later letters from Lyle's family.


    Photographs, circa 1941-1946, 1969-2000, undated



    Loose photographs, circa 1941-1945, 1969, 1982, undated   box 2 | folder 3

    Photographs taken during Ruth's military service with the 67th General Hospital in England, the 30th field hospital in Europe, and the Lawson General Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Also includes images of an American WWII cemetery in Europe, and two 67th General Hospital reunions.




    Loose Photographs, circa 1943, 1984-2000   box 2 | folder 4

    Photographs of Lyle Simpkins during WWII, and Ruth's yearly visits to Lyle Simpkins's grave in New York.



    Photograph album, 1941-1945   box 3

    Includes photographs of Ruth during her service in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, including her training in Atlanta, Georgia, and Fort Bliss, Texas, as well as images of her time with the 67th General Hospital in England and the 30th Field Hospital. Includes images of daily life in the field, Bob Hope and Francis Langford entertaining troops, James Cagney, a Nazi funeral, and Ruth's travels through Austria, Belgium, England, France, Germany, and Luxembourg. Also includes photos of concentration camp grounds, crematorium, displaced persons, and the dead in the German concentration camps.



    Photograph album, circa 1945-1946   box 4

    Includes photogrpahs of Ruth and friends from the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in Texas, Arizona, and Mexico. Also includes photographs of Anchorage, Alaska, where Ruth worked as a nurse for six months.



    "Enlisted Personnel, 3D H.U., 30th Field Hospital, Ebensee, Austria 27 May 1945", 1945 May 27   Oversize Paper Folder 1



    Ruth Ann McDonald and Lyle Simpkins, undated   box 2 | folder 5

    A portrait of Ruth Ann McDonald in her nurse uniform and portrait of her fiancé Lyle Simpkins in his military uniform in the field.


    Military service files, 1941-1945, 1969-1982

    Documents pertaining to Ruth Ann McDonald's military service, including military records, event programs, army periodicals, and files pertaining to the activities and death of her fiancé Lyle Simpkins, who died in action in Belgium in 1944.




    Military records, 1941-1945   box 2 | folder 6

    Record and Report of Separation, Special Orders, Certificate of Clearance, application to the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, certificate of appointment to 1st Lieutenant, and correspondence providing assignments and orders.




    Lawson General Hospital Christmas program, 1941   box 2 | folder 7



    Lyle Simpkin files, circa 1944, 1978   box 2 | folder 8

    Memorial booklets, Lyle Simpkins's uniform patch, photocopies of Lyle Simpkins's Report of Death, burial information, Disposition Request Forms, History of the 517th Port Battalion TC, and multiple historical reports relating to Lyle Simpkins's battalion's activities.




    Army periodicals, 1945   box 2 | folder 9

    Issues of The Yank, The Overseas Woman, and The Army Nurse. The Yank includes accounts and photographs of several concentration camps.




    67th General Hospital Reunions, 1969, 1982   box 2 | folder 10

    Program, attendee list, and several articles reporting on the reunions held for the 67th General Hospital.


    Textiles, 1942, undated


    Garrison caps, circa 1942   box 5


    American flag, undated   box 5



    Transcripts and certificates, 1950, 1954, undated   box 2 | folder 11

    Transcripts from the Medical College of Virginia the Boston University School of Nursing, and multiple certificates commending Ruth for her service in WWII.




    Miscellaneous, undated   box 2 | folder 12

    Administrative Information

    Access Restrictions

    This collection is open for research.

    Copyright Notice

    The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

    The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Ruth Ann McDonald papers, College of Charleston Libraries, Charleston, SC, USA.

    Acquisitions Information

    Materials were donated in 2014 by Mark Burns.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Amy Lazarus, June 2015.

    Encoded by Amy Lazarus, October 2015.

    Reviewed and uploaded by Joshua Minor, December 2015.

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