The Diary of Edith Monture, 1918-1919
Edith Anderson Monture. Diary of a War Nurse. Ed. Terri L. Monture Wicks. 1996. Typescript brochure. Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre, Toronto. Gift of John Moses in 2019. ©Descendants of Edith Monture.1 ©Transcription MLC Research Centre. gw/ak/ig
keywords: American, auto ride, Canadian, class lessons (French; anesthesia), dance, games, gas, German prisoners, Jean Carruthers, mail (letters), movies, New Rochelle (NY), New York, operations (op.), patients, reading, Red Cross, Westchester County, Unit B, Y.M.C.A.
summary: Edith Anderson was born in 1890 in Ohsweken, a village on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve in southwestern Ontario. After repeatedly being denied entry to Canadian nursing schools due to her status as an Indigenous woman, Edith moved to New Rochelle, New York, where she graduated from nursing school in 1914. She worked as a nurse in New Rochelle prior to the war and signed up for service in January 1918 when the Westchester County unit was organized. By mid-February, she left New York, stopping in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and arrived at Le Havre, France on March 6. In France she worked at the Base Hospital 23 in Vittel. On Sunday, June 16, she reports the death of her “pet patient Earl King the boy who adopted me for his big sister,” leaving her distressed and in grief. She also reports on being busy in the operating room. The diary proper stops on Sunday, 28 July 1918, with a few more undated entries added post-Armistice, as she mentions her participation in a battlefield tour witnessing the destruction. She returned to North America in 1919. By 1920, she had returned to the reserve in Ontario, and was married to Claybran Monture with whom she raised four children. She practiced nursing into her 70s and lived to be 106 years old.
[From the editorial preface by Terri Monture]
Here is a story that bears retelling to subsequent generations who do not understand about war and can learn about it through the particular experience of one person. Her story is not only a part of our family’s history, but that of the Six Nations Iroquois as well. That one of our people embarked on such a tremendous journey says much about us as a people. Ours is a history of warriors, and Edith’s story proves that our women, too, could have followed this path throughout the ages.
And so I dedicate this diary to all the great-grandchildren of Edith Monture who will never have the opportunity to listen to her story in her own words; and I dedicate it to the next seven generations of children born to the Six Nations in order that they may learn about and understand the indomitable spirit of our people.
Terri L. Monture
Toronto, March 1996
[Editorial Note by Terri Monture:] Inserted into the diary on separate pieces of paper were: a brief history of the events leading up to the mobilization of American forces including the nursing recruits; a brief summary of the early entries in the diary, including some details left out of the diary itself perhaps for reasons of security; and a very short itinerary from 1919. The first follows, the second has been inserted in italics following the entry for the date on which they occurred (where the date is not specified, with the nearest entry applicable), and the last entered at the end of the 1918 entries. ]
[Edith Monture’s brief summary]:
The breaking off of diplomatic relations between the U.S. & Germany on Feb. 3, 1917 was no less a call to the people to begin active measures of preparation for war than was the call of Paul Revere in 1775.2 The response in N.R. [New Rochelle]3 was immediate. All over the city new organizations were formed for this and that. Red Cross Rooms were opened. Surgical supplies were made. Classes of Elementary hygiene & homecare of sick. [I was a] school nurse at [the] time.
Fort Slocum, recruiting place for the Regular Army, is situated on an Island in Long Island Sound.4 Officials of the War Dept. had made no adequate provision for the reception of the great no. of men who sought to enlist in the few days before the opportunity of voluntary service was ended for ever.
Weather cold –snowing-, recruits came on trains 140-150 by 10 P.M. there were 1,000 men on [the] streets. Public schools and churches, clubs, private homes, recruits entertained and fed for three days. Boys came from all walks of life determined to enlist.
[I] heard about Unit B. Unit B. [was] organized in Westchester County.5 [I] joined the Red Cross and volunteered my services on Jan. 23 rec’d orders to report as soon as possible to Ellis Island.
[Here the diary begins…]
Wednesday January 23 
Received orders to report as soon as possible to Ellis Island. I immediately called up Helen to come and help me get ready. She arrived soon after and labeled stockings, collars etc.
Thursday January 24 [this entry extends onto the page for January 25]
Arose earlier than usual went to the bank for money, also to take the Oath before a Notary Public, then proceeded to the train. My pass was not accepted by the ticket agent because Ellis was mis-spelled. I made him give me a receipt for the ticket which I had to buy. took the Branch to Harlem River6 then the 3rd Ave. L to South Ferry. Guards were on duty pacing back and forth with guns. When I approached the entrance I was asked for my pass. Nurses in Red Cross uniforms were waiting for the boat, but they looked so important that I didn’t dare speak to any of them. I discovered another girl in civilian clothes whom I did speak to and we became quite friendly. We reported together, and then were served tea and crackers as we had had no lunch and were both famished. We were then shown to our dormitories where we remained the rest of the day. Supper was served at 4:30 p.m. which consisted of hash and macaroni. After supper there was nothing else to do but sit and go to bed. I rested well but awoke unusually early.
Friday January 25 -18 [this is the only occasion in diary in which she writes in the year 1918]
Arose at seven a.m. dressed quickly and went to breakfast and was served with apple sauce, scrambled eggs and fried potatoes and coffee. At nine o’clock everyone is expected to be present for roll call, after which you are allowed to leaved [sic] from 9-5 unless you receive orders for drill or equipment. I took the 10:30 boat to New York and procured a trunk at Sacks. Then went on to New Rochelle to get some clothes. I hurried back and was in time for the 4 o’clock boat. I hurried to the sitting room and found more members of our Unit. We went to supper together and then returned to our dormitories and had a sociable evening.
Saturday January 26
Had a very quiet day. Slept all P.M. Went to supper then had a quiet time in the evening until a hot discussion between an American and a Canadian nurse as to which two countries produces the best nurses. After the atmosphere cooled we went to the sitting room and watched the girls dance. At nine P.M. came back to our rooms and went to bed.
Sunday January 27
Started for New Rochelle at 8:40 A.M. Had a lovely time. Dined with the Wellers and Helen K.7 came over in the P.M. I packed the trunk then Mrs Weller took us out for a ride in the Auto. Helen and I stayed for tea then Mr W. brought me to the depot in the car. Arrived at 11 P.M. and went straight to bed.
Monday January 28
Left on the 10:30 boat for the city went to the Grand Central and called up Helen. Made arrangements to meet. I waited for her in the depot. In the meantime went up to see Mr Close in the same building. Then met Helen and went to the Strand. Mr. Weller had reserved tickets for us. After the show we went to the Automatic lunch for a sandwich and a cup of tea, just to see what it was like. Then we went to Lobers [?] for dinner. I had to get back for the 7:30 boat so left Helen at the Knickerbocker. Arrived nearly 8 P.M. Took a bath then wrote some cards and retired for the night.
Tuesday January 29
Stayed in all day. Served, read and slept. Played cards all evening.
Wednesday January 30
Left on the 10:30 boat and shopped in New York, had lunch at Gimbels then went on to New Rochelle. I finished packing my trunk, labeled it and left words to have it expressed to me here. Helen came, we called at Marie’s then went to the Woman’s Exchange for tea. Left New Rochelle on the 9:06. Arrived on the 11 o’clock boat and went right to bed.
Thursday January 31
Remained in all day wrote letters and slept.
Friday February 1
Stayed in all day, wrote a few letters.
Nurses from Camp Gordon arrived on the five o’clock boat.
Saturday February 2
Went to New Rochelle and returned on the elven boat.
Sunday February 3
Went to Grace Church in A.M. slept all P.M.
Monday February 4
Stayed in all day. Much too cold to venture out.
Tuesday February 5
Cold again to-day. Did not go out, Took out life insurance. Nothing exciting happened.
Wednesday February 6
Went to New Rochelle, had lunch with the Wellers, and came home at 7:30. The nurses (4) from Yonkers8 had arrived.
At 11 P.M. three nurses from Mississippi cantonment arrived.
Thursday February 7
After roll call we went to Hoboken9 to see about our passports. Had lunch at Riggs then went to the Lyric theatre to see “Lest We Forget”.10 We had to leave the theatre before the show was over. It was then that I realized that I am too fat for I had to run every inch of the way to the 6th Ave. L. and just made the boat.
To-night we received orders to go on the 8:40 boat and be fitted for our uniforms and I’m unfortunate enough to be booked for 7 o’clock breakfast.
Our steamer caps came to-day and I was detailed to collect the $2 from each nurse, the value of them.
Letter rec’d from C. I must answer at once.
Friday February 8
Did not stay for roll call. The whole unit went together on the early boat and went over to the Red Cross rooms and got our orders for our uniforms and shoes. It took us all day to be outfitted. We all had lunch at Griggs, and most of us just had time to catch the five o’clock boat.
After such a hard day we were all tired out, so we retired early.
Saturday February 9
Stormy all day so I decided to stay in. I occupied my time in writing letters, sewing etc.
Late in the after-noon six representatives from our unit went to see the head nurse.
[here a space of several lines was left]
We had a very sociable evening, sang patriotic songs, and danced. It was quite late when we went to bed.
Sunday February 10
Stayed in all day. Wrote two letters and a postcard then slept in P.M. Had a very quiet day.
Monday February 11
Went to New Rochelle, but it was so late when I got there that there wasn’t time to do much. Just visited for a short time with McLane then walked her and Krueger back to their cases. Came back early and went to bed.
Tuesday February 12
Had orders to finish our shopping. Stores were very crowded and very little shopping was done, although we were out nearly all day.
Wednesday February 13
Our uniforms, in fact our whole equipment were given to us. Some of the girls dressed hurriedly in their new garb and went out. Some of us stayed in to label our clothes.
As our equipment was being distributed, Miss Murdock, Supt. of P.G.H. came up and gave me her bouquet of sweet peas.
It was 12:40 A.M. before I retired. We were all tired out. Some of the girls stayed up until 2 A.M.
Thursday February 14
At roll call we were all told that we couldn’t leave the island until our trunks were packed. I made many trips to the trunk room, and found out that my purchases had not arrived. Therefore I had to do without many things. I had to go without dinner to get the 12:30 boat. I reached New Rochelle at 2 P.M. and simply threw my things around, did some telephoning and went to the Hospital and the High School and just made the 3:26 train. Mrs. Weller came with me as far as 42nd St. I just made the 5 o’clock boat.
To-night I am almost dead. Had to go to the trunk room and put the finishing touches to our packing.
Our “carryalls” are to be packed by private Morning [?].
Friday February 15
No shore leave to-day. Stayed in all day and wrote a few letters. We all knew what turning in our passes meant.
We had to go to roll call this P.M. and we were told that we have to have our suitcases downstairs and ready to depart for goodness knows where.
A lot of letter writing this evening, farewell letters etc. Retiring for the night.
Saturday February 16
Left Ellis Island at 8 A.M. Everybody happy. Arrived at dock (?) [Monture’s question mark]. and boarded an ocean liner. Our men met us on board and we had a delightful time. Left New York at 4 P.M. Wrote letters before ship left pier.
We were all agreeably surprised at our accommodations. We walked out on deck with Captain Peck until dinner was served. Very good service. All being tired we retired early.
Left Ellis Island in small boat for Hoboken + there boarded ocean liner [not clear – “Carmanic” or “Carmainic” ?] Met men our officers… No one bid us good-bye. Wrote telegrams. From upper deck we watched the city disappear and waved to the goddess of Liberty. Service good.
Sunday February 17
2nd day out. Not the least bit of sea-sick. We had all forgotten about the change in time. Breakfast being served at 7:30 we were all late.
After breakfast we went out on deck, and sang old favorite songs. We marched on deck until we were called to service. Our church service was conducted by a Methodist preacher using a Church of England prayer hymn book.
I remained on deck most of P.M. The ocean was quite rough and a few people were just a little bit sick. Unit B. had a little meeting (social) to meet our men. The evening passed very quickly. We all retired at 10 P.M.
Monday February 18
Slept well all night. Was quite refreshed. After breakfast most of us went out on deck for fresh air. It was much colder and we made good use of our grey helmet caps.
Around noon time land became visible.
[several lines were left blank]
During late afternoon we were instructed in wearing lifebelts, and also in boat drill.
Evening finds everyone in good spirits.
3rd day Halifax Harbor waited 2 days for convoy. 8 boats, 2 Canadian troop ships. Fire drills and life belts
Tuesday February 19
Everything quiet. Time taken up in attending meetings and drills. Everybody cheerful. We danced in the evening and all retired at 10 P.M.
Wednesday February 20
Raining to-day. Lecture at 9:30 A.M. instead of the usual drill. Uneventful day.
Thursday February 21
Left H. to-day * about 4 o’clock. Very interesting to watch ships (7) 2 troops take their places. We were in centre (only ship containing women passengers).
Stayed out on deck until dinner time.
It has been a beautiful day.
Friday February 22
Washington’s Birthday. Spent day as usual. Stayed out on deck most of day. Met a lot of men, talked etc.
Saturday February 23
Uneventful day. Went to concert in evening, given by privates. Had fairly good day. Developing sore throat and cold in head.
Sunday February 24
Cold much worse. Sea rough. Went to breakfast but could not stay. Went out on deck hung over the rail and fed the fishes. Went to bed as soon as I felt able. Attempted to eat lunch but had to part with it. Ate very little dinner and retained it.
Monday February 25
Had breakfast in cabin to-day. Visited by Lt. Smith. Arose about 10 A.M. Did washing and was ready for drill. Ate a fairly good lunch then took a nap. Arose at 4 P.M. went to saloon for cup of tea and crackers. Stayed out on deck till dinner. Spend evening as per usual.
Tuesday February 26
Out on deck directly after breakfast. Drill at 9:30 A.M. Sighted another boat, this making the ninth. Late in P.M. orders given to keep off deck after dusk, also that we were to turn in fully dressed. Retired at usual hour.
Wednesday February 27
Slept fairly well. Beautiful clear day. Out on deck for short time during A.M.
Washed few hdks [handkerchiefs ?]. Orders rec’d to wear our life belts all the time. Had after noon tea out on deck. Had stroll with Cap. Titus until dinner. Spent evening in usual way. Danced with necklaces [lifebelts] on.
Thursday February 28
Everything quiet. Spent morning as usual, dull etc. Flag at half-mast on one of the troop ships. Solder buried at sea was wireless message. Some change in position of ships in late P.M. Light fall of rain around 5 P.M. Usual dancing in P.M. still decorated with necklaces.
Friday March 1
Spend day in usual way. Entertainment given by enlisted men and orchestra. Judge Lindsey chairmen. Money in aid of Seamen’s charities.
Saturday March 2
Called earlier than usual this A.M. to see destroyers11 coming to meet us. The last one was just on the horizon when I got out on deck. There were about seven in number.
Bright sunny day, a little breezy, but not too cold. Went to church service at 9:30 A.M. After church went to hurricane deck for drill. Saw fish (porpoises) jumping out of water and seeming to follow ship.
Sunday March 3
Bright clear morning. Wrote letters until church time 10:30 then went out on deck. Sighted light house. Spent day in usual way. Retired a little later than usual.
Monday March 4
A.M. found us in Liverpool.12 We left ship about 11 A.M. with rations. Went to North Western Hotel. While we were waiting for waggons [sic] to convey us to the hotel a troop of Canadian soldiers, who also had just landed and greeted us, asked us if we were sea sick coming across. We had lunch in the hotel, and also afternoon tea. In reach [?] English style. Dinner at night. At 10 P.M. we marched to depot and boarded the funniest English train. 12 in a compartment. No sleep for me that night, coughed a great deal. Miss Thompson fainted twice in that train.
From notes: March 4 found us in Liverpool, entertained. Left at 10 P.M. for Southampton.13
Tuesday March 5
After travelling all night we were all very tired and looked like tramps. We had arrived in Southampton. We were taken to South Western hotel for breakfast. We stayed only for a short time then went on board ship “Warild”. It was a hospital ship. We did not have leave until night. Meals on this ship were excellent. Lights we[re] very dim. It was a rough sea and the boat swayed a great deal. We were compelled to sleep in life belts fully dressed. Some of the girls were sick all night, vomiting. I coughed and had very little rest but was not sea sick.
From notes: Had breakfast in Hotel and boarded the Warilde [Warilda?]. Slept in life belts and fully dressed.
Wednesday March 6
A.M. found us in Havre harbor.14 It was about eleven A.M. when we resumed our voyage. We arrived in Havre in about ¾ of an hour. As we out on deck watching the people we noticed a few American soldiers. They called to us and asked a few questions. Finally one of the boys recognized Miss Larson and asked if she was from New Rochelle, he was from there. Maybe we weren’t glad. We were conveyed in ambulances to the Bordeaux Hotel where we had lunch. After lunch the N.R. [New Rochelle] man and [sic] took us out walking. We were out only a short time. After dinner at night, he called again and took some of the girls out. An English officer welcomed us. Scotch boys came in etc.
From notes: March 6 Havre. recognized by soldier in charge of transports.
Thursday March 7
Slept in real bed last night French beds are about 2 ft. thick. Our first breakfast in France was served to us in bed. Bread and butter and cocoa. After breakfast we all went to a hairdressers establishment and had a shampoo. All came out all dolled up in Marcel waves. Got back just in time for lunch. After lunch our New Rochelle friend came around in two Y.M.C.A.15 cars and took us out sight seeing.
We went along the ocean. The view was wonderful, passed a few British rest camps. Stopped and talked to some soldiers. British soldiers (Australians). We had quite a talk. They gave us their pins and buttons. Came home and had dinner. We have to retire early. We are leaving here at 4 A.M.
Friday March 8
Called at 3 A.M. breakfast at 3:30. Waggons [sic] called for us a little after 4. Our N.R.16 friend had us taken in Y.M.C.A. waggons [sic]. The rest of our crown in Unit H. had to go in standing waggons [sic]. At the depot we were supplied with rations sufficient for 2 days. We left Havre at 6:45. Had lunch on the train. Rations consisted of pork and beans, salmon, tomatoes, jam and hardtack. We stopped in Mantes17 for some coffee. It was served from large cans especially prepared for us. We watched the search lights and the explosions of our anti air guns. Our train stopped for 4 hours, but we did not wait for the train to go on. We went to bed.
From notes: 2 days at Havre then on ---- at 10 P.M. sound of guns etc. ---- stopped 4 hrs. ---- our train 2 hrs. l… [late ?]
Saturday March 9
After a restless night we arose to partake of more rations. If our swell friends could only have seen us. Eating tomatoes, salmon with no salt and with only a knife fork and spoon. One of our girls was very sick in the night from eating too many beans, and she is from Boston at that. This A.M. we learned that the depot we were due at at [sic] 10 P.M. was the place that was bombed, but our train was 2 hrs. late, therefore we escaped. We are going through the farming district which is perfectly wonderful. We stopped at a little depot, for coffee. One of our interpreters took our chief nurse and some other (11) nurses, and did not return in time. Much excitement and we had to go on our way without them.
Sunday March 10
Beautiful day. We reached our destination (Vittel)18 at 12 noon. We were the last of the units to get off the train. Nurses and soldiers were at the depot to welcome us. They brought us to the hotel Jo__ d’Arc. We were shown to our rooms and then taken to dinner. Wonder was the dinner to us. Roast veal, peas, mashed potatoes, canned peaches and coffee. It certainly looked good to us after eating cold beans, tomatoes and saltless at that, for 3 days. After dinner we were taken to the hosp. to get a bath. Water never felt so good, for we were all grimy. We took a stroll through the park after dinner until supper when we went for another short walk.
From notes: Vittel – Health resort, Hospitals ---- 2 bases [?] 23 Buffalo – 36 Detroit ---- Hotels as hospitals ---- Villa for nurses ---- getting officers hosp. ready.
Monday March 11
Beautiful day. Spent all morning in walking. Washed a few hdks [handkerchiefs ?] in P.M. and then took another walk. Miss Benham and the rest came in the evening. We were in the train to welcome them.
Tuesday March 12
Miss Benham had a very severe cold and was taken to hospital in A.M. The rest of us with colds had to go to clinic, a general distribution of Brown’s mixture tablets took place. Several of us walked to Conteville*19 in P.M. Boys (soldiers) on lumber truck gave us a ride. Got back just in time for supper. After supper we went to Y.M.C.A. movies. Place filled with patients and soldiers. Smoke so thick we could scarcely see the pictures on the screens. Two songs were sung. The man who sang had a very good voice. The pictures were punk. Explanations all in French. After the movies we went to the depot as we were expecting our men. But they did not come. When we got back to the Jeanne D’Arc MacKinnon and Hunt had hot chocolate for us and we had a party. It turned out to be a birthday party, Mrs Carter’s.
*[unsure of spelling she spells it variously and seems to have corrected it at some point but also variously.
Wednesday March 13
Right after breakfast Mac and I had to go to see Miss Benham. Then we went to see the Dr. about our colds. Rx – more Brown’s mixture and Dobell’s for gargle. From there we went to the U.W. and had French history read to us: Very interesting. After dinner another walk with Miss Hunt. We visited the cemetery, graves decorated with beaded flowers. Our men arrived at noon and told us all about the experience they had coming. They were near Paris and were in great danger during an air raid. Bombs fell all around them and broke some windows on their train, etc. etc. We were invited to the Y.W.20 for tea at 3 P.M. had a lovely time, and again another walk. Found the “magic spring” for which “Vittel” is noted. After supper tea we walked over the golf links, then home at dusk.
Thursday March 14
Bright sunny day but stayed in all A.M. Polished my shoes and did various little things. In P.M. four of the doctors called and a number of us went out on a long hike. We climbed to the top of a high hill and looked back over the village of Vittel. The view from the hill was beautiful. We returned via cucino [casino?] and looked in the store windows. Some of the Drs. were looking for souvenirs for their wives and children. It was supper time when we returned and all had a ravenous appetite. I stayed in after supper and wrote letters until bed time.
Friday March 15
Went to conversational French class right after breakfast. Then came home and washed up for dinner. After dinner the Carruthers girls and I went for a long walk in search of waffles. We walked into a village and visited the most important places. They were a little old church (catholic), two caf[é]s and the only things they had were wine and beer. Main St. was full of manure piles. The wells had winders by which to draw the water. No cover to protect from dust, and frogs and toads were in one of them. It was supper time when we returned.
Light fall of rain after supper.
Saturday March 16
Spent day in usual way. Went out walking in P.M. with the Carruthers girls. Came back by way of the Casino and had hot chocolate. We had just had our supper when we heard there was mail. No time was lost in getting to the Post Office. Letters were received from Helen, Krueger, Clabe, and Lydia De Caine. In the evening we went to the movies and saw Charlie Chaplin. Came home and went to bed.
Sunday March 17
Went to church at 10:30 A.M. and washed a few clothes before dinner. After dinner wrote some letters then went to a ball game. At 3 P.M. a reception was held at the Y.M.C.A. for nurses and officers. Tables decorated with flowers and home made cake made by the nurses of Base Hospital 36. Came from Y.W. and took a bath before supper. After supper wrote a few more letters and went to a Song Service at the Y.M.C.A. after which I a [sic] lecture was given by Capt. Fay who told us his experience while visiting the British front. He also showed us some souvenirs he had brought from the battle fields. Came home and went to bed.
Monday March 18
Stayed in most of the day, General Pershing expected, but he only went through town.
We went to anaesthesia lecture at 4:15 P.M.
Went to movies at the Y.M.C.A. in evening and saw Mary Pickford.
Tuesday March 19
Stayed in all day (cloudy). Went to French conversation class in A.M. and anaesthesia lecture at 4:15 P.M.
Eats in Mrs. Carter’s room in evening.
Wednesday March 20
Light fall of rain during whole day. Remained in all day, but went to Y.M.C.A. in evening. We were expecting to hear a discussion on the challenge of the present great crisis. But as we had a visitor in the person of a celebrated Y.M.C.A. worker from Mount Vernon,21 the discussion was postponed and we had a popular song service instead. All enjoyed the evening.
Thursday March 21
Remained in most of day but went to anaesthesia class at 4:15. After class went for a short walk with Thompson and Townsend before supper.
In the evening, a number of us went to the Y.M.C.A. to see boxing match. It was also stunt night. All enjoyed the evening.
Friday March 22
Bright sunny day. Went to French conversation class at 9:30 A.M. Remained in all after noon, but went out for a long walk right after supper, then on our way back went to the Y.M.C.A. boxing match. There was also some singing, a few jokes and a reading of Robert Service’s poem.22
Saturday March 23
Bright sunny day. Went out shopping in P.M. bought change purse.
Went to dance given by officers. Had 3 dances only. There were very few introductions given, therefore did not have a very good time.
Sunday March 24
Beautiful day. Went for a short walk with Miss Larson before church. After dinner, Larson, Lain and I went to the park and wrote letters until the ball game started between 36 & 23, 23 won 2-1. After supper went for a walk with Thompson, MacKenzie and Townsend, then went over to the Y.M.C.A. song service and also a lecture by Capt. Metcalf, on the Irish question.23 We didn’t consider him a good talker. We disgraced ourselves by laughing at people who coughed and the funny comments made by the boys who sat behind us.
We were told that a nurse was coming to join us. Larson and Hack went to meet her, and who should it be but our enemy Crosswaithe
Monday March 25
After getting our room in order Townsend and I went for our laundry, and fooled around until dinner. Remained in until nearly supper time, then went to the base ball grounds with Misses B. Tom. and Townsend. After supper we went to the depot to try and buy a map. Miss B. bought some dictionaries. We walked until it was time to go to the movies. There was a long picture and it was nearly ten when we got home.
Tuesday March 26
French conversation class at 9:30 A.M. Washed my clothes in P.M. After supper Thompson, MacKenzie, Townsend and I went for a long walk. On our way back we stopped at the Y.M.C.A. The girls danced a while then left Tom and I. While we were there Fitz and Muth called on the girls. When they saw us they were very surprised and humiliated. Tom played cards and I read. We left about 9 P.M.
Wednesday March 27
Right after breakfast we heard that a German observation balloon had fallen in our midst. There was a mad rush to see it. It was quite a huge thing only part of it remained inflated. The rest had collapsed. A French officer was guarding it and was having a hard time, for the U.S. boys were all trying to get a souvenir. I had a piece given me by a little French boy in the P.M.
After supper we went for a long walk until it was time for the Y.M.C.A. There was a little song service and then a discussion on the challenge of the great crisis. It was quite interesting.
Thursday March 28
Spent most of the morning with Townsend at the hairdressers. In P.M. we went to the ball ground to study French, from there we went to the Y.M.C.A. for tea.
After supper we went to the Y.M.C.A. It was stunt night and the boys played a few games. It was much duller than usual.
Friday March 29
Raining all this A.M. stayed in had the usual French lesson with Miss Wilson. At 2 P.M. went to church (Good Friday sermon). Remained in until after super when we all went to the Y.M. movie to see the Passion Play. We sang hymns and a serious talk was given by the pastor followed by the prayer. So ended the day.
Saturday March 30
While at class Townsend and I were invited to go with Miss Porter to Conteville in a car. Mrs. Carter was also with us. We enjoyed the ride even though it was a little muddy. Came home about 11 A.M. went to the jewelers and ordered an identification tag for myself. At 2 P.M. we went to the Continental hotel for instruction in using the gas mask. It was nearly five o’clock before we got through. Mail had arrived, and I had a letter from Clabe. After supper we signed the pay roll. Not having any engagements this evening, I wrote letters, read the paper and studied French until bed time.
[Fig 1. see appendix]
[Fig. 2. see appendix]
Westchester Country Unit B
Joined Buffalo Base Hospital 23 in Vittel in France 1917
[Fig. 3 see appendix]
[Fig 4. see appendix]
[Fig. 4. see appendix]
Sunday March 31
Easter Sunday – raining. Went to church in rubber coat, hat and boots.
Spent the day much the same as usual. Went to Y.M.C.A. song service in evening.
Monday April 1
Still raining. In all A.M. Was sent to Nouvalle in P.M. to make curtains. When we got there we found that the material hadn’t arrived, so we went out for a walk in the park. We met two patients in the park who told us they were leaving the next morning. One of the boys had tears in his eyes. We felt sorry for him and when we left him a few of us chipped in and bought them some eats. In the evening we went to a dance at the Continental, given by 23. Had two dances, one with Capt. Titus, and one with Lieut. Burwell. Left early with Thompson and Townsend. Went down to kitchen and helped ourselves to eats. Just as we were finished we were caught by the M.P.24 who pretended to be serious. So ended the day.
Tuesday April 2
Still rainy. Stayed in all A.M. We had our first pay in the army in P.M. later in afternoon our banker was ready for us. I deposited $98. Went to the movies in evening with MacKarrcher.
Wednesday April 3
Sun out this A.M. stayed in and did my weeks washing. In P.M. wrote a couple of letters. After supper I went with Larson and Carruthers for a walk to the cemetery. Came home and the girls coaxed me to the dance given by 36 in the Park Hotel. Hosp. “E”. We were shown around the building. It is the cleanest place we have been in yet. Didn’t have a very good time played solitaire then had 4 dances 2 with Capt. Titus, 1 with Lieut. Burwell and 1 with one of the nurses. Came home at 12:15 and went to bed.
Thursday April 4
Cloudy this A.M. Went in to Miss W. for French lessons then out shopping with Larson. I bought a brooch came home and had dinner. After dinner I washed my hair and read a magazine while my hair was drying. Mack dressed my hair when it was dry. Went to Y.M.C.A. in evening. Stunt night. Rained in P.M.
Friday April 5
Stayed in all day until evening. Went to movies in P.M. Canadian scenery shown by movies of 36. Fords tour through Canadian Rockies. French professor sang a couple of French opera also the Marseillaise.25 Very good.
Saturday April 6
Quiet day. In the evening went to a dance given by the boys of 23 to boys of Unit B. Quite a number of nurses went to the Nouvalle and the boys came later and we pulled off a dance on the fifth floor. At the same time the officers were having a party also, the opening of their club. Several soldiers were stationed at one of the doors of the Nouvalle to keep guard while we danced, so that no officer would catch us. When the alarm “Gas” was to be given we were all to get into the darkest corners. However the alarm wasn’t given and we had a dandy time. Of course we had to leave before 10 P.M. to get home in time.
Sunday April 7
Raining! Went to church in A.M. The sermon was given by the Y.M.C.A. man. Very interesting.
Stayed in all afternoon, but went to song service at night. A short service was conducted by the chaplain. Then we had an address by Capt. Walker on glimpses of France. Address positively a joke, rotten expresses it better.
Monday April 8 [see next entry]
Miss Jean Carruthers26 and myself were getting ready for a party. We chased all over the village for material for a cake. We finally got it and Miss ------ of 23 made it for us. In the after noon I went with Misses Larson and Lain and Lieut. Burwell to gather flowers.
Went to movies in evening.
Tuesday April 9
I got mixed on dates. The page before belongs to this date.
Had masquerade party in evening. All girls. Miss Philips and Miss Benham were present. We had a good time.
A party was also on at the Hotel des Sports. The girls of Unit 36 had invited the enlisted men to dance. The place was raided by an officer.
Wednesday April 10
Cloudy! Stayed in all A.M. and helped sew curtains. Right after dinner Larson and I went to the Terminus to sew curtains on the machine. After supper went with Larson, to the Y.M. to hear the discussion on Militarism. Very good.
Thursday April 11
Bright sunny day. Washed clothes in A.M. After dinner Larson and I went with Lieut. Burwell to Conteville. Lovely walk, bought a few postcards then came home, just in time for supper. After supper we went to a party given by the girls of the Marie Theresa to the girls of Unit B. I played pedro the first time in years. Had a very nice time.
Friday April 12
Went to Nouval with five other nurses to make beds. Worked all day. In the evening we went to the Y.M.C.A. We were entertained by a man who did slight [sic] of hand tricks. Larson, Lane and I went with Lieuts. Burwell and Muth. They came home with us after the show and we played cards (hearts) until 10 P.M.
Saturday April 13
Beautiful day. Went back to Nouval to finish making beds. We finished just before lunch time, but had to make cotton balls until it was noon. After lunch we went back and dusted, finished about 2:30 P.M. Came home, washed and went over to the villa St. Clair.27 After supper Larson, Land and I went for a walk and picked some flowers for the church, then went to the movies. We were escorted home by Lieut. Burwell.
Sunday April 14
Beautiful day. Went for a short walk before church. After dinner Larson, and Land and I, went to the park and wrote letters until it was time to go to the baseball game, which was played between Unit 36 and Conteville Unit 31. The score was 7-2 in favor of Unit 31. The Conteville band played for us, and we all felt quite at home. After supper Lane and I went to pick flowers until it was time to go to the Y.M.C.A. We had a short service, followed by a lecture of Jeanne D’Arc given by Prof. Palmer of Wis. U.S.A. It was very interesting and we were all glad to have heard him.
Monday April 15
Raining-Just pouring. We heard there was mail at the P.O. and it didn’t take us long to get there. I received 5 letters, 1 from Helen, 1 from Ida and 3 from Johnson. We then went to the villa St. Clair to start fire in the stoves to see how they work. In P.M. I went to Carruthers room and answered Ida’s letter. After supper Larson, Land and I went for a short walk until it was time to go to the lecture delivered by Major Rukke, on the care of the patients at the front. Fairly good.
Tuesday April 16
Still raining. Sewed on curtains all A.M. up to 3:30 then answered Helen’s letter. Raining hard so didn’t go to the movies, but wrote letters instead in Miss Marston’s room. Miss Larson had a severe cold and stayed with me until bed time.
Wednesday April 17
Cloudy all day. On duty all day, sewing blue curtains. In the evening we went to the Y.M. to hear the discussion on Fosdick’s book. Challenge of the present crisis and its relation to the churches. A few of the boys took part also a couple of nurses, and finally the chaplain. Mr. Houghton had a severe headache and had to be excused. The discussion was very interesting.
Thursday April 18
Moving day. Right after breakfast we all packed our belongings and at nine o’clock the “Bull Gang” came to move us to the Villa St. Clair. As soon as our goods were delivered, Lane and I proceeded to switch our furniture around to make more room. As soon as
we partly settled we set out to the woods for flowers. It didn’t take us long to gather three large bunches of yellow wild flowers. There was boxing at the Y.M. but did not care to go as I had a big washing to do. When I had finished I cooked myself an egg and had some bread and butter which Lane had brought over for me and later decided she wouldn’t eat because she was getting too fat.
Friday April 19
Snowing this A.M. very cold in our villa. Had to get up at 7:15 to be at breakfast by eight. Came home and sewed on curtains until finished. Took short walk with Larson until lunch time. After lunch was sent on duty at Jeanne D’Arc to sew on tags. Off duty at 3 P.M. came home and sewed until supper time. Meeting right after supper to decide on rug for our sitting room, curtains etc. Went to the movies at 7:30 P.M. Had a front seat and nearly broke my neck looking up at the pictures. Lane and I decided we would come earlier in the future. Came home, fire out, room cold and cheerless. Retired.
Saturday April 20
Snowing this A.M. went on duty, sewing labels on supplies. Off duty in P.M. came home and wrote a letter. Lane home at 2:30 P.M. and we went out shopping, bought green sateen for curtains and started right in sewing. Did part of one then went down to sitting room and danced. Lieuts. Fitzgerald and Muth called and danced with us. I then played Pedro with Renwick, Savage and Marriston, until quite late. Came upstairs and sewed until bed time.
Sunday April 21
Light fall of snow again in A.M. Went to church as usual, and then to dinner. Waited for Lane while she fussed and then finally got a box sent to her brother. Came home and found room very comfortable. Wrote letters instead of going to church. There was a Confirmation at 2:15 at our church. None of my friends went so I stayed home. Went to the Y.M. at night. Short song service then a lecture by Capt. Titus, on his trip around the world. It was very interesting but there wasn’t time enough to finish this whole trip. We hope to hear him again.
Monday April 22
Still raining. On duty at the Loraine. Made beds, swept several rooms and washed toilet articles. Off duty at 3:30 P.M. Went to the Loraine Café with Misses Morriston, MacKarracher and Hack, we had hot chocolate and French war bread and unsalted butter. We enjoyed the refreshments very much. After supper went to the movies with Larson and Taft. Saw Douglas Fairbanks in “The Lamb”.28 Came home with Lieut. Burwell and Muth. We danced until 10 P.M. They went home and we came up stairs and retired.
Tuesday April 23
Very foggy this A.m. On duty – more beds to make. Off duty at 3:30. Sun shining beautifully, came home and gathered up some clean clothes and went with Hack to the Red Cross baths. First real tub bath since I left America. After dinner Larson and I went to French class. My first lesson with Madam ______. Came home and danced a little while then to my room and wrote letters until bed time.
Wednesday April 24
On duty all day up to 3:00 P.M. Came home tired, dressed for supper. After supper studied French for a short time then the girls came to our room and made sandwiches. Later in the evening, the officers of our unit, and one of the Q.M.29 We danced until 10 P.M. Had quite a nice time.
Thursday April 25
On duty until 3:30 P.M. It looked as if it was going to be a nice day but it rained in the P.M. After supper went to the Y.M. with Misses Land and Taft. We had a very enjoyable evening. After the stunts were over Capt. Asked us to accompany him to the depot for a paper. We got home just before 10 P.M. Lieut. Burwell was in the reception room and told us that the dance we were to give on Saturday would have to be given on Friday or postponed. It was decided to have it in Friday evening.
Friday April 26
Beautiful day. Worked all day. Helped with the decorating for awhile and in the P.M. helped with the eats. Came home at 4 P.M. tired, rested for a little while before going to supper. Dressed for the dance and left the house about 8:15 P.M. I had about nine dances, one with Lieuts. Beck, Kucke, Fitz, Smith 3 with Major Rukke, and 2 with Jean Carruthers. Had a splitting headache all evening, but tried to have a good time in spite of it. Came home tired out, so tired that I couldn’t sleep for a long time.
Saturday April 27
Sunny day. On duty at the Loraine, undoing the decorations of the night before. The enlisted men of our Unit were going to give a smoker to the men of the other units, and we made sandwiches for them in the P.M. It was 4:30 P.M. before we got through. After supper we had to go to a meeting at the continental. Just a little talk on laundry work and a little advise about going out with the enlisted men. Came home and went straight to bed.
Sunday April 28
Rather cloudy in A.M. Stayed in bed late and had a little breakfast in our rooms. It started to rain before dinner. Had ice cream for dessert at dinner. Stayed in all P.M. Base ball game was called off on account of the rain. In evening went to Y.M. Capt. Titus finished his talk on his trip around the world. Very good.
Monday April 29
On duty at the Loraine, then went to the Jeanne D’Arc and sewed until 3:30 P.M. Went to the movies in the evening and saw Douglas Fairbanks. We enjoyed him very much. Lieut. Burwell had an op. (tonsillectomy). Doing nicely.
Tuesday April 30
Uneventful day. On duty till 3:30 P.M. In the evening Miss Lane demonstrated to us the making of the celebrate Dakin tubes. Very interesting. Retired after having a [cup?] of bouillon.
Wednesday May 1
Rather cloudy day. On duty at the Loraine making up beds in the ward. At five minutes of ten A.M. Miss Benham came and told me to report at the Continental that I was to go with three other nurses to Epinal30 to do some shopping. It was a great surprise and I enjoyed the trip very much. The country was beautiful. We were only sorry that the sun wasn’t shining. We did our shopping and then hunted around for a restaurant. We finally decided on a hotel. We were quite surprised to find that it was quite modern, also there were a number of U.S. officers dining also. We had a dandy dinner which cost of 5 F. tea extra. We left Epinal at 2:30 P.M. This town is sometimes bombarded. In the evening we went to the Y.M. and were entertained by the Hening sisters of N.Y. We enjoyed the concert Beaucoup.
Thursday May 2
On duty up to 3:30 P.M. Beautiful day. We went to the Y.M. in evening and heard a splendid lecture by Dr. Nailor, who is in charge of Y.M.C.A. division through this section. The lecture was on What it’s all about. The best explanation of the war, that I have ever heard. The nurses at Base 36 did a little stunt. They were clever jokes on the officers and nurses. Had a very enjoyable evening.
Friday May 3
Another beautiful day. Was given the P.M. went for bath this afternoon then for a tramp through the woods with Misses Land MacCallen, Hack, also studied a little French. Went to movies in the evening. Very poor. Didn’t enjoy it a bit.
Saturday May 4
On duty in A.M. only. Was over to Madame Jeanne’s to look over some jewellery. Didn’t like any. Went to Y.M. to shop, but found it closed. Lane and I went for a long walk at dusk. Climbed the hill at the back of our villa, when we reached the top we sat on a bench and listened to the singing of birds and occasionally we could hear the guns. We got home at 9 P.M. and sewed trunk covers until bed time.
Sunday May 5
Raining – went to church in A.M. The Chaplin [sic] has gone to England for 3 weeks so service was conducted by a Mr. Houghton the Y.M. man. He preached a very good sermon. Went down to native village after dinner and bought a Jeanne D’Arc ring. Came home and wrote letters. Called for mail, but there was none for me. After supper went to Y.M. to hear lecture on “toads” by Lieut. Smith. It was a joke. The boys made fun of it.
Monday May 6
On duty until 2 P.M. Then went to meeting for Unit B. Major Getty lectured us on Army rules and regulations. We were all agonized for we couldn’t laugh out and the whole lecture was a joke to us. Came home after the lecture and played base ball for the first time in years. We played until supper time. After supper went to the movies, French pictures translated into English – fairly good.
Tuesday May 7
Doubtful weather. On duty until 1:30 P.M. Then attended lecture by Capt. Declyne on economy. Lecture lasted about five minutes then we came home. I went for a bath then studied French until supper. Went to French class after supper then came home to a meeting of our girls discussing parties etc. We came to no conclusion Miss Philips came and told Miss Benham about telegram for nurses. Miss McCallan and I were on call but only one could go so we tossed coin for it. Miss McCallan won out. Stayed in this evening. I went down and had coffee with them.
Wednesday May 8
On duty until 3:30 P.M. Nothing unusual happened. After supper we went to the theatre to hear John Bunny [?] of the Y.M.C.A who lectured on “Chasing the Kronprintz”. The lecture was very interesting and funny. He told us some of the experiences he had had and about places he had visited.
Thursday May 9
Beautiful day. On duty at A.M. came home after lunch and felt tired and sleepy so took a nap, then got up and went back to Loraine to make sandwiches for our farewell party we were giving to Miss Benham and Miss Callen. We had supper in our villa this P.M. then dressed and went to the dance given at the “Terminus”. There weren’t as many people as usual so I had more dances. Carruthers forced a French officer upon me and I stuck with him until the party ended. Carruthers and myself were escorted home by the C.O.31 got roasted by the girls the next day for it.
Friday May 10
Another beautiful day. On duty in A.M. In P.M. went to the hair dressers and had a shampoo. Came home and went to the park to meet Larson. Towns., she and Hack with our mascot the supposed fox, sitting on a bench. Lieut. Burwell joined us and we went to Madame Jeanne’s and had chocolate. After supper Larson and I purposely forgot our French lesson. Went to the movies in the evening. French pictures and awful. Went for a walk after the picture until 10 P.M.
Miss Benham and Miss McCallen left Vittel for parts unknown in A.M.
Saturday May 11
Off duty at one P.M. Came home and got dressed for the ball game. 23 won. 23 -9, Contre 2. After supper went for Auto ride with Major Rukke, Land and Fenwick. We stopped in a beautiful woods and picked wild flowers. Came home and went to the movies. A few of the doctors came in. Dr. Peck brought in the victrola32 and we danced until 10 P.M.
Sunday May 12
Raining as per usual. Went to church. After dinner wrote a few letters then went to the ball game. Had supper in our own villa, had a nice time. Went to the Y.M. in evening to “Mothers Day Service”. Mr Houghton read several poems which were very touching. Came home and found the C.O. visiting also a couple of doctors. Retired at the usual hour.
Monday May 13
Still raining. On duty until one P.M. On our way to the P.O. met Major Rukke he asked Jean C. and I to do an errand for him. Sent us in his car to Conteville then off we went for a ride. Hack and Fergison were with us. Came home and studied French. After supper Lane and I went to the movies. French tragedy – Punk, also Charlie Chaplin, not so bad. Came home and went to meeting concerning “Mess”. Went to bed. Thompson fell down stairs. Did not hurt herself very much.
Tuesday May 14
Raining. Off duty at one P.M. Studied French then wrote letters. Purposely forgot our French lesson. Stayed in all evening and wrote letters.
Wednesday May 15
Beautiful day. On duty in A.M. After dinner went for a long walk with Misses Larson, and Land and Lieut. Burwell. Went to “They” and climbed hill beyond it. Got home just in time for supper. After supper rested until time for the theatre. An airplane flew very low over the Casino. The men waved to us and cheered. We were entertained by the Conteville string band and also two singers. Lieut. Burwell came home with us and stayed until 10 P.M.
Thursday May 16
Beautiful day. On duty in A.M. Wrote letters in the after noon, received 8 letters. Went to the Y.M. in evening and heard Dr. Nailor lecture on Why America is at war. It was very interesting. Went for a walk after the lecture with Larson and Burwell. Came in before 10 P.M.
Friday May 17
Another nice day. Off duty in P.M. wrote more letters. Air plane flew very low lighted once and then up again and out of sight. Remained in all evening and rested.
Saturday May 18
Off duty at usual hour. Went for a bath. On my way back met some of the girls who insisted that I go for an auto ride with them and Major Rukke as I went. We went through beautiful country and I enjoyed every minute of it. We stopped in a large forest and went tramping through the woods. The C.O. took several snap shots of us in the woods and also on the road on our way home. Got back just in time for supper. Stayed in all evening and sewed also read.
Sunday May 19
To church in A.M. Went with Miss Carruthers before church to visit the artillery train, met some French officers Lieut. Burcher [?] etc. They invited us to come again after lunch as we hadn’t time to inspect. At 2 P.M. we went again and were shown the whole train, also spent a few minutes in the officers mess. When we were there we were served with crackers and wine. After our visit we went to the ball game U.S. 23 & 36. 23 won. In the evening went to short service at the Y. and heard Dr. Maxin tell of his trip to England. Went for a walk after church with the girls and the C.O. and Lieut. Burwell. Retired at the usual hour.
Monday May 20
Took French lesson with Miss Carruthers in the park. Lieuts. Grand and Boucher joined us and we went for a walk up the hills. Spent a very pleasant afternoon trying out my French on Lieut. Boucher. He was very patient, and with frequent uses of the much worn dictionary we tried to understand each other. They picked flowers for us, and before we knew we were late for first supper so had to go to 6 P.M. supper. Movies at the theatre to-night and American pictures too. Enjoyed them muchly.
Tuesday May 21
Just an encore of yesterday. Was notified to report to Nouvelle in A.M. to-morrow. Tried [sic] this evening so did not go to the Y. to hear the discussion on Life in the Trenches. Stayed home and wrote letters instead.
Wednesday May 22
On duty at the Nouvel in A.M. off at 1 P.M. Spent the afternoon with Miss Carruthers in the Park, studied French for awhile. After supper played Base ball then came home and read until bed time.
Thursday May 23
On duty at Nouvel. Put on duty on second floor with Miss Winters in charge. Have three patients all eye cases. Off from 10 to 2:30 P.M. Had official photograph taken. Wrote letters while off duty. Took moonlight walk with our French friends and the Carruthers sisters. Jean sang some Scotch songs for us and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, also had some refreshments. Had to hurry home, I reached home as the clock struck eleven. Miss Savage gave us H. for being late, rather that she locked the door and was annoyed at having to open it.
Friday May 24
Nothing unusual happened. Went for a French lesson on the hill but did not study.
Saturday May 25
Beautiful day. Off duty from 1:30 to six P.M. In the evening went for a walk in the park with Miss E. Carruthers. Came home at 10 P.M. and read until lights went out.
Sunday May 26
Had from 11 to 5:30 off to-day. Went to the ball game between 23 and 31. Score 7-2 on favor of 31. Stayed in all evening. – Lonesome.
Monday May 27
On duty per usual. Off at 7:30 and found a visitor in our villa. Mrs Anna Ste--[unclear] Richardson of Larchmont was here. I did not recognize her at first. I had taken care of her son-on-law in the N.R.H. and had been at her house. She insisted on my sending a note to Mr Milligan which I did. She stayed only a few minutes. Was tired so did not go to the movies.
Tuesday May 28
Another wonderful day. Off duty at 3 P.M. A date in the pk. with Carruthers and the Lieut. Did not study French, just talked. At 5:30 P.M. went to the catholic church to see the presentation of the statue of Joan of Arc to the city of Vittel. An address given by the Bishop who was robed in a purple gown and much lace. We had our French friends with us. In the evening Joan C. went with us and again we met our friends and spend an hour on the hill.
Friday May 31
Worked all day and the usual time off. Met Lieut. Bucher at the old place in the evening. Was there only a short time. We planned to have a picnic on Sunday evening.
Saturday June 1
Nothing unusual happened. Stayed in all evening.
Sunday June 2
Had the morning off and went to church with Jean C. After church we went to the Continental for our new hats. Had “beaucoup” work to do in P.M. being on duty alone with Miss Winters. Just as luck would have it I could not get off duty until 8 P.M. and a pic-nic waiting for me on the hill. All were assembled when I reached the top of the hill all out of breath. I was also told that my friend had received orders to go to ____ Somewhere in France for special instruction in gunning etc. Had a wonderful feast and tasted real French pastry. Time passed too quickly and I soon had to say au revior to my friend.
Monday June 3
Had last hours to-day so got dressed with Jean Carruthers to the Y.W.C.A. Had a good cup of tea and such a delicious piece of cake. After supper went for a walk then to the movies. French pictures again. Talked to the English Tommys33 who sat next to me, until I got sick of the pictures then Jean and I left. Went to her room and devoured the remains of last evening’s picnic. Then retired.
Thursday June 6
Had a busy day to-day and went on night duty. Had fifty-seven patients and three German prisoners to take care of.
From notes: ---- on night duty 2 week ---- 3 prisoners
Sunday June 16
My pet patient Earl King the boy who adopted me for his big sister, died this A.M. at 7:15. Had hemorrhage at 3:15 A.M. The poor boy lost consciousness immediately. My heart was broken. Cried most of the day and could not sleep.
Monday June 17
Had a very quiet night, but felt very nervous all night.
Tuesday June 18
Came off night duty this A.M. Did not go to bed at all. Went for a bath then sat in the park with Jean Carruthers and wrote letters. The weather was doubtful with showers of rain and then sunshine. After dinner went to the florists and ordered flowers for my boy who died. At 3 P.M. went to his funeral. It rained through the whole ceremony and my feet were very wet, but I didn’t mind I paid my last respects to Earl. Retired early this evening as I had to report for duty the next day.
Wednesday June 19
On duty in the operating room. Felt like a big boob. Saw one operation. Had last hours. After supper went to the ceries [?] or the Y.M. where a musical concert was given by some Y.M. workers. The music was good and I enjoyed it muchly, not having attended anything for two long weeks.
Thursday June 20
No ops. to-day. Just made supplies. Off duty early at five P.M. Went to the Y.M. but before the program had begun I was called for an emergency op. Pt. coming from Epinal. We waited for pt. until 11 P.M. then Land and I decided to lie down in one of the rooms. We just got comfortable when we were called. They had brought the pt. down in a big truck, and eight boys stood in it and held the stretcher. Some ride. Pussy case, ruptured appendix absolutely rotten, smelled to heaven. Finished work at 3 A.M. went home with a lantern
Friday June 21
Got up for second breakfast, then on duty – did supplies and helped clean up after op. was given a P.M.
Sunday June 23
On duty in A.M. had one op. appendix (ruptured). Off in P.M. went to the ball game. 36 played 32. 36 won. Started for church in the evening but went to see Mr Houghton instead, then took a long walk before going to bed.
Monday June 24
Had a P.M. to-day nothing exciting doing.
Tuesday June 25
On duty all day, had last hours and went with Savage, Land and Susan to the hill with a lunch. Had supper in the woods, Land and I searched for wild strawberries, but found few. We returned at 9 P.M.
Wednesday June 26
Nothing interesting happened. In the evening I met Miss Carruthers in the Rose Garden, she had met Capt. Rischleu and was talking to him. We talked with him until he departed for dinner then we went to the theatre. There was a concert (singing and reciting). Enjoyed the singing very much. We had planned to meet the Capt. again after the theatre and spent a few minutes with him until 10 P.M.
Thursday June 27
Beautiful day but very uninteresting. Had last hours – wrote letters.
Thursday July 4
Great celebration. Relieved on 1st floor until 8:45 when we had to “fall in” for the parade. Wore white uniforms, white shoes, black hats, and blue capes with flap thrown over left shoulder showing the red lining. Parade formed on the parade grounds, headed by our band then French soldiers, then convalescent French patients carrying French flag, then English pts. also bearing their flag. Some of these boys had heads bandaged, arms in slings, etc. etc. then came the nurses, then the hosp. boys. Parade took about an hour. Went back on duty until 1 P.M. Very exciting ball game in P.M. B.H. 36 US. 23. Large amt. money put up. We won 1-2 I made 6 francs. Lieut Grandvoux came late in after noon with another officer and the Carruthers girls and I had dinner with them at the Grand Hotel. Went for short walk then home at 10 P.M.
Friday July 5
On duty in A.M. P.M. off Lieut Boucher came late in P.M. invited me out for dinner but I wouldn’t go. Met he and Grandvoux in Rose Garden at 7 P.M. Effie C. was with me and the four of us went promenading until 10 P.M.
Saturday July 6
Had a very busy day. 5 operations did not get off duty until 5:30 P.M. had an engagement to go on a picnic. Lane and I met Carl and Digger (English pt.) on the road to [?]. Went into woods and had our supper which consisted of bacon and eggs friend in our sternos,34 lettuce and mayonnaise, bread and butter cherries and blackberry jam. Oranges and nuts. Got away with it and wasn’t seen by anyone. Arrived home at 10 P.M.
Sunday July 7
On duty in A.M. Went to ball game in P.M. 23 won again. After supper the Carruthers girls Tom and I came back to the ball grounds and met three Canadian officers. We chatted with them awhile and learned that they were doing the construction work for the Aviation corps. We invited them to come and see us sometime. We went to church at night.
Wednesday July 10
Off duty all day. In the evening Effie Carruthers and I went to a lecture at the Y. Came home and was just getting ready for bed when we were sent for. Four Canadian officers had come to call on us. We talked awhile then danced until 10 P.M. We enjoyed their visit very much and asked them to come again. After they had gone Lane, Larson and I went to Savages room where Miss Marriston had prepared a little lunch for us. We had egg and tomato salad with Mayonnaise. Retired with a full stomach.
Thursday July 11
Beautiful day. I scrubbed for a sub-mucus op. for Dr. Beck then went off duty until 1 P.M. Beaucoup mail in to-day. Went to ward and watched a transfusion. Everything went well. Off duty at 5:15 P.M. had supper, came home and wrote letters.
Sunday July 14
French celebrated the French Rep. Parade and decoration of graves of French and American soldiers.
Saturday July 20
Sent to large ward in A.M. given last hours off. Went on a pic nic [sic] with Thompson, MacKenzie, Jean C. The Canadian officers came for us in a car and drove us down to their camp. Met an English Y.M. man who butted into our party. We decided to go to the woods for our pic nic [sic] and tried to hide from the old gent but nothing doing. Finally Capt. Hobbs had a bright idea, disappeared for awhile then returned with the message that he was wanted on the phone. We finished our lunch in peace, after that we were taken and shown the German prison camp, also the horses, were treated with lemonade at one of the tents by and Englishman who has charge of the Huns.35 Returned to officers quarters and had lunch before we left. Had a flat tire just as we left, then had to stop several times on the way. Crept in Towns. window to get in. A perfect day.
Sunday July 21
On duty in Op. room in A.M. P.M. off Jean and I met Miller and Ide in park. Made date to meet in evening. All went well until a “frog”36 came along and frightened us half to death as he seemed to be looking for someone we thought he was an officer. In the midst of it all Ide had to cough. We made another date for to-morrow evening.
Monday July 22
At noon received note from Ide saying that they were leaving. On duty in big ward again. Beaucoup work only two hours off.
Friday July 26
Returned to op. Room about 8:30 A.M. Hosp. filled to the doors mostly gas patients. Every cot filled, cots in halls, on every floor. Very busy in Op. Room. Operated all day. No time off.
Sunday July 28
Off duty in A.M. Went to 2nd breakfast then came home and cleaned up.
This was the final entry in the diary. Following, are notes about the period following Armistice, and brief notes for 1919. It is believed that due to the flu epidemic there was not enough time to continue with the diary.
Detached service to Toul ---- visit to battle fields our [?]
Barricourt ---- buildings in ruins ---- trees all dead ---- French and Germans fought back and forth driven out by Americans
Streets renamed after States ---- picked up shells ---- trenches & barbed wire entanglements dugouts
Prisoners from Germany taken
Returned to Vittel then home sailed from Brest on Kaiserina Augusta Victoria
When we looked over the shell torn fields and think of the millions of dollars in property destroyed to say nothing of the tremendous loss of life, we cannot wonder that in France the bury the dead facing north. Even in death they dare not turn their backs on Germany. A bit of sentiment of course but who can blame them
Left Toul for Vittle Jan. 10- 1919 (evening)
Left Vittle for Nice Jan. 13 -1919
seven days in Nice
Returned to Vittel Jan. 26 -1919
Returned to Toul Jan. 28 -1919
Typescript received by MLC on 22 August 2019 via John Moses, descendent of Edith Monture, email@example.com.↩︎
Paul Revere: A Boston-born silversmith and American patriot, Revere gained fame for his 1775 “Midnight Ride” in which he alerted American revolutionaries Samuel Adams and John Hancock of an incoming attack by British troops. This is considered a pivotal moment in the start of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).↩︎
New Rochelle: A city in New York, where Edith Anderson was working in the hospital as a nurse before the war.↩︎
Long Island Sound: A tidal estuary in the Atlantic Ocean, situated most closely between Connecticut and Long Island, U.S.A.↩︎
Westchester County: A county in New York, U.S.A. See also World War I Roll of Honor: Westchester County, New York, 1 June 1922, listing those who died.↩︎
Harlem River: A strait in New York, U.S.A., which runs approximately 13 kilometers.↩︎
Helen K.: Unidentified family member or friend.↩︎
Yonkers: A city in Westchester County, New York, U.S.A.↩︎
Hoboken: A city in New Jersey.↩︎
Lest We Forget: 1918 American silent war film, Lest We Forget, directed by Leonce Perret, starring Rita Jolivet, and released by Metro Pictures company.↩︎
Destroyers: Small, fast warships used for defense against enemy torpedo boats.↩︎
Liverpool: A key port city in northwest England.↩︎
Southampton: A port city in southern England.↩︎
Havre harbor: The Port of Le Havre is a commercial port in Le Havre, a commune in northwestern France.↩︎
Y. M. C. A.: Young Men’s Christian Association.↩︎
N. R.: New Rochelle.↩︎
Mantes: A commune in north-central France.↩︎
Vittel: A commune in Grand Est, northeastern France.↩︎
Conteville: A commune in northern France.↩︎
Y. W.: Possibly a short form for Y. W. C. A. or Young Women’s Christian Association.↩︎
Mount Vernon: A city in Washington state, U. S. A.↩︎
Robert Service: Robert W. Service (1874-1958) was a British-Canadian poet, often called “the bard of the Yukon.”↩︎
The Irish Question: The debate among British politicians and citizens about how to respond to Ireland’s growing calls for independence from Great Britain.↩︎
M. P.: Military Police.↩︎
Marseillaise: The French national anthem, written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle.↩︎
Jean Carruthers: Fellow nurse?↩︎
St. Clair: Vordeaux-Saint-Clair is a commune in the Normandy region of northern France.↩︎
The Lamb: 1915 American silent western film, The Lamb, was directed by W. Christy Cabanne, starred Douglas Fairbanks, and was based on the 1913 play The New Henrietta by Bronson Howard, Victor Mapes and Winchell Smith.↩︎
Q. M.: Quartermaster.↩︎
Epinal: Épinal is a commune in northeastern France.↩︎
C. O.: Commanding Officer.↩︎
Victrola: A record player.↩︎
Tommys: A slang term for a low-ranking British soldier.↩︎
Sternos: Used for portable food warming.↩︎
Huns: A slang term for a German soldier.↩︎
Frog: A slang term for a French soldier.↩︎