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Section I, Series 10. Pennsylvania Hospital Nursing Collection, 1876-1995.

World War II, Evacuation Hospital No. 52, 1941-1981 (MG 3.12, Boxes 1-6)

Evacuation Hospital No. 52 was formed at the request of the Surgeon General of the Army in 1940. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, orders for activation were received, and in March 1942 the unit arrived in New Caledonia, a French island in the Coral Sea. Joseph B. Vander Veer, M.D. provides a complete history of this unit in his book History of the Pennsylvania Hospital Unit in World War II. This series consists of primary source materials -- letters, documents and photographs.

  • Box 1 pertains to Helen G. McClelland’s nurse recruitment efforts and includes letters and photographs from former students who became Army nurses, as well as news clippings from The Philadelphia Inquirer, Evening Bulletin and The New York Times.
  • Boxes 2, 3 and 4 contain letters and photographs taken from a scrapbook compiled by Helen G. McClelland. These letters provide insights into the life of the 1940s Army nurse, which are both touching and amusing, and reflect the great admiration and affection her former students had for their teacher.
  • Box 5 contains the papers of Frances E. McClelland, Chief Nurse of the unit. Items include a passenger list of the ship that transported Pennsylvania Hospital medical staff; pen and ink drawings by staff, and a report McClelland authored entitled “My Experiences in the South Pacific.”
  • Several articles from Life magazine about surgical advances made during WW II are found in Box 6, along with news clippings, publications and photographs from an Armed Forces base in Iceland.

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