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The folio consists of [264] typed leaves and is illustrated with approximately 150 prints which include photographs, portraits, and mounted letters. More than half of the photographs are either taken by the author, Miss Nell Walker, R.A., or Captain R.C. Snidow. A variety of first person narratives of wounded soldiers as well as some of the events and happenings that occurred during the author’s three years working at Debarkation Hospital No. 5 and Army General Hospital No. 41 are found throughout the book. Some of the patients’ stories include Christmas at Debarkation Hospital No. 5, a movie theatre-party, a wedding for one of the patients that was planned in a recreation room, the sewing of uniform patches by Mrs. Grover Cleveland, the disappearance of one of the patient’s turtle pet named Napoleon, and the Governor’s party which was held for everyone that was associated with the hospital.

Some memorabilia included are Durkee’s Red Cross Certificate recognizing her service, a silk souvenir handkerchief from France, a fabric swatch from the upholstery of the hospital lounge, a letter signed from the former First Lady Frances F. Cleveland Preston who also worked at Debarkation Hospital No. 5, a poem written by Private Moses M. Ashely, and letters and postcards from Russia signed by Admiral Newton McCully, who was in charge of U.S. Navy forces in Russia and helped perform intelligence missions against the Bolsheviks (and who later adopted seven Russian orphans).

The preface includes the date New York City, May 1, 1923 and states: “Five typewritten copies of this book have been made of which this is Number One. All the photographs except where otherwise indicated were taken by the author.” The book is dedicated to the author’s husband, Colonel Chauncey Benton Humphrey, who was part of the United States Infantry. Even though the author dates the preface with the year 1923, the official date of publication is unclear. However, the dedication to her husband who the author married in 1927 offers the suggestion that while the work was started in 1923 it was not completed until at least 1927.

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Collection Size

1 bound volume, .25 cubic feet

Publication Date

July 2017


Mounted letters, photographs, United States Infantry


Arts and Humanities | History | United States History

Document Type

Finding Aid

MS – 212: Papers of Emma West Durkee