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Harriet Elizabeth Hutchison papers

Identifier: MSS 0513

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Creation: 1943-1974

Language of Materials

Materials in English and French.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Note

Harriet 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 derived from the collection.


.33 linear foot (1 box)


Documents and memorabilia associated with Harriet Elizabeth Hutchison's service as a nurse in the Army during World War II, and some post-war personal notes and official documents.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mary Hutchison Brown, April 2004

Shelving Summary

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

Processing Information

Processed by Emily Holloway. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, November 2019.

Finding aid for Harriet Elizabeth Hutchison papers
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2019 November
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA