British Women Organists – 18 Aug 2019

Women Organists in Victorian England:
What Did They Wear?

After I had presented a paper about women organists in nineteenth-century England at an organ conference in Oxford [UK] several years ago, a delegate approached me to ask, ‘But what did they wear?’ A good question for which we have little photographic evidence. We do, however, have illustrations and textual references that, when studied together, give an idea of how women organists confined to Victorian fashion dressed for the bench.

Today’s women organists have more socially acceptable options than did their Victorian predecessors for dressing to facilitate movement of the hands between the manual keyboards and easy foot access to the pedal board unencumbered by superfluous fabric. Women’s fashions in Victorian England were marked by their excess – tight-fitting bodices and voluminous skirts that accented a tiny waist cinched in by a tightly laced corset, and ostentatious displays of ruffles, flounces and other embellishments to the clothing. Skirts were long, falling below the ankle. The addition of more and more heavy petticoats or crinolines to fill out the silhouette gave way to the hoop skirt supported underneath by a lightweight, cage-like foundation of steel rings and fabric tape secured around the waist. The copious fabric of the skirt eventually found its way swept to the back, and hoops gave way to a padded bustle.

Obviously, such fashions did not sit well on a church organ bench. Thus, how to dress was a concern for women organists. Not only propriety, but also practicality determined women organists’ attire. If the organ was located in or near the chancel of the sanctuary, the organist could be in full or partial view of the congregation in the nave. Although organs located in a church’s galley were above the congregation’s line of sight and partially hidden, stairwells to organ lofts could be narrow and steep, and organs often were fit into tight spaces. Unlike the piano stool, the organ bench had to allow optimum movement of the feet on the pedal board. Even if a woman could pedal accurately without looking at her feet, the folds of a long, full skirt could get in the way.

Victorian women were held to a high standard of decorum, especially in church, and Victorian men were not hesitant to air their views about a lady organist’s appearance.

The issue of how a woman should dress for church was a highly contested one when it came to their visibility as choristers in mixed choirs in Anglican churches in the last half of the nineteenth century. When in August 1889 correspondent Musicus asked the readers of the Daily Telegraph what objection there might be to a mixed choir of ladies and gentlemen, he received an immediate, overwhelming response, with the focus of letters shifting from how lady choristers should be attired to whether they should be choir members at all. Claiming the topic ‘much ado about nothing’, the newspaper, which came out in favour of lady choristers, printed ninety-two of the hundreds of letters it received daily over a two-week period

For a full discussion of this issue, see ‘Silenced Voices: Female Choristers in Nineteenth-Century England on this website. From the Toolbar, click on Books > Elizabeth Stirling > Book Extras.

Correspondents weighed in about the attire for lady organists as well. Like the debate about lady choristers, the issue cloaked the greater concern about whether women should be organists at all. Writing to the Musical World in 1857, correspondent Pedal, who declared the organ ‘by no means a lady’s instrument’, explained: ‘Their very dress is against them, since it impedes their pedaling.’ 1 Not only was the act of raising one’s skirt a foot or so to facilitate pedaling unbecoming and immodest, he claimed, the positions necessary to play the pedals were extremely indelicate, if not indecent. ‘No female but a Bloomer should be an organist,’ he stated, referring to the baggy ankle-length trousers worn beneath a loose knee-length tunic made popular by American Amelia Bloomer in the 1850s. 2 Any woman who would wear such a costume, according to Pedal, was sufficiently masculine to be an organist but, because her femininity was then suspect, had consequently lost her respectability. Pedal was one of many correspondents who expressed their views on the topic of lady organists in letters to the editor. When the topic had run its course, the Musical World’s editor chastised Pedal’s immodest thoughts in church concerning a lady’s exposed ankles. 3

Future blogs will address the debates about lady organists from correspondence printed in the Musical World (1857) and the Musical Standard (1863).

The matter of whether one should look at one’s feet when playing the organ was not exclusive to lady organists but also provided a target of opportunity for correspondents to chide their brother organists. Writing to the Musical Standard in 1863, Manuals joined the debate that had resurfaced about lady organists’ suitability for church positions and used the issue of pedal playing to lend his support in their favour. Many women organists played badly, he said, but many men organists played badly too. Believing that skill, not sex, should determine competency as an organist, Manuals asked, ‘What is there, either intellectually or physically to prevent ladies playing as efficiently as the opposite sex?’ 4 He used pedal playing as an example: Many men had to see the pedals before they could play them, but women, whose crinolines distended their skirts and concealed the pedals, played them correctly. 5 Correspondent W. C. Filby put it more succinctly: ‘As to pedalling, a lady cannot look at her feet – a gentleman ought not look at his.’ 6

Several drawings in the popular magazine, The Girl’s Own Paper, published in London by the Religious Tract Society beginning in 1880, offer a glimpse of what a young woman might have worn when playing the organ in the last decades of the nineteenth century. In each drawing, shown below, she is dressed in feminine clothing that is modest, yet tasteful. Without being slaves to fashion that would impede their position at the console, female organists could dress appropriately, avoiding bloomers, divided skirts and other ‘scandalous’ clothing considered by men as improper attire for women.

John Stainer, ‘How to Play the Organ’, The Girl’s Own Paper 1 (22 May 1880): 328. [Lutterworth Press]

King Hall, ‘How to Play the Harmonium’, The Girl’s Own Paper 1 (24 Jul 1880): 472. [Lutterworth Press]

‘Notices of New Music’, The Girl’s Own Paper 9 (17 Dec 1887): 177.
[Lutterworth Press]

Ada M. Trotter, ‘Marsh Marigolds’, The Girl’s Own Paper 16 (3 Nov 1894): 65.
[Lutterworth Press]

The Church Musician in 1895 offered its view on proper dress for women organists, probably with an eye to the recent controversy concerning lady choristers’ attire:

A lady asks what dress she should wear when playing the organ in church? Her ordinary quiet, ladylike costume, of course, attracting as little attention as possible. Any attempt at college caps, gowns, surplices, &c. for her sex are simply fads of modern lunatics, unknown till yesterday in the Catholic church. 7

Shoes as well as dress would have been chosen carefully for organ pedaling. Writing to the Church Musician in 1894 to ask what forms of shoes his brother organists found convenient to wear when playing the organ, George Stanton implied that female organists might have the same concern. Organists’ footwear varied, Stanton wrote. ‘Each has his or her own taste, and every organist wears the boot which suits him best. I know some players who wear laced boots; some who prefer elastic sides; some who wear slippers, rubber-soled shoes, or anything else which suits their individual fancy.’ 8 His inquiry received no replies in the journal’s columns. No illustration accompanied a Musical Times advertisement in 1870 for ‘Flexura, or Patent Steel Spring Waist Boots, particularly adapted for Organists’ to show a type of shoe worn by nineteenth-century organists. 9

When Theresa Beney, who had attended the National Training School for Music in London on an organ scholarship, gave her first recital at Bow and Bromley Institute in March 1883, the reviewer for the Musical Standard felt it necessary to debunk the still prevalent notion that ladies were not up to the task of mastering the pipe organ. He, like others before him, used pedaling to make his point:

The popular notion that ladies do not succeed entirely as organ players, would be considerably disturbed in the minds of those entertaining the idea who chanced to be present at the recital of March 31st. Although one does not like the notion of a lady struggling with a big organ and engaged in work so trying and requiring such courage and watchful power as recital playing, save in rare instances, perhaps, it must be acknowledged that ladies can play the organ, and as pedalists are exceedingly neat and sure-footed, possibly by reason of incessant practice in measuring distances by their feet without being able, as men are in walking and pedal-playing to watch their pedal movements. 10

The reviewer, like many of his brother organists, still was not convinced that ladies belonged on the organ bench, for he concluded: ‘On the other hand, the power and grandeur of a large organ would seem to be best handled by the sterner strength of the ‘lords of creation,’ to say nothing of questions of mental power, which the writer will not venture upon, lest his opinions bring him into ‘hot water.’ 10


For an in-depth discussion of the ‘eligibility’ of women to serve as organists in nineteenth-century Anglican churches, see Elizabeth Stirling and the Musical Life of Female Organists in Nineteenth-Century England (Ashgate 2007). The book currently is out of print but may be found in libraries and purchased from used booksellers.



1  Pedal, ‘No Lady Need Apply’ [correspondence], Musical World 35 (12 Sep 1857): 585.
2  Ibid.
3  ‘Really, some of our organists’, Musical World 35 (12 Sep 1857): 588.
4  Manuals, ‘Male and Female Organists’ [correspondence], Musical Standard o.s. 1 (1863): 274.
5  Ibid., 274 – 75.
6  W.C. [William Charles] Filby, ‘Male and Female Organists’ [correspondence], Musical Standard o.s. 1 (1863): 274.
7  ‘A lady asks’, Church Musician 5 (Jan 1895): 2.
8  George A. Stanton, ‘Organists’ Shoes’ [correspondence], Church Musician 4 (Sep 1894): 155.
9  ‘Flexura, or Patent Steel Spring Waist Boots’, Musical Times 14 (1 Sep 1870): 582.
10 ‘Bow and Bromley Institute’, Musical Standard 24 (7 Apr 1883): 215.


World War II Army Flight Nurses – 20 Jul 2019

From Chickens to Flying:
Lauretta M. Schimmoler and
the Aerial Nurse Corps of America

Thanks to Robert E. Skinner’s meticulous research from the 1980s, we know much about the life of civilian pilot Lauretta M. Schimmoler, founder of the Aerial Nurse Corps of America (ANCOA). His 1984 article “The Roots of Flight Nursing: Lauretta M. Schimmoler and The Aerial Nurse Corps of America” introduced a worldwide aeromedical audience to the accomplishments of this visionary pilot from Ohio who in the 1930s identified flight nurses as the key to a successful program of medical air evacuation in time of national emergency. 1 When writing Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II (Kent State University Press 2007), I was familiar with Skinner’s work, having met and corresponded with him many years before during my Air Force career. Since the book’s publication, I have had an opportunity to review some of the sources in Skinner’s own research files at the Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL that shed new light on my own research.

This blog elaborates on some points that I made in Chapter 1 Origin of Flight Nursing in Beyond the Call of Duty and in eight blogs about Lauretta Schimmoler that I posted on my website from 1 Oct 2018 through 16 Mar 2019.

Pilot Lauretta M. Schimmoler, circa 1932 [Bucyrus, OH Historical Society]

ANCOA and State Nurses Associations

The California State Nurses’ Association (CNSA) was one of the organizations that Lauretta Schimmoler, who lived in Los Angeles, approached around 1940 when seeking recognition of her Aerial Nurse Corps of America. In a salvo of correspondence begun in 1937 the American Red Cross (ARC) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) decried and dismissed any connection between CSNA and ANCOA, because Shimmoler had not sought permission to link her organization with the ARC First Reserve – and, perhaps even more egregious – because she was not a nurse, Schimmoler dismissed their objections, however, when In the first issue of the short-lived Nurses’ Aeronautical Digest she wrote:

It is with a warmth of gratitude that the NURSES’ AERONAUTICAL DIGEST acknowledges this month the stimulating cooperation given the Aerial Nurse Corps of America by the California State Nurses’ Association. To these good nurses WE DEDICATE THIS FIRST EDITION OF OUR NEW PUBLICATION. To them goes much credit, for they have helped us in promoting understanding among the nursing profession. They have tended by their very actions to make the Aerial Nurse Corps of America a cohesive whole, instead of a divided organization. Their patience and inspiration explain much of the recent progress displayed by the Corps. 2

NURSES’ AERONAUTICAL DIGEST was intended to replace the monthly mimeographed ANCOA Flashes that had shared the organization’s news with its members for three years. In the new format, Schimmoler reviewed the achievements of ANCOA over the past years:

1932    Dec     Inception, Cleveland, OH
1936    Sep     First official assembly for organization, Los Angeles, CA
1937    Jan      Foundation of organization
1938    Jan      Incorporation of organization
1938    Feb     Copyrights
1938    Jul       Recognition by National Aeronautical Association
1940    Jan      Confirmation by resolution, National Aeronautic Association

During 1939, ANCOA was recognized through State Nursing Association Advisory Council appointments in California, Ohio, and Michigan; it is this activity with which the national leaders of the ARC and ANA took issue. 3

Continuing her progress report, Schimmoler noted establishment of fifteen active companies of ANCOA nurses, and members’ voluntary participation in first aid stations at air meets and air events treating over 3,000 persons.

Although begun as a civilian organization, Schimmoler clearly intended that her nurses eventually would form the military flight nurse cadre as ANCOA nurses:

We have a niche to fill, namely, ONE – in Aviation, TWO – MOBILE MEDICAL EVACUATION BY AIR AMBULANCE. THREE – the formation of adequate personnel to fill a vacancy and the creation of a new department established in such a manner as to dovetail into the existing service organizations so as to create for them a Department of Service, which they can immediately call upon to fill the needs in aviation. Aerial Nurses and their auxiliary departments are not encroaching upon assignments of any other persons, but filling a niche which will be invaluable in time of need.

An Aerial Nurse Corps company is so designed to be capable of carrying out the assignments of any of the National Emergency Service organizations, civil or military.

Standards for enlistment have been so established as to comply with the requirements of the organizations of which it would otherwise come under the direction. 4

ANCOA Pilots from Ninety-Nines, Inc.

Three years before the Women Airforce Service Pilots – WASP – organization was established in August 1943 to ferry planes for the US military, ANCOA founder Lauretta Schimmoler had proposed a corps of qualified women pilots to transport ANCOA flight nurses and their medical supplies to areas of need during time of emergency. In a letter to the Ninety-Nines, Inc. International Organization of Women Pilots of which she was a member, Schimmoler outlined her idea, which Mrs. Fanny Leonpacher, editor of the Ninety Nine News Letter, printed in that publication of May 1940. “President Schimmoler wishes to give the members of the Ninety-Nines an opportunity to become identified with this new Section” – the Air Corps Reserve Section of ANCOA – wrote Leonpacher, who included an excerpt from Schimmoler’s letter:

The work of this Section would, of course, be confined to those woman pilots who have the qualifications to pilot four place or larger aircraft under varying conditions. In the event of emergency and it is necessary for us to have medical supplies or personnel transferred from one point to another, we will have available the list of eligible who can get into equipment and conduct such an activity. 5

Leonpacher then asked interested readers to contact Shimmoler directly at 2620 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA.

It is intriguing to consider the possibility that as a civilian Schimmoler had pictured women pilots’ contribution to the war effort a few years before military leaders acknowledged their usefulness in the Army Air Force’s ongoing campaign to control the skies. And in Schimmoler’s mind it could have been a logical next step for Ninety-Nine, Inc. pilots to move from ferrying flight nurses and medical supplies to transporting sick and wounded soldiers on air evacuation missions.

ANCOA Ground Activities

Serving as volunteers in first aid stations at air events and air shows gave ANCOA members an opportunity to participate in aviation activities on the ground when work as a nurse aboard aircraft was limited. A 31-page First Aid Duty manual that Schimmoler prepared and printed in 1939 outlined the nurses’ responsibilities in setting up and running First Aid stations. “Aviation needs nurses as do other industries,” Schimmoler wrote, “ and to be efficient in this specialized phase of the industry it is essential that every nurse be trained.” Schimmoler wanted to instill excitement in the “scientific work ahead in the field of Aviation” that a nurse’s affiliation with ANCOA would make possible. “In this Manual we wish to go on record as being the first in the United States to indicate sufficient interest in our men and women in aviation to want to give them the best care possible at all Air Events,” Schimmoler wrote. She purposely made no reference to nursing technique or knowledge, relying on each ANCOA nurse’s training to prepare her for required first-aid duties she might need to render.

Schimmoler concluded:

These pages have been intended to bring out thoughts for the purpose of inciting a new zeal in your hearts and a burning desire to want to do YOUR part in this new industry. A desire to shun the glamour and accept the seriousness of it all. …

It is my hope that your Motto will be as mine has been . . . . “Whether I know him or not if he flies, he is a friend of mine in Aviation and if anything should happen, The Best is none too good”. . . . Give him the best available, Do not be satisfied with anything, do not be too hasty in your actions. Be thorough but always keep in mind, The Best Is None Too Good”. 6

Schimmoler’s Belated Recognition

When Lauretta Schimmoler initially contacted General Hap Arnold, Chief of the Air Corps, about her flight nurse organization in hopes that he could see its military usefulness in time of war, Arnold expressed an interest that, on further intelligence from his staff, he chose not to pursue in favor of the military’s continued cooperation with the ARC to obtain nurses for military needs. Not everyone on Arnold’s staff discounted ANCOA’s possible role in national defense, however. Writing in 1966 to Matilda Grinevich, a prior ANCOA nurse and World War II flight nurse who made the Air Force a career and retired as a lieutenant colonel, Colonel J.L. Stromme, who had served in the Assistant Secretary of War office prior to transfer to Los Angeles where he met Schimmoler in 1938, recognized her great contribution to “Flying Nurses.” “Those of us who knew [her, knew] of her zeal to have the sick and wounded given speedy transportation to the Hospital best qualified to treat the case in hand, which, in many cases would be by air.” Stromme told Grinevich that he had spoken to Arnold many times, urging him to take advantage of Schimmoler’s work, “and give her recognition for the part she played in its development. He said he would, but he never did, not even a letter to her.”

Stromme, whose letter contains many typos, continued:

There is a poem which goes something like this:

If, with pleasure, you are viewiny [sic]
The work some on[e] is doing, Tell her now.
Don’t with[h]old your approbation
‘Till the Parson makes oration
And she lies with lilies on her brow,
For no matter how you shout it,
She won[‘]t care a thing about it
For she cannot read her tomb-stone when she’s dead.

Which is all too true, none of us is so familiar with the dead language that we will be able to read our epitaph.

Through your efforts you have made Life much brighter for Loretta [sic], she is so grateful. 7

Grinevich had known Schimmoler since the 1930s when organizing the New York Unit of ANCOA; soon one of the first Army Air Force flight nurses of World War II with follow-on participation as an Air Force nurse in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well, Grinevich well knew how air evac saved the lives of combat casualties. For years she fought to have Schimmoler recognized as originator of the flight nurse concept – with no success until 1966.

At the Flight Nurse Section’s third annual luncheon during the Aerospace Medical Association’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, USAF Surgeon General Lt General Richard Bohannon presented Lauretta Schimmoler, whom he introduced as “The Billy Mitchell of the Flight Nurses,” with a plaque, an Honorary US Air Force Flight Nurse Certificate, and a pair of flight nurse wings. 8 Lt Colonel Grinevich, who was in charge of the luncheon arrangements, was on hand to see her hard-fought battle on behalf of Schimmoler finally bear fruit.

Two years later in January 1968, Schimmoler, pictured below, was an honored guest at a banquet at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of flight nursing that began in the Army Air Forces and continued in the US Air Force.

Captain Nancy Barran (L) and Lauretta Schimmoler (R) [USAF Photo]

Schimmoler After ANCOA

As World War II continued, Schimmoler closed her ANCOA offices in Burbank, CA, and in 1944 enlisted in the Army as a WAC. After basic training in Iowa, Private Schimmoler returned to California for duty as a dispatcher in base operations on the flight line at Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Base – later renamed Travis Air Force Base. On duty when the first C-54 Skymaster air evacuation flight with its sick and wounded soldiers arrived from the Pacific theater of operations, Schimmoler saw her dream become a reality.

Following her military service, Schimmoler returned to civilian life as a detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – with which she had been associated before the war – for sixteen years before retiring in 1964.

Grinevich thought that Schimmoler, whose eyesight had begun to fail even before her “recognition” in 1966, had had a premonition for a long time of her days being numbered before her death in 1980. Writing to Robert Skinner in 1982, Grinevich recalled that Schimmoler, who lived in Glendale, CA, had pulled out a new formal from her closet that she described to Grinevich as her shroud in which she wanted to be buried. Schimmoler had a transient ischemic attack in October 1980 followed in three days by a massive stroke that took her life three months later at age 80. 9 After funeral services in her hometown of Bucyrus, OH, Lauretta Schimmoler was buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery, less than a block from where she had raised chickens before taking to the skies.



1     Robert E. Skinner, “The Roots of Flight Nursing: Lauretta M. Schimmoler and The Aerial Nurse Corps of America,” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 55 (1) (Jan 1984): 72–77.
2     “Editorial,” Nurses’ Aeronautical Digest 1 (1) (Oct 1940): title page.
3     “Progress,” Nurses’ Aeronautical Digest 1 (1) (Oct 1940): 7.
4     Ibid.
5     “Nurses,” Ninety Nines News Letter (May 1940): 2.
6     Lauretta M. Schimmoler, Aviation First Aid Duty (Aerial Nurse Corps of America National Headquarters, Burbank, Los Angeles, CA, 1939): I, 12, 31.
7     J.L. Stromme, letter to “Lt. Col. M.D. Grenevich” [sic], 23 Apr 1966.
8     “Miss Schimmoler Awarded Honorary Flight Nurse Certificate and Wings,” Aerospace Medicine 37 (7) (July 1966): 757.
9     “Mickie” Grinevich, letter to Robert Skinner, 4 Feb 1982.






British Women Organists – 22 Jun 2019

‘Place aux dames’?
Women Organists in the First World War

After carefully reviewing issues of the Musical Times 1901 to 1910, I was not satisfied with the numbers of women organists I was seeing – or not seeing – in the ten years of Edward VII’s reign (see the Blog for 2 Jun 2019), so I extended my search through 1913 and ultimately through the years of the First World War.

Four additional women organists performed recitals not in England, but in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Hong Kong – Mrs Longfield and Tibbes, and Misses Muir and Pakes in 1911 and 1912. Likewise, an additional three women organists secured appointments, but in churches outside England in Wales, Ireland and Italy. Six more women were successful candidates in organ playing at London College of Music, two at the Royal Academy of Music Metropolitan, and five at Trinity College London.

During 1911 All Saints Parish Church Southport advertised for a ‘Protestant, teetotaler, non-smoker’ organist.1  Sex of candidates was not specified, though a woman might have been more successful than a man for the post, and preference was to be given at another church to a middle-aged man as deputy organist. In 1913 the offer of furnished bachelor rooms for the successful applicant essentially ruled out female candidates for the vacant organist-choirmaster position at a private chapel in Wemyss Castle in Scotland.

A high spot of 1912 was Miss Lilian Frost’s debut as the first and only woman to play on the Saint George’s Hall Liverpool organ while the town hall was between permanent organists. Her recital program included Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E minor. In 1913 Miss Lord was given ‘great credit’ for her accompaniment to Messiah for a performance at Saint Saviour’s Church in Russia, and Maunder’s ‘Olivet to Calvary’ was performed at Saint Paul’s Church, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania with Miss Edna Fredericks on the organ bench. 2 Only Miss Jackman, organist for Sullivan’s ‘Festal Te Deum’ at Chagford Wesleyan Church, applied her talents in England.

Why this seeming dearth of women organists mentioned in the Musical Times during the Edwardian era and beyond? Music as a feminine accomplishment was on the decline throughout the nineteenth century and seemed to receive its final blow with the rise of the New Woman beginning in 1894. 3 For young women who came of age at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, music no longer held an important role in their lives, having been supplanted by higher education and paid employment outside the home and by increased participation in outdoor sports and recreation. The Musical Times in 1896 had singled out the bicycle as ‘a new and most formidable enemy of the pianoforte’, because hours formerly passed on the music stool were now spent on the bicycle seat, and cited the sale of pianofortes at low cost by owners ‘going in for cycling’ as proof. 4

An advertisement in the Musical Times in 1907 beginning ‘PARENTS DECEASED. – Lady wishes to SELL Second-hand ORGAN’ suggests a similar disinterest in the organ keyboard, though the sale could have been necessitated simply for financial reasons. 5

The Girl’s Own Paper, which featured an abundance of music-related material from its beginning in 1880, had decreased its musical content by 1901. The inclusion of sheet music offers an example. Starting with six to twelve compositions for voice and piano and occasionally for violin or organ in each annual volume, The Girl’s Own Paper gradually reduced the frequency to three or less pieces of sheet music in each annual volume by the end of the century, with none some years.

The magazine still included musical material in its fiction and nonfiction, but readers were no longer given the opportunity to participate in music making within its pages. A common theme was the business of music that focused on singers and pianists. Music had shifted from pastime to profession to be treated as a business, not as an accomplishment, in order to succeed. The fictional ‘Odette: Soprano’, who attempted unsuccessfully in 1905 to establish herself as a singer in Florence, might have done well to heed the warnings in 1901 of ‘The Failures of the Business Girl’ relevant to professional female musicians. While the piano was still the instrument most written about, as late as 1909 contributor Emil Reich considered the female pianist doomed to failure. 6

It is interesting to note that Flora Klickmann, the magazine’s editor beginning in 1908, was an accomplished organist-turned-journalist but did not promote organ playing in her magazine.

The primers on how to play the organ and harmonium, articles on playing for church and conducting choirs, notices of organ music, and sheet music for organ in the early 1890s, as well as fictional female organist heroines and the occasional drawing of a female organist were missing from the magazine’s pages in the twentieth century, with one exception. In 1904 Miss Emily Lucas, a clergyman’s daughter who had become a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, wrote about the challenges and rewards of training a choir and playing for services at Saint Andrew Norwood when visually impaired – Lucas was blind. 7

Organists were in the business of playing for worship services. Were women perhaps occupying the benches of churches, as was the case in the previous century, despite the silence of the Musical Times regarding their work? I considered what impact the call to arms may have had on women organists.

In Britain during the war, roughly two million women replaced men in offices, transport, hospitals and factories. Did they replace male organists in churches as well? In 1914 in ‘The War and Music’, the Musical Times expressed concern that concert-performers and music teachers would suffer financially and suggested that these musicians should not be expected to offer their services gratuitously, even when raising funds for war needs. ‘The New Army and Its Musical Needs’ in 1915 called not for organists, but for bands, and plenty of them, to keep up the morale of the soldiers, stating: ‘A Drum and fife, and a bagpiper, at the disposal of every company captain would work wonders.’ 8 Two organists – Sir Frederick Bridge and Sir Walter Parratt – were on the Music in War Time Committee of the Professional Classes War Relief Council tasked with developing schemes for the employment of musicians during the War and dealing with their financial distress brought on by the war. By the time the Musical Times proclaimed ‘THE LAST SHOT IS FIRED!’ at the end of 1918 and recommended music as the means to maintain the morale of the soldiers while they waited to return home, a definite picture had emerged in England’s wartime churches. 9

Whether to entice more women into careers as organists or to reward those who were already playing, Girton College offered an annual organ scholarship of £30 good for three years beginning in 1914. Only one advertisement from a woman organist appeared in the Musical Times, mid-war in 1916. A pupil of Mr Docker and Mr Bodington, she was a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and had experience training mixed, ladies’ and children’s choirs. Advertisements from male organists seeking church positions and from churches seeking organists were careful to insert the word ‘ineligible’ [for military service] to show that they were cognizant of their civic responsibility, as when R.A.J., an ‘’ALTO AND ORGANIST (29, ineligible)’ sought an appointment as Lay-Clerk or Organist and Choirmaster; the ‘ORGANIST of an Oxford College (ineligible)’, desired a good appointment; and Saint Thomas Hove advertised for an ‘ORGANIST (Ineligible) WANTED immediately’, all in 1917. 10 A private chapel in Ashdown Park, Shrivenham, which in 1918 wanted ‘a Single man’ as organist and choirmaster for the duration of the war, might have done better to advertise for a woman organist, perhaps hiring ‘A.E.’, a ‘LADY, A.T.C.L.’, who sought a post as organist or assistant that same year. 11

Because women organists were still visible during the war years in the pages of the Musical Times, which listed fifteen recitals by eleven women – four performed by Miss Elaine Rainbow, two women appointed to church organist positions, eight women attaining certificates of organ playing at the London College of Music and thirteen at Trinity College London. Organist and choir-trainer Miss Elsie Black was accorded ‘great credit’ for a Musical Festival at Lydbrook Parish Church in 1918 when the choir sang Parry’s ‘I was glad’ and Handel’s ‘Let the bright Seraphim’. 12

Only one woman organist, Miss Eva Fyfield of Greenham, was identified, in 1917, as having replaced an organist for the duration of the war. 13 It appears that male organists had not disappeared from the churches. Rather, they reappeared on the benches in uniform. The most publicized was Corporal F.E. Wilson, who by June 1918 had played fourteen recitals in Eastbourne in aid of the Sick Lines of Summerdown Camp. His 14 May recital of that year included Krebs Fugue in G, Hollin’s Concert-Overture, Wolstenholme’s Canzona and Boellmann’s Toccata. ‘Good!’ the Musical Times exclaimed. 14 Lieutenant Paul Rochard, Corporal Leonard Brown, Privates Patrick O’Neill and W.J. Rainbird, Corporal, Rifleman Isidore Harvey and Driver C.E. Blyton Dobson all played organ recitals during the war. Rochard was organist for Spohr’s ‘Last Judgment’ in 1916, and Dobson played the organ accompaniment for Maunder’s ‘Olivet to Calvary’ in 1918.

Not all mobilized organists returned home. Lieutenant Albert Midgley, ‘a highly-promising young musician’ who had held an organ scholarship at the Royal College of Music for four years and was organist at Saint Andrews Alexandra Park, London before joining the military, was killed in action at the Italian Front in June 1918. Corporal Dobson was organist for a memorial service ‘For the Fallen’ at Halifax Place Chapel, Nottingham, at the end of 1918. 15

What does this tell us about women organists in Edwardian England and the years of World War One? As was the case in Victorian England, women organists were undoubtedly occupying the benches of England’s organs in the first decades of the twentieth century. But as Martin Hawkins suggested, they likely continued to be found in the smaller churches in rural parishes rather than in the large city churches whose musical activities caught the attention of the Musical Times. 16 The war years failed to impact women organists significantly, because, as a colleague pointed out, most male church organists may have been too old or otherwise unqualified to serve in the military so did not vacate their posts. Of course it is possible, too, that young women who might have served as organists found work elsewhere in support of the war effort rather than pursue music making.



1    ‘Wanted for All Saints’ Parish Church, Southport’, Musical Times 52 (1 Nov 1911): 702.
2    ‘On Sunday evening’, Musical Times 54 (1 Feb 1913): 102.
3    See Ellen Jordan, ‘The Christening of the New Woman: May 1894’, Victorian Newsletter 63 (1983): 19–21.
4    ‘The Pianoforte and Its Enemies’, Musical Times, 37 (1 May 1896) 37: 308–309.
5    See, for example, ‘Parents Deceased’, Musical Times 48 (1 Jul 1907): 433.
6    See Judith Barger, Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Bibliography, 1880–1910 (Routledge, 2007).
7    ‘A Blind Girl Organist (Miss E. Lucas)’, The Girl’s Own Paper 25 (19 Mar 1904): 395 – 97.
8    ‘The New Army and Its Musical Needs’, Musical Times 56 (1 Mar 1915): 148.
9    ‘The Last Shot Is Fired!’ Musical Times 59 (1 Dec 1918): 535.
10  See, for example, ‘Organist of an Oxford College (ineligible)’, Musical Times 58 (1 Dec 1917): 532.
11  ‘Wanted, the middle of August’, Musical Times 59 (1 Jun 1918): 244; ‘Lady, A.T.C.L., Desires Post’, Musical Times 59 (1 Oct 1918): 436.
12  ‘A Musical Festival was held’, Musical Times 59 (1 Sep 1918): 418.
13  ‘At the Harvest Thanksgiving Service at Highclere’, Musical Times 58 (1 Nov 1917): 501.
14  ‘Corporal F.E. Wilson’, Musical Times 59 (1 Jun 1918): 258.
15  ‘Lieut. Albert Midgley’, Musical Times 59 (1 Aug 1918): 356; ‘A Memorial Service “For the Fallen”‘, Musical Times 59 (1 Dec 1918): 548.
16  Martin Hawkins, ‘Women at the Console’, Musical Opinion 77 (May 1954): 495.



British Women Organists – 2 Jun 2019

‘Place aux dames’?
Women Organists in Edwardian England

Writing about ‘Women at the Console’ in the Musical Opinion in 1954, Martin Hawkins noted the conspicuous absence at the beginning of the twentieth century of women organists in any church of importance in England when in competition with males. These women were as always, however, welcome as organists in smaller churches where no man was available. 1 By contrast, women organists had been very much in evidence in the nineteenth century. In Organists in the City of London 1666–1850, Donovan Dawe identifies six women organists in City of London Anglican churches at the beginning of that century. 2 According to Charles Mackeson’s A Guide to the Churches of London and Its Suburbs published annually most years beginning in 1866, just over sixty women played in London area Anglican churches in 1895, the last year of that publication. 3 Yet in The Mirror of Music 1844–1944 Percy Scholes, who identified nine women organists meriting notice in the Musical Times in the 1800s, is strangely silent about female organists after the turn of the century. 4

Many of the women who made names for themselves as organists during the reign of Victoria, opening the door to the organ world wider for those who would follow in their organ shoes, did not live to see the reign of Edward VII or were no longer active as organists. Ann Mounsey Bartholomew (Saint Vedast Foster Lane) had died in 1891; Elizabeth Stirling (All Saints Poplar, Saint Andrew Undershaft) and Eliza Wesley (Saint Katherine Coleman, Saint Margaret Pattens), in 1895. Elizabeth Mounsey (Saint Peter Cornhill) lived until 1905, but deafness ended her organ playing in 1882; and Ann Stainer (Magdalen Hospital Chapel), who lived until 1914, had retired from organ playing in 1899.

The most publicised female organ recitalist at the end of the nineteenth century – Emily Edroff, who was associated with the London Organ School and known for playing the repertoire of French and Belgian composers – disappeared from the press after 1895. Five other organists, however, made news from time to time in the next century, but primarily for aspects of music making other than their organ playing.

Ellen Day (1828–1916), the ‘The Doyen of Lady Organists’, had made her debut as a pianist at age eight and later as a church organist after a few lessons with James Coward, Crystal Palace organist. She served as organist of London churches for forty-five years, twenty-seven of them at Christ Church Victoria Street, Westminster from which she retired in 1910. She also performed in public as a pianist, accompanying her younger brother John, a violinist. 5

Margaret Fowles (1846–1907) began her organ career at age fifteen at Saint James church, Ryde on the Isle of Wight before founding the Ryde Choral Union in 1874, which she conducted for over twenty years. She founded a similar choral union and select string band in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, which she conducted during the last two years of her life.

Theresa Beney (1859–1945), born in Brighton, attended the National Training School of Music on scholarship where she studied organ and piano, then remained in London to forge her career as a professional musician. After her 1880 debut as an organ recitalist at Lancaster Hall, Notting Hill in 1880, Beney passed the examination for Associate of the College of Organists in 1881 and held the church organist post at Christ Church Folkestone for about three years beginning in 1883. Like other musicians eager to get on in their profession, Beney diversified her talent to include accompanying, conducting, teaching and composing in addition to solo organ and piano performances. Two of Beney’s vocal compositions premiered at the Proms in Royal Albert Hall – ‘Song of Victory’ in 1901 and ‘The Boys We Love’ in 1914.

Annie Patterson (1868–1934), a Dublin organist, composer and author, had made history as the first woman to earn a doctorate in music by examination in 1889, from the Royal University of Ireland, two years after earning her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts from the same university. At the end of the nineteenth century she was conductor of the Dublin Choral Union and an examiner in music for her alma mater, as well as a lecturer in music. In the next century she turned her attention to writing, authoring books on The Story of the Oratorio (1902), Schumann (1903), How to Listen to an Orchestra (1913), and The Profession of Music and How to Prepare for It (1926). Of particular interest is her book Chats with Music-Lovers (1907), which includes sections on how to practise the organ and on hymn playing and a chapter on How to Be an Organist. Patterson concludes her words on ‘good organistship’ with a question, which suggests that prejudice against ‘lady organists’ had not completely been eradicated in the light of her predecessors’ achievements:

Why not give the lady organist as fair a chance of excelling at her art as her brother professional? The physical exertion expended in organ-playing is no more hurtful to a woman than is walking, bicycling, or dancing; and for the anaemic, dyspeptic or cold-footed, no better remedy can exist than the healthful drill of ‘pedalling.’ St Paul’s objection to women speaking or ‘teaching’ in an assembly, if taken literally, would dismiss the sex from class teaching of all kinds – an art at which women often shine. Patience, reverence and tact are all demanded from conductors of church choir practices, and these qualifications are eminently womanly ones. Wherefore – when old-world prejudices as to the ‘unbecomingness’ and ‘undue effort’ attached to the woman organist’s playing shall vanish before more intimate and practical knowledge of the King of Instruments itself – let the lady ‘pulsator’ have, if no favour, at least a fair field for the display of her talents. 6

Mary Layton (1869–1929), who had made her mark in music history in 1872 as the first female Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, was best known in later years as a choral conductor and teacher of singing. She saw choral singing for women as a hopeful and elevating influence of the women’s movement and worked in political and social life to improve the status of women through music. 7

Some lesser-known female organists were still going strong at the beginning of the twentieth century. Mary Kempke, who had been appointed organist to Saint Andrews Bigglesworth in 1853 and Saintt Swithin’s Sandy in 1862, was well on her way to ‘Seventy Years of Service’ on the bench, an accomplishment noted by the Musical Times in 1924. Miss Hutchinson, organist at Cotherstone (Teesdale) Congregational Church, had completed 50 years on the bench in 1917, during which she missed only four services.

But what about the next generation of female organists – those who flourished on the bench during the Edwardian Era 1901–1910? What can we discover about them? I carefully reviewed issues of the Musical Times for those years, seeking material regarding women organists.

Place aux dames!’ – translated ‘Make way for the ladies’ – prefaced a 1901 Musical Times notice of Fräulein Hoeller’s appointment as organist of Würtzburg Cathedral in Bavaria. The phrase seems out of place, given that it was already anachronistic in 1876 when the Musical Standard identified recitalist Elizabeth Stirling as ‘another able exponent at the organ, but (place aux dames), one of the gentler sex’. 8 But since England did not yet have a female cathedral organist – the magazine identified ten ladies serving as cathedral organists in Ireland in 1907 without addressing their absence in England’s cathedrals – Hoeller’s appointment was considered a novelty. Performances of two female organ students of the Royal Academy of Music in 1902 – Mabel Colyer and Alexandra Tallant – elicited the same surprising ‘(place aux dames!)’ remark. Annie Patterson, it seems, wrote from first-hand knowledge: the sex of an organist, if female, was still an issue. That the profession remained ‘an old boy’s club’, was apparent in a notice of the Wakefield and District Organists’ Association annual dinner of 1907, which concluded: ‘May increasing success attend this excellent brotherhood of organists!’ 9

Advertisements and notices in the Musical Times bear this out. The London Organ School, which had welcomed female pupils since its founding in 1865 and which included Emily Edroff on its staff as an organ professor in the 1890s, opened the auditions for its organ scholarship of 1902. And some churches still advertised for a male organist, though the ‘ladies not eligible’ clause from the previous century was no longer used. The Roman Catholic Church of The Sacred Heart Exeter advertised for a ‘Gentleman’ in 1901; an organist wanting to set up a holiday exchange in 1902 assumed that the willing organist would be a man with a wife. One church offered an excellent neighbourhood ‘for a young gentleman about to enter [the] musical profession’ in 1907; and a country church advertised for a ‘Single, young, earnest Churchman’ in 1909. 10

Of the three churches advertising for a lady or gentleman organist in 1908 and 1909, one was Nonconformist, one a small post, and one at Holy Trinity in Florence with the added responsibility of conducting the Ladies Choral Society. The incumbent, Miss Jessie Handley, must have found a suitable temporary replacement, for she moved to Hampstead and the next month advertised for a similar engagement in or near London.

Eight young ladies – Miss Dalley, Miss Ward, a twenty-six-year-old Officer’s daughter, and others identified only by initials – advertised for organist positions between 1901 and 1910. All were experienced with good credentials, most of them appending the requisite initials to their names indicating successful completion of examinations in organ studies through the London College of Music, Royal Academy of Music Metropolitan or Trinity College London. Indeed, as organ students, females seemed to excel. Five were successful candidates for the London College of Music, five for the Royal Academy of Music Metropolitan Examinations, and fifteen for Trinity College London over the ten-year period.

Despite Handley’s A.R.C.O. and L.R.A.M. credentials, female names were not as numerous in the lists of Fellows and Associates of the Royal College of Organists, which counted only five Fellows – Misses Brown, Clarke, Cliff, Cooper and Ibbetson – and five Associates – Misses Finlay, Lucas, Mear, Winkworth of Haughton and Wood – during the Edwardian years. We will hear more of Miss Lucas in the next blog.

We cannot know whether the coveted certificates and the advertisements with their strings of newly acquired credentials had the intended effect of job placement. Only fourteen female names appeared in the lists of Organist Appointments, and the sixteen females playing twenty recitals were far outnumbered by their male colleagues in the lists of Organ Recitals.

In 1904 the Musical Times reiterated its method for compiling the summary of ‘Organ Recitals’ submitted by readers. Because the magazine received such a large number of programmes, they were examined from two points of view – educational and general interest – and ‘vain repetition’ and ‘arrangements’ found no place in the monthly list. Furthermore, space precluded mentioning more than one piece in each programme. 11 It is likely, however, that women organists still were considered novel enough that all of their submitted recital notices would be printed, if not their entire programmes.

Additional women organists played recitals mentioned elsewhere in the magazine and accompanied choral concerts performed in churches, but their number was not great. Mrs Horace Evans accompanied Sterndale Bennett’s cantata the ‘Woman of Samaria’ on the organ in 1910. John Henry Maunder’s cantata ‘Olivet to Calvary’ was in vogue at the time, and many organists must have had the accompaniment neatly under their fingertips, including Mrs Sheppard, sub-organist of the British Embassy Church in Paris. No one name of a woman organist reappears in the Musical Times during these years to indicate a potential rising star in the organ world.

Grace Ivorsen, organist to the Magdalene Hospital Streatham may have realized that she could not earn her living by organ playing alone. Like many musicians, she diversified, and beginning in 1908 through 1910 advertised – ‘Terms moderate’ – as a piano soloist and accompanist and voice and examination coach. She also mentioned her abilities to read manuscripts and full score and to transpose, as well as her knowledge of French, German, Italian and Latin. 12

Not satisfied with the numbers of women organists I was seeing – or not seeing – in the ten years of Edward VII’s reign, I extended my search through 1913 and ultimately through the years of the First World War. I present those findings in my next blog.

To be continued


1     Martin Hawkins, ‘Women at the Console’, Musical Opinion 77 (May 1954): 495.
2     Donovan Dawe, Organists of the City of London 1666 – 1850 (Padstow: By the Author, 1983).
3     For more about women organists in Victorian England, see Judith Barger, Elizabeth Stirling and the Musical Life of Female Organists in Nineteenth-Century England (Ashgate, 2007). The book is currently out of print, but copies are available in libraries and from used booksellers.
4      Percy A. Scholes, The Mirror of Music 1844 – 1944: A Century of Musical Life in Britain as Reflected in the Pages of the Musical Times, 2 vols (London: Novello, 1947).
5    ‘The Doyen of Lady Organists’, Musical Times 50 (1 Sep 1909): 587; see also ‘Lady Organists, and One in Particular – Miss Ellen Day’, Musical Times 50 (1 Mar 1909): 163–69.
6      Annie W. Patterson, Chats with Music-Lovers (Philadelphia: Lippincott, London: T. Werner Laurie, 1907), 136–137.
7      ‘Choral Singing: A Chat with Mary Layton’, Daily Chronicle, 28 Mar 1912.
8      ‘Bow and Bromley Institute’, Musical Standard n.s. 11 (4 Nov 1876): 290.
9      ‘Wakefield and District Organists’ Association’, Musical Times, 1 Feb 1907: 101.
10    ‘Organist and Choirmaster Wanted’, Musical Times 48 (1 Mar 1907): 147; ‘Organist and Choirmaster Wanted’, Musical Times 50 (1 May 1909): 294.
11     ‘Organ Recitals’, Musical Times, 1 Jan 1904: 30.
12    See, for example, ‘Miss Ivorson, A.R.A.M., A.R.C.M.’, Musical Times 49 (1 Aug 1908): 498.


British Women Organists – 28 Apr 2019

Elizabeth Stirling
(26 February 1819 – 25 March 1895)

Many years ago when researching Samuel Wesley and the introduction of Bach’s organ music into England, I came across the name of Elizabeth Stirling in connection with a recital she gave of Bach’s major organ works at Saint Katherine’s, Regent’s Park, London in 1837. The critic for the Musical World praised the “extraordinary, almost unrivalled talent” of the eighteen-year-old recitalist, “received with general astonishment,” and added: “We hope to see justice done to Miss Stirling. The prejudice against lady organists cannot remain, with such an example opposed to it.” 1 My desire to learn more about this remarkable organist with an apparently phenomenal pedal technique led to doctoral research culminating in my book Elizabeth Stirling and the Musical Life of Female Organists in Nineteenth-Century England (Ashgate 2007).

At age twelve Stirling began organ lessons with William B. Wilson in Greenwich, where she was born and raised. When her family moved to Poplar a year later, she continued her organ studies with Edward Holmes, organist at All Saints Poplar, where Stirling later held the organist post beginning in 1839. Stirling studied harmony privately with James Alexander Hamilton and with George MacFarren and in 1856 aspired to an Oxford degree in music denied her because no precedent existed for awarding a degree to a woman. Stirling nevertheless continued her music career and was remembered in the Church Musician shortly after her death as “the only lady organist who ever got near ‘front rank’ excellence.” 2 She was elected organist of Saint Andrew Undershaft in the City of London in 1858, married Frederick Albert Bridge in 1863, collaborated with him on popular entertainments as pianist, was actively involved as organist for the popular Tonic Sol-fa Association, and began composing for voice and for organ. Her part song “All among the Barley” was widely sung throughout the British Isles. Her Six Pedal Fugues and Eight Slow Movements for organ were much publicized and apparently played by England’s organists. Both collections are available in modern editions edited by Barbara Owens (Belwin-Mills 1984) and by Barbara Harbach (Vivace 1995). Stirling’s organ works, which show the musical influence of Bach and Mendelssohn, were favorably reviewed and put her in the vanguard of England’s modern composers for the organ, securing her legacy, however modest, in music.

Although the best known “lady organist,” Stirling was one of hundreds of women in nineteenth-century England who served as organists in England’s churches throughout the nineteenth century despite a number of churches that declared “ladies not eligible” for the position. Their accomplishments are an inspiration to organists who followed in their footsteps.

Until recently, the only known photograph of Stirling, taken by her husband who had started a photographic business in 1870, appeared in an obituary printed in The Musical Herald. 3

In December 2018, I received a copy of a photograph of a woman organist, which organist Stephen Best sent in hopes that I could identify her. He had purchased the photograph-postcard from a person who did not know where he had found it. Comparison of the two photographs suggest that Best’s photograph is indeed of Elizabeth Stirling, most likely on the organ bench at Saint Andrew Undershaft where she held the organist post from 1858 to 1880.


1 “Organ Performance,”‘ Musical World 6 (1837): 174.
2 “Elizabeth Stirling,” Church Musician 5 (1895): 86.
3 “Elizabeth Stirling,” Musical Herald no. 566 (1895): 149.

World War II Army Flight Nurses – 6 Apr 2019

World War II Flight Nurses Identified

Flight Nurses Anna Ranahan, Grace Dunnam, Dolly Vinsant, and Jean Tierney
of the 806 Medical Air Evacuation Squadron, circa 1943

Until recently I had identified by name only two of the four World War II flight nurses pictured on the cover of Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II. All four were assigned to the 806 Medical Air Evacuation Squadron [MAES], which was sent to the United Kingdom in July 1943 in preparation for D Day, after which they flew across the English Channel to evacuate wounded soldiers from France. Grace Wichtendahl née Dunnam, second from left in the photo, was chief nurse of the squadron. Wilma J. “Dolly” Shea, née Vinsant, third from left, was killed in action over Germany in April 1945 in a weather-related accident when the C-47 in which she was traveling to pick up patients for air evacuation crashed into a mountain.

The flight nurse on the far left is Anna G. Ranahan, who died shortly after World War II. * On the far right is Winna Jean Tierney neé Foley, who goes by “Jean” and is very much alive at age 97. I chatted with Jean by telephone recently; she is a delightful woman whose memory for her flight nurse years has not faded over time. She had finished reading Beyond the Call of Duty for the second time the previous night, and was excited to “meet” the book’s author and relay her surprise at seeing herself on the front cover. She thinks the photo was taken either at Fort Bragg or at Pope Field during maneuvers. Since the flight nurses are wearing wings on their uniforms, the photo would have been taken after graduation from the flight nurse course before shipment overseas.

From 1984 through 2016, Jean and her husband Ed, who flew C-47s during the war, returned to Normandy every other year for Memorial Day and D Day observances.

Armed Forces Radio interview with Ed and Jean Tierney after Memorial Day
Ceremony at the American Cemetery in Normandy, circa 2016
(Courtesy Francis Hellmann)

* Anna Grace Ranahan, who went by “Ranny” when in the 806 MAES, died in 1977.

World War II Army Flight Nurses – 16 Mar 2019

The Aerial Nurse Corps of America
Part 8

Flight nursing in the United States Army Air Forces had become a reality when the 802nd Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron left Bowman Field, Kentucky on Christmas Day 1942 for flying duty overseas in North Africa. Lauretta Schimmoler’s Aerial Nurse Corps of America (ANCOA), however, never really “got off the ground”. Despite Schimmoler’s pronouncement to ANCOA member Leora B. Stroup in January 1942 that “ANCOA shall never die,” the organization apparently did die a slow death after the outbreak of World War II when, as part of the national defense program, civilian aircraft were removed from the west coast to inland bases, thus eliminating ANCOA training flights, and a hold was placed on air shows. 1 ANCOA nurses who were by regulation members of the American Red Cross First Reserve were mobilized for active duty with the military. Some of them, including Stroup, served with distinction as flight nurses with the Army Air Forces – some one hundred of them, according to an uncorroborated newspaper account. 2 Schimmoler, in her early forties by then, was past the age limit for government flying in the WASP [Women Airforce Service Pilots] program. 3 By Schimmoler’s account, she was apparently recommended for an appointment in the WAAC [Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps] prior to June 1942 but chose not to consider it, because she was completing a course on aircraft engines and was holding out for civilian rather than military wartime service. 4 Not being a nurse, military flight nursing was not an option for her.

In fact, the closest Schimmoler came to being a flight nurse was on the big screen with the 1942 release of “Parachute Nurse”, a Columbia Pictures film for which she was technical director. In this wartime melodrama, nurses are in training for a newly formed corps of parachute nurses to be dropped at sites inaccessible to medical care. Schimmoler was cast in the role of Jane Morgan, Commander of the Parachute Corps, “a very efficient, good-looking, plump, graying, motherly sort of woman, with a hardboiled exterior and a heart as big as her frame, which is ample”. 5 Sixty-two ANCOA members of Los Angeles Company A, First Division were used in the marching scenes. 6 Schimmoler’s personal correspondence suggests that she dreamed of follow-on movie contracts as a character actress, based in part no doubt on the “One-Take Schimmoler” moniker she won when scenes in which she appeared did not have to be retaken several times as is often the case. 7 The Hollywood Reporter did not ensure Schimmoler’s potential success in Tinsel Town, however, when in its review of “Parachute Nurse” she was included only among those nameless others having “lesser chances to score”. 8

Marching scene from movie Parachute Nurse [USAF Photo]

Careful not to imply that the story was based on an actual military unit, the Foreword to the film stressed,

This story is pure fiction, but the idea is real and vital. There are no Parachute Nurses attached to the Army today, there are none doing the actual training in jumping, but there is a Paranurse Division of the Medical Department of the Aviation Emergency Corps and the part these Paranurses may play in the defense of and aid to the United States may make the fiction of today the reality of tomorrow.

To the gallant women now engaged in the formation of this Division, this picture is affectionately and respectfully dedicated. 9

Off the movie set, Schimmoler had researched the idea of parachute nurses as a possible opportunity for ANCOA but, as she told RN magazine, “even with the present war developments, it seems unnecessary for women nurses to run the risks of being dragged in rough terrain, of being impaled in a tree, in landing in water, or of suffering some other casualty”. 10 She then hinted of the movie soon to be released: “No doubt in coming months there will be publicity stunts built around the idea of parachute nurse – perhaps even a movie featuring them, but it seems to me that it will only be practical to train parachute nurses when there is an actual shortage of manpower.” 11

After her film debut, with ANCOA no longer a viable civilian organization, Schimmoler closed her offices in Burbank, turned her clerical staff over to the War Operations Center of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and considered her next step. Not willing to sever her connections with aviation, she worked first as an air traffic controller trainee for the Civil Aeronautics Administration in 1942 and as an inspector for the United States Navy Bureau of Aeronautics in 1943 before enlisting in the Army as a WAC [Women’s Army Corps] in 1944. After completing basic training in Des Moines, Iowa, Private Schimmoler was sent to California’s Fairfield-Suisun Army Air Base – renamed Travis Air Force Base in 1951 – where she was assigned duty in base operations as a dispatcher, “since they could not find a place for me to serve direct in Air Evac”. 12 Schimmoler was alone on duty one night in 1944 when the first C–54 Skymaster air evacuation flight from the Pacific Theater of Operations touched down safely on her watch. She recalled that being present for the arrival of this plane “was gratification which no amount of money could purchase”. 13 She continued: “When the first stretcher made its appearance in the open door of the plane and they began to move slowly down the ladder, I was overcome by it all for the moment. I said aloud, ‘And they said it wouldn’t be done.’” 14 It may have been a bittersweet moment for Schimmoler, however, to see that her dream had become a reality – but not for ANCOA.

In an unpublished autobiographical manuscript, Schimmoler recalled when Mickie [Matilda] Grinevich, a former ANCOA nurse who later served on air evacuation duty with the military, “bestowed an unexpected honor on me when she removed the wings from her uniform and said, ‘Lauretta, I want you to have these as a momento [sic] of our pioneering days together.’” 15 Real-life recognition of Schimmoler and ANCOA by the military came at last in 1966. During the thirty-seventh annual meeting of the Aerospace Medical Association, Lieutenant General Richard Bohannon, Surgeon General of the United States Air Force, presented Schimmoler, who was a guest at the luncheon of the Flight Nurse Section, an honorary United States Air Force flight nurse certificate and flight nurse wings. 16


1          Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to Leora B. Stroup, 17 Jan 1942; Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to H.A. Coleman, 22 Mar 1945.
2          Katherine V. Sinks, “Aviatrix Joins Air Wacs,” Glendale (California) News-Press, 27 July 1944.
3          Dora D. Strother, “The W.A.S.P. Program: An Historical Synopsis,” AF Museum Research Division, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, Apr 1972, 11. [AFHRA K220.0721–19] The cut-off age was 35.
4          Lauretta Schimmoler, letter to Leora B. Stroup, 26 Jun 1942.
5          James Rian, “Parachute Nurse,” revised final draft of screenplay, Columbia Pictures, 6 Mar 1942, 13. [Bucyrus, OH Historical Society]
6          Schimmoler, letter to Stroup, 17 Jan 1942; Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to Leora B. Stroup, 5 Mar 1942; Lida Dolan for Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to Leora Stroup, 2 Apr 1942; Lauretta Schimmoler, letter to Leora B. Stroup, 26 Jun 1942.
7          Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to Frank, 13 Apr 1942; Esther Smith, “Ex-Bucyrus Airport Manager Turns to Movies,” Mansfield News-Journal, 16 Aug 1942. The recipient may have been F.L. Hopley of Bucyrus, OH.
8          “’Parachute Nurse’ Timely; ‘Halfway to Shanghai’ Fair,” Hollywood Reporter, 8 (Sep 1942): 4.
9          Rian, “Parachute Nurse,” n.p.
10       “Parachute Nurses?” RN 5 (Feb 1942): 56.
11       Ibid., 56, 58.
12       Lauretta M. Schimmoler, “The Story of How It All Began: ‘And They Said It Wouldn’t Be Done’,” unpublished manuscript, n.d., 8.[Bucyrus, OH Historical Society]
13       Ibid., 8–9.
14       Ibid., 9.
15       Ibid., 7. Matilda D. Grinevich was a career Air Force nurse who had several air evacuation assignments; her first was with the 801 MAES in the Pacific in World War II.
16       “Lauretta Schimmoler Receives Honorary U.S. Air Force Flight Nurse Certificate and Wings,” Aerospace Medical Association, 37th Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, press release, 20 Apr 1966; “Miss Schimmoler Awarded Honorary Flight Nurse Certificate and Wings,” Journal of Aerospace Medicine 37 (Jul 1966): 757, 759.


Former ANCOA nurses Leora Stroup, Eileen Newbeck, Margaret Gudoba, and Matilda Grinevich all served as flight nurses in the US Army Air Forces in World War II. To learn how the dream of flight nursing as part of air evacuation in the US military became a reality, see Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II (Kent State University Press, 2013).

World War II Army Flight Nurses – 10 Feb 2019

The Aerial Nurse Corps of America
Part 7

Undeterred by the American Nurses Association (ANA) rejection of the Aerial Nurse Corps of America (ANCOA), Schimmoler again set her sights on military support of the ANCOA. In July 1942, with approximately 400 of her ANCOA nurses on duty with the armed forces, Schimmoler corresponded with Brigadier General David N. W. Grant, Air Surgeon for the Army Air Forces, United States Army:

David N.W. Grant, Air Surgeon, Army Air Forces [USAF Photo]

Frankly, General, I have almost begun to think that I am another Billy Mitchell. I have not, however, given up hope that some how some way that your department will embark upon the creation of a school for nurses for air ambulance duty and that we [ANCOA] might be accorded the consideration of doing our part in the operations of this school. I feel this department should be separate apart from the regular Army Nurse Corps and be attached as a special unit of the Air Forces. …

      There isn’t a question in my mind, with the interest there exists in this field, that if we had the support and authority needed, that we could create an Air ambulance unit that you could well be proud of. 1

In his reply Grant informed Schimmoler that

      The question of aerial evacuation with the armed forces is now in the formative stage. Nurses will be assigned from the Army Nurse Corps for this work. Many nurses who have had prior experience with the airlines are available for this purpose. Evacuation, as contemplated, is of the mass type during actual combat.

      There are many vacancies in the Army Nurse Corps, which members of your association can join. Nurses are not being recruited specifically for aerial duty, but are being earmarked for this duty when the need arises. …

      I hope this answers your question. 2

A month later, Grant and members of the Army Surgeon General’s Office accepted a plan for a workable air evacuation system designed by Colonel Wood S. Woolford, the first Air Transport Command (ATC) Surgeon. Grant submitted the plan to the Air Staff in July 1942 and received approval to begin its implementation. Because of a shortage of airplanes, the plan incorporated the evacuation of casualties into the duties of the Troop Carrier Command whose tactical mission was to fly men and equipment into combat areas and of the ATC responsible for strategic flights between overseas locations and the United States. These transport planes, when outfitted with litter installations, could be converted into air ambulances for the return trip once troops and cargo were offloaded, putting to humanitarian use planes that would have returned to their bases empty. An interesting feature of Woolford’s plan was the employment of 103 female flight nurses. 3 At the time, only females served as Army nurses. Although the Army had male nurses, they were not commissioned as officers but rather were classified as nurses at the induction centers and assigned in the Medical Department of the Army as enlisted medical technicians. 4 Like the Army nurses assigned to ground medical facilities, the flight nurses would hold the relative initial rank and wear the insignia of second lieutenant. Not until 10 July 1944 did a presidential Executive Order appoint nurses as commissioned officers of the United States Army with the corresponding rights, benefits, and privileges accorded male officers.

Over the next five months, events happened quickly in the development of the air evacuation system in which Army flight nurses would participate. In September 1942 the 38th Medical Air Ambulance Squadron, a “paperwork” organization initially numbering only one officer and a few enlisted men that had been activated at Fort Benning, Georgia the previous May, was transferred to Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky. Bowman Field was chosen because of its proximity to the First Troop Carrier Command headquarters in Indianapolis just over a hundred miles north and because it already had some facilities in place as the former site of the Medical Officer Training School. 5

Upon its arrival, the squadron, now counting two officers and 138 enlisted men among its personnel, was assigned to the First Troop Carrier Command, which had been delegated responsibility for organizing and training air evacuation groups, and was attached to the base hospital. The 38th Medical Air Ambulance Squadron, which became part of the Army Air Forces, was re-designated the 507th Air Evacuation Squadron, Heavy, three days later and served as the nucleus for the air evacuation system. Flight nurses were among the 507th personnel. The 349th Air Evacuation Group activated at Bowman Field on 7 October incorporated the 507th Air Evacuation Squadron, Heavy, and three new units – the 620th and 621st Air Evacuation Squadrons, Heavy, and the 622nd Air Evacuation Squadron, Light, all activated on 11 November. 6 “Heavy” squadrons were those that would fly multi-engine cargo transport planes; the “Light” squadrons were to have their own smaller single-engine airplanes capable of carrying no more than three patients. The “Light” squadron idea was abandoned eventually, because these planes were going to the Navy rather than to the Army Air Forces. 7 Table of Organization 8-447 issued in tentative form in November 1942 and finalized in February of the next year established the Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron with a headquarters section that included commanding flight nurse and chief nurse; and four evacuation flights of six flight nurses and six enlisted surgical technicians, each flight commanded by a flight surgeon. Flight teams consisting of one flight nurse and one surgical technician were to be placed aboard transport planes as needed, and when personnel were short or when casualty loads exceeded available teams, the flight nurse and the surgical technician could fly in separate planes. 8

The Army Surgeon General, who was always short of nurses, opposed the decision to use female flight nurses, but the Air Surgeon felt that flight nurses should be used in the air evacuation program, since they were the most highly trained medical personnel available for these missions. After the war, Colonel Erhling Bergquist, who had been Command Surgeon for the Ninth Troop Carrier Command and later for the First Troop Carrier Command in Europe during the war, defended the decision: “We felt that if in this country a group of healthy individuals could fly around in commercial airlines having a nurse attend them, our wounded certainly were entitled to the same consideration.” 9 He was referring to the airline policy before the war to hire only registered nurses as flight attendants. When the need for nurses to work in civilian hospitals and to serve in the armed forces became urgent during World War II, the airlines substituted college education for a nursing diploma as a prerequisite for work as a stewardess. 10

During the months when the air evacuation program was being organized, the Office of the Air Surgeon received letters from nurses inquiring about air evacuation duty. United Airline stewardesses from California, a nurse from New York who was working toward her private pilot’s license, nurses from Georgia, Louisiana, and Nebraska, and a congressman in Washington, DC – likely on behalf of some of his constituents – all wrote to the Air Surgeon to request applications for and particulars about this new field of nursing. Replies contained essentially the same information: All nurses for air evacuation units would be obtained from nurses of the Army Nurse Corps, and to be eligible for air evacuation duty, a nurse must enter the Army Nurse Corps through the usual channels. Nurses were not accepted exclusively for air ambulance work, but volunteers would be assigned to this duty at a later date when the need arose. War Department Memorandum No. W40-10-42 dated 21 December 1942 spelled out the qualifications for air evacuation nurses and the application procedure to be followed. Only those applicants who were members of the Army Nurse Corps would be favorably considered. Applicants had to be twenty-one to thirty-six years old with a weight between 105 and 135 pounds, had to be physically qualified for flying, and had to certify willingness “to be placed under orders requiring frequent and regular participation in aerial flights”. 11

Starting in October 1942, marriage did not make a nurse ineligible for military service. Single nurses who married while on active duty remained in the military at the discretion of the Surgeon General and, generally speaking, only physical disability and incompetence were grounds for dismissal. By the end of the year, married nurses who met all other requirements for military service could join the Army Nurse Corps. Every nurse agreed to serve for the duration of the war plus six months. By default, a married nurse retained her maiden name while in service unless she specifically requested a name change. 12

As the war continued, the need for an air evacuation system overseas became more urgent. At Bowman Field on 10 December 1942 the 507th, 620th, and 621st Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons, Heavy, were re-designated the 801st, 802nd, and 803rd Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadrons [MAETS] as outlined in Table of Organization 8-447. 13 The 801st and 802nd squadrons, which included flight nurses among their members, were hastily trained in the essentials of air evacuation – an “admittedly meager and inadequate” preparation for the work ahead. 14 One 802 MAETS flight nurse recalled that at Bowman Field

The curriculum was nowhere near complete – except for Chemical Warfare – “GAS will be used in this war” was repeated time and again and with emphasis by Captain Gray – and we learned all there was about the recognition of the various gases, how to put on a gas mask and how to treat patients who were contaminated. That class, physical exercises, and marching rounded out our brief education. 15

On Christmas Day 1942 the first of these squadrons, the 802 MAETS, departed Bowman Field for North Africa to provide air evacuation support for the Tunisian Campaign. 16 Former stewardess Ellen Church, now recovered from an automobile accident and a lieutenant in the United States Army, was among the flight nurses in that organization. 17 Just over three weeks later the 801 MAETS left Bowman Field for the South Pacific where American troops were still engaged in the battle of Guadalcanal. 18 Flight nursing in the United States Army Air Forces had become a reality.

To be continued


1          Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to David N.W. Grant, 24 Jul 1942.
2          David N. W. Grant, letter to Lauretta M. Schimmoler, 3 Aug 1942.
3          Wood S. Woolford, letter to Victor A. Byrne, 17 Jul 1942. [AFHRA 280.93–5]; “History of the School of Air Evacuation,” 1 Aug 1943, 2-4. [AFHRA 280.93–3]; “History of the School of Air Evacuation,” n.d., in “School of Air Evacuation,” Army Air Base, Bowman Field, KY, 9 Dec 1940–Apr 1944; Jan 1944–Jun 1945, 1-3. [AFHRA 280.93–12 v.2]; Robert F. Futrell, Development of Aeromedical Evacuation in the USAF, 1909–1960. Historical Studies No. 23 (Maxwell AFB, AL: USAF Historical Division, Research Studies Institute, Air University; Manhattan, KS: Military Affairs/Aerospace Historian, 1960), 73–74.
4          “Men Nurses and the Armed Services,” American Journal of Nursing 43 (Dec 1943): 1066–69.
5          Mae M. Link and Hubert A. Coleman, Medical Support of the Army Air Forces in World War II (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1955), 367.
6          “Medical History, I Troop Carrier Command,” 30 Apr 1942–31 Dec 1944, 50–52. [AFHRA 250.740]
7          Ibid.; “History of the School of Air Evacuation,” 1 Aug 1943, 2–4. [AFHRA 280.93–3]; Futrell, Aeromedical Evacuation, 73–74.
8          Frederick R. Guilford and Burton J. Soboroff, “Air Evacuation: An Historical Review,” Journal of Aviation Medicine 18 (Dec 1947): 609; Futrell, Aeromedical Evacuation, 78–79; “Medical Air Evacuation Transport Squadron,” Table of Organization No. 447, War Department, Washington, DC, 15 Feb 1943.
9          Erling Berquist [Ehrling Bergquist], “Discussion,” in David N. W. Grant, “Air Evacuation Activities,” Journal of Aviation Medicine 18 (Feb–Dec 1947): 182–83.
10        “Fly Again!” RN (Dec 1945): 40; “Nurses Released From Airline Positions,” Trained Nurse and Hospital Review 108 (Mar 1942): 207–208; “Discontinued for the Duration,” Trained Nurse and Hospital Review 108 (Apr 1942): 268; “War-Time Needs Come First,” American Journal of Nursing 42 (Apr 1942): 449–50; “Airline Nurse Stewardesses Released,” American Journal of Nursing 42 (May 1942): 577–78.
11       “Nurses for Air Evacuation Service,” Memorandum No. W40-10–42, War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, 21 Dec 1942.
12       “Married Nurses Retained in the Army,” American Journal of Nursing 42 (Nov 1942): 1322; “Married Nurses for the Army Nurse Corps,” American Journal of Nursing 42 (Dec 1942): 1451; “Married Nurses in the Army,” American Journal of Nursing 43 (Apr 1943): 306.
13       “Post Diary,” Air Base Headquarters, Bowman Field, Louisville, KY, Dec 1940–Aug 1945, 49. [AFHRA 280.93–1]
14       Futrell, Aeromedical Evacuation, 80.
15       Clara Morrey Murphy, “First unabridged rough draft of Symposium speech, Nov 12, 1992, 50th Anniversary.” [AMEDD]
16       “Medical History, 802nd Medical Air Evacuation Squadron,” 10 Dec 1942–30 Jun 1944, [1]. [AFHRA MED-802-HI]
17       Church, who had been chief stewardess for Boeing Air Transport for eighteen months, was grounded following an automobile accident.
18       “Post Diary,” Air Base Headquarters, Bowman Field, Louisville, KY, Dec 1940–Aug 1945, 51. [AFHRA 280.93–1]



World War II Army Flight Nurses – 12 Jan 2019

The Aerial Nurse Corps of America
Part 6

To avoid possible misunderstandings of Aerial Nurse Corps of America (ANCOA) activities, by 1939 its founder, pilot Loretta Schimmoler, had appointed a registered nurse, Ruth G. Mitchell, as Chief of Staff. In August 1939 Mitchell explained to delegates of the California State Nurses’ Association meeting in San Francisco, “This has always been the plan of the Founder to have some one direct the Nursing activities and thus to meet all the requirements of the Nursing standards.” She emphasized, “This is wholly a nursing project and is designed to serve the daily needs of the public through aeronautical means,” glossing over the fact that Schimmoler was a pilot but not a nurse. After reviewing how and why ANCOA was founded and reiterating its aims, Mitchell outlined a plan to forge a link between ANCOA and the state nurses’ associations:

Advisory Councillors are to be chosen in each State and will thereby represent her respective State Nurses Association. They will act as advisors within the ranks of the Aerial Nurse Corps on professional requirements, as well as mediators within the Association for future demands to be made in aviation for the safety of the nurse, the patient and the aircraft operator.

She then recommended that the California State Nurses’ Association establish an advisory council to investigate ANCOA, accept it as a nursing project, and endorse its activities. Recognition by the American Nurses Association (ANA) was the ultimate goal:

The passing of the recent Nurse Practice Act gives the California State Nurses Association the right to determine who is qualified to care for the sick on land, in hospitals, homes etc., and it is only logical for them to also determine who is qualified to care for the sick in the air and for all aviation activities. The establishing of this Advisory Council for the Aerial Nurse Corps will make this possible and through the council the standards for future aeronautical nursing will thus be determined by a recognized nursing board. 1

While Mitchell was courting the California State Nurses’ Association, Mary Beard, Director of Nursing of the American Red Cross (ARC), continued to express her concern about ANCOA activities. She presented a report on that organization at a meeting of the Board of Directors for the ANA in January 1940, carefully pointing out that Schimmoler, who founded ANCOA, was not a nurse. After stating the purposes of ANCOA and summarizing facts on the organization gleaned from the literature and from correspondence, Beard stressed that

      There is no connection, formal or informal, between the American National Red Cross and the Aerial Nurse Corps of America, Inc. This should be borne in mind, inasmuch as one may read in the pamphlet from which I have just been quoting such a statement as the following: “The Aerial Nurse Corps should be called into service through the American Red Cross, the Army, the Navy, or any other civic or military group placed in charge at the time the emergency should arise.”

Concerning Schimmoler’s attempts to receive the backing of the ANA, Beard wrote:

In at least two of the states an approach has been made to the state nurses’ association, and these state nurses’ associations have considered the appointment of an advisory committee on the ANCOA. I am unable to say whether or not such advisory committees are now active, or even that they were ever actually appointed.

Beard closed her report with a reference to the military’s view on flight nursing:

On more than one occasion during the past two years there have been conferences about aerial nursing between the representatives of the Army Nurse Corps, the Navy Nurse Corps, and the American Red Cross. Each time the Nursing Service of the Red Cross has been assured that neither the Army nor the Navy wishes to request any special action in regard to the services of nurses in the air. 2

As recommended by Mitchell, the California State Nurses’ Association appointed an Advisory Committee to ANCOA. A copy of the committee report on ANCOA letterhead dated 14 October 1940 reflects the influence of the ambitious Schimmoler in its list of seven recommendations that included:

1. We recommend the approval and recognition of the Aerial Nurse Corps of America for the development of an aviation department for the nursing profession under the National Defense Program.

2. Recommendation to the C.S.N.A. for the formal approval of the standards and enrollment of the Aerial Nurse Corps of America which includes membership in the American Nurses Association and the American Red Cross Nursing Service.

3. Recommendation for the creation of an Aerial Nurse Corps roster in the Red Cross Nursing files for any and all forms of aviation duty for national emergency under the direction of the American Red Cross.

Across the top of a copy of the recommendations Badger had written “Miss Beard – This is the one I refused to sign. GLB.” 3

Badger, who was a member of the advisory committee, sent Beard copies of recent correspondence between herself and Schimmoler. “I think that great confusion exists and in my letter I have tried to clarify my position as a member of the Advisory Committee which was appointed by the California State Nurses’ Association,” Badger explained. 4 Writing to Badger, Schimmoler had implied that Emily K. Eck, the chairman of a Special Committee appointed by the ANA, had asked her – Schimmoler – to appoint a committee to confer with this Special Committee. Schimmoler continued:

Inasmuch as they have asked us to appoint a committee to confer with the Special Committee in the ANA, and inasmuch as we already have a functioning committee in the CSNA – ANCOA Advisory Committee, we believe it is only fitting and proper that this Committee represent ANCOA before the A.N.A. Committee. 5

Badger’s reply to Schimmoler left no doubt as to her own feelings on the matter:

It is evident there is confusion regarding the relationship of the C.S.N.A. Advisory Committee to the A.N.C.O.A. and of its individual members.

First of all, I wish to make clear my relationship to the A.N.C.O.A. by stating the following facts:

I am a member of the California State Nurses’ Association and as such I was appointed by the State Association on the Advisory Committee to the A.N.C.O.A. I am not a member of the A.N.C.O.A.

From your letter it is my understanding that the chairman of a Special Committee appointed by the American Nurses’ Association has written you, asking you to appoint a committee to confer with this Special Committee. It would seem to me that such a committee is intended to be composed of members of the A.N.C.O.A.

In view of the above, I am returning unsigned the recommendations which you attached for my signature. 6

In wording similar to that found in the 14 October 1940 report, one of the six recommendations to which Badger referred included “The creation of an Aerial Nurse Corps roster in the American Red Cross Nursing files for any and all forms of aviation duty in national emergency under the direction of the American Red Cross Nursing Service”. 7 In a 30 October letter to Beard in which Badger enclosed these recommendations dated 26 October, Badger shared yet another way in which Schimmoler was trying to situate her organization under the aegis of the ARC – and was “working the crowd”:

In talking to some of the younger nurses during the California State Nurses’ Convention I was told that Miss Schimmoler had suggested that when they send their applications to us for enrollment they indicate that they would prefer service in the Aerial Nurse Corps. I explained to the nurses that their applications would be returned to them since at present the only provision we have is for a Reserve for the Army and Navy. 8

The Special Committee of the ANA to confer with the ANCOA met on several occasions. It reviewed correspondence with ANCOA as well as organizational and other aviation literature. The chair of the committee, Emily Eck, provided an outline of content for the training of aviation nurses. 9 The committee members consulted airline company officials and arranged conferences with several people, among them the superintendents of the Army and Navy nurse corps. Of particular interest in the notes that Dunbar forwarded to Beard was the report that Schimmoler apparently was willing to step down from her leadership position of ANCOA and leave it in the hands of nurses as soon as she felt that the organization could take care of itself. Schimmoler was not likely to disappear from the scene, however, as Dunbar explained:

The nurses in the group are quite concerned to find the proper way for Miss Schimmoler to continue to give what they consider her great contribution, especially in the field of the construction of aeroplanes for transporting sick people safely. A great deal was made of the fact that the ideal place for Miss Schimmoler would be on a national advisory committee to the Red Cross on the use of planes in disaster. 10

After very careful consideration of the information obtained, the Special Committee of the ANA to confer with the ANCOA made the following recommendations:

I. That formal recognition of the ANCOA in its efforts to develop aviation instruction and training for the nursing profession, be withheld for the following reasons:

(a) The ANCOA is non-professional in that its president is a lay person person – not a nurse. …

(b) The training which the ANCOA nurses are receiving at the present time, in the opinion of the committee, does not prepare them adequately for the nursing service they would be expected to render in the event of disaster. …

II. That in view of the above recommendations, the ANA advise that the State Advisory Committees to the ANCOA, which have been appointed, be dissolved.

III. That if the ANCOA should reorganize and select as its president, a qualified nurse, the ANA consider ways and means of developing a close affiliation with that organization.

IV. That a short course of instruction designed to prepare graduate nurses for nursing service in the air, be made available to qualified nurses. …

V. That the National League of Nursing Education be asked to develop an outline for such a course.

VI. That the outline be sent to the American Red Cross for trial in several of the Red Cross Chapters to determine its effectiveness.

VII. That recommendation IV be referred to the Nursing Council on National Defense.

VIII. That the American Red Cross be requested to organize a Reserve of nurses, qualified to constitute an organized group for any and all forms of nursing duties in aviation, in the event of civic or national emergencies. 11

The Special Committee of the ANA to confer with the ANCOA submitted its report to Julia C. Stimson, President of the ANA, on 16 May 1941.

About a week later, Schimmoler appointed Leora Stroup as president of ANCOA. Eileen Newbeck was named to fill Stroup’s position as Detroit Company commander. “CONGRATULATIONS AND SINCEREST GOOD WISHES FOR EVERY SUCCESS AS YOU TAKE OVER WHERE I LEAVE OFF” read a telegram from Schimmoler to Stroup on 24 May 1941, which continued:


Leora B. Stroup [US Army Medical Dept Museum]

Stroup then submitted a reorganization plan for ANCOA that included the following changes:

1. The organization to be an all-nurse group.
2. Emphasis on greater coordination with all local and national defense organizations.
3. More State Nursing Association Committees as Advisory Committees.
4. A simple form of Constitution and By-Laws adopted to fit the present emergency needs.
5. An effort for increased membership.
6. Lowered membership fees.
7. Simplification of clerical procedures, for leaders of local groups.
8. Monthly educational mimeographed publication on aviation nursing, research and current events to all members.
9. Consideration of the courses of study by local Leagues of Nursing Education with a view toward help and approval.
10. A conference of the nurse-leaders of the Great Lakes area this month.
11. Submitting the new set-up of the organization to the ANA Special Committee to get their help, guidance and support.
12. Formal approval by the Board of Directors of the American Nurses Association. 13

In yet another effort to comply with ANA directives, Schimmoler established the Aviation Emergency Corps, a ground staff of clerks, radio operators, first aid workers, and other women with some experience in the flying industry, separate from the all-nurse component of ANCOA. The newly designated organization would apply itself to home defense by augmenting emergency services at all airports, landing fields, and aircraft factories with persons adequately trained in both aviation and emergency work “in the event of disaster or attempted destruction in time of war”. 14

The Civil Air Patrol, which had been created in December 1941 as a non-combat voluntary auxiliary of the United States military, was another focus of ANCOA collaboration. Stroup, who was the deputy medical officer of the Detroit women’s squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, one of her “pet projects” in aviation, likely used that platform to coordinate ANCOA activities with this national defense organization. By 1942 ANCOA members had joined the ranks of the Civil Air Patrol but maintained some degree of autonomy by gaining permission to wear their own uniforms on which Civil Air Patrol insignia was displayed. 15

With the intent to make more educational resources available for aerial nurses, in the fall of 1941 Stroup began corresponding with Major Harry G. Armstrong, Commandant of the School of Aviation Medicine at Randolph Field, Texas and author of Principles and Practice of Aviation Medicine (1939), about adapting the book for the use of ANCOA nurses. With a conditional go-ahead from his publishers, Armstrong gave thought to how the book might be revised. Both he and Stroup must have had second thoughts about their collaboration, however, for Armstrong declared himself unwilling to commit definitely to preparing the book until he had read the outline proposed by Stroup for her chapter on the place of nurses in aviation medicine. Stroup, in the meantime, had been so swamped with work that she was unable to follow through on her contribution to the book. The project apparently was dropped. 16

Changes made in the ANCOA organization were likely too little, too late. The ANA did not revisit the status of ANCOA. Whether this had anything to do with a possible rift between Schimmoler and Stroup involving the ANCOA presidency to which Ruth Nichols of Relief Wings alluded in a letter to Harriet Fleming in 1942 is uncertain. Nichols wrote: “Miss Schimmoler also advised me that a Miss Stroop [sic] from Detroit, who had been appointed president because it was required by the A.N.A. to have a registered nurse head such an organization, had resigned and as she put it, threw the responsibility back in her lap and that she, Miss Schimmoler, was again President!” A letter from Schimmoler to Stroup in June 1942 implies a possible “falling out”: “I had not heard from you for so long that I begin [sic] to think that I would never hear from you again, and sincerely, Leora, I have never had anything to crush me as much as our break in friendship.” 17

Perhaps the lingering discontent of ANA leaders with ANCOA was not only that Schimmoler was not a nurse, but also that, as was the case with Relief Wings, ANCOA threatened to exert unwarranted control over the limited number of nurses available for wartime needs. And the need to mobilize the ARC First Reserve of nurses for military service and to fill resulting civilian vacancies would have taken precedence over continued study of the ANCOA situation. With articles such as “American Nurses – We Are at War!”, “First Reserve Quotas!”, “Nurses, to the Colors!”, and “The Time Is Now!” appearing in 1942 in the American Journal of Nursing, the ANA clearly had more pressing issues occupying its time.

Schimmoler had failed in her efforts to achieve formal ANCOA recognition by the professional nurse organization. Ultimately the rivalry between the two organizations was “much ado about nothing”. But the deliberations and decisions of nurse leaders of the ARC and the ANA concerning Schimmoler and ANCOA offer insight into how nurses sought to maintain control of their profession as America headed toward its involvement in World War II.

To be continued


1          Ruth G. Mitchell, “The Aerial Nurse Corps of America,” speech given at Meeting of Delegates of the California State Nurses Association, San Francisco, 15 Aug 1939, 4.
2          Mary Beard, “The Aerial Nurse Corps of America, Inc.,” 23 Jan 1940.
3          “Report of the Committee of C.S.N.A.-Advisory Council for A.N.C.O.A.,” 14 Oct 1940.
4          Ida F. Badger, letter to Mary Beard, 30 Oct 1940.
5         Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to Ida F. Badger, 28 Oct 1940.
6         Ida F. Badger, letter to Lauretta M. Schimmoler, 30 Oct 1940.
7         Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to Ruth G. Mitchell, 26 Oct 1940.
8         Gladyce L. Badger, letter to Mary Beard, 30 Oct 1940.
9         Emily K. Eck, “Course Outline for Aviation Nursing,” [3 May 1941].
10       Virginia M. Dunbar, “Notes on meeting of Aerial Nurse Corps, Saturday, May 3, 1941.”
11       “Special Committee of the ANA to Confer with the Aerial Nurse Corps of America Report.’” [16 May 1941].
12       “Sent to Detroit News Announcing The Annual Dance of the Detroit Group,” 5 Apr 1941.
13       Leora B. Stroup, “Tentative Reorganization Plans,” Aerial Nurse Corps of America, n.d.; Nichols, letter to Fleming, 16 Feb 1942.
14       “The Aerial Nurse Corps of America Announces – Aviation Emergency Corps,” n.d; “Denver Plans to Have Its Own Unit of Aerial Nursing Corps,” Denver Post, 31 Jan 1941.
15       John F. Curry, letter to Lauretta M. Schimmoler, 26 Jan 1942.
16       Leora B. Stroup, letter to Harry G. Armstrong, 11 Oct 1941; Harry G. Armstrong, letter to Leora B. Stroup, 24 Oct 1941; E.F. Williams, letter to Harry G. Armstrong, 31 Oct 1941; Harry G. Armstrong, letter to Leora B. Stroup, 12 Nov 1941; Leora B. Stroup, letter to Harry G. Armstrong, 19 Nov 1941; Harry G. Armstrong, letter to Leora B. Stroup, 24 Nov 1941; Leora B. Stroup, letter to Harry G. Armstrong, 10 Jan 1942.
17       Ruth Nichols, letter to Harriet Fleming, 16 Feb 1942; Lauretta Schimmoler, letter to Leora B. Stroup, 26 Jun 1942.




World War II Army Flight Nurses – 24 Dec 2018

The Aerial Nurse Corps of America
Part 5

Leaders of the American Red Cross (ARC) had been following the activities of pilot Lauretta Schimmoler and the Aerial Nurse Corps of America (ANCOA) closely ever since her organization had “gotten off the ground” in the 1930s. Officials of the ARC questioned Schimmoler’s motives. First, she continued to imply a connection between the two organizations when in fact the ANCOA was in no way connected with the ARC. Second, Schimmoler was a pilot, not a nurse. Third, she had made enrollment in the First Reserve of the ARC a requirement for membership in the ANCOA. And fourth, Schimmoler had not actually communicated with ARC National Headquarters concerning her organization until 1937. As will be seen below, however, this last point is open to question. These issues were the topics of much correspondence among ARC personnel beginning that same year.

“My Dear Mrs. Carter”, wrote Ida F. Butler, Director of Nursing for the ARC, to the Chief of the Nursing Division, League of Red Cross Societies in Paris, on 30 August 1937, “It is pleasant to receive a letter from you and I am particularly interested in its contents about this Aerial Nurse Corps of America because it has not yet been officially recognized by the American Nurses’ Association, in fact I am quite sure that the President and Founder, Lauretta M. Schimmoler, is not a nurse.”

Butler told Carter that she had written to Mrs. Alma H. Scott, Director of the American Nurses’ Association [ANA], at her New York headquarters not only on the question of the ARC recognizing the ANCOA but also “whether the ANA would take any cognizance of the organization”. Butler’s letter to Carter continued:

The first correspondence indicated that they were going to call the Corps the “American Red Cross of the Air” and, of course, I immediately discussed this with our Legal Advisor because we would not have permitted that title to be used but I notice that they are calling it the “Aerial Nurse Corps of America” so the Red Cross has no reason for complaint except that I believe we should be consulted before they use the membership in the American Red Cross Nursing Service as one of their requirements for an appointment. 1

A few days later on 3 September 1937, Butler wrote to Gladyce L. Badger, Director of Nursing for the Pacific Branch of the ARC, to see if Badger could secure additional information on the ANCOA, particularly an application form. The ARC legal advisor, Mr. Hughes, had advised Butler not to write to Schimmoler directly, as the letter “might be construed and might be used for publicity in a way of which we would not approve”. 2 Because of her position on the Board of Directors of the ANA, Butler had been allowed to read all the confidential information on this organization on file at the Headquarters Office of the ANA in New York City, Butler confided to Badger:

Among the letters on file was one from Miss Nellie Porter who has, I believe, held prominent positions in the California State Nurses’ Association. Miss Porter informs us that the woman in question is a promoter, while lacking culture and education [she] seems to have a certain amount of personality. … I find that among the requirements for admission to the Aerial Nurse Corps is enrollment in the Red Cross Nursing Service. They also require the candidates to have had our courses in First Aid and Life Saving.

In spite of all this there has never been any informational material or any correspondence from Miss Schimmoler. The Army Nurse Corps has also been interested because the name which this organization has taken uses the initials of the Corps “A.N.C.” Also in dividing up the country into Aerial Corps territories they have used “Corps Areas” which is the Army term for the division of the states into Army Corps Areas. 3

On the surface, Butler espoused the official stand of the Army Nurse Corps and the ARC concerning the ANCOA but confidentially shared her own view with Badger that

we have all decided that at the present time we have no interest and certainly no “case” against this organization. Though confidentially I think we might have stepped into this breech and made an offer ahead of this woman to help the commercial planes in selecting well trained nurses for this service. 4

Butler then shared with Carter what she had learned during her visit to the National Headquarters of the ANA:

For your confidential information, I have seen a great deal of correspondence, especially from the Secretary of the California State Nurses’ Association which throws considerable light on the organizer of the [Aerial Nurse] Corps. She is not a nurse, is a great promoter with the ability to attract because of her personality but she is not a woman of either culture or education and it is a very great surprise to me that nurses with high standards of education and enrolled in the Red Cross Nursing Service would be willing to organize with a leader who is not one of their professional group.

After consultation with Mrs. Scott, I have decided to discuss with our Legal Advisor, Mr. Hughes, whether I would in any way be entangling the Red Cross if I were to write to the promoter of this organization, Miss Lauretta M. Schimmoler, expressing my surprise that she would not have communicated with the Director of the Red Cross Nursing Service before making through her literature the requirement that she had made enrollment in the Red Cross Nursing Service one of the requirements for membership in the Corps, and also the requirement that the applicant shall have had the Red Cross First Aid and Life Saving Course. I will make the letter, of course, as friendly as possible and ask for further information as we are interested. 5                

Butler then told Carter that she had spoken with Major Julia C. Flikke, Superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps, about the similarity of the Aerial Nurse Corps to the Army organization. Butler’s understanding was that Flikke had been advised by her commanding officer “that at the present time they should ignore the [ANCOA] organization and not raise the question of the confusion that may eventually ensue because of the use of Army terms”. 6

Writing to medical historian Hubert A. Coleman in March 1945 about the Aerial Nurse Corps of America, Schimmoler recalled that she had communicated with the ARC as early as 1932 in a letter to Clara Noyes, Director of the ARC Nursing Service to inquire

if I were to assemble a number of nurses for the purpose of giving them aeronautical training to equip them for air ambulance duties, if I would be contributing to the service of my country. I was informed that it was doubtful that nurses would ever fly, if so they would probably fly in government airplanes and would not require special training. 7

The wording of Schimmoler’s letter to and reply from Noyes, as Schimmoler later remembered it, resembles the wording of a letter and its reply that she recalled in a separate undated account of ANCOA written after 1944 in which she asked the Army Nursing Service: “’If I were to interest nurses and train them for air duty, would I be rendering my country a service?’ The reply stated in part, ‘I don’t think nurses will ever fly, and if they do, they will fly in government airplanes and won’t need any special training’.” 8  

Whether or not Schimmoler actually had corresponded with the ARC in the 1930s, the growing distress over the activities of Schimmoler and the ANCOA prompted Butler to discuss the matter with the Chairman of the ARC, Admiral Cary T. Grayson. At his request, Butler drafted a letter for his signature to the Surgeon General of the Army, Major General Charles R. Reynolds, stating that the Red Cross stood ready to organize an aerial corps of their nurses if the Surgeon General thought it would be a good plan toward preparedness. 9 Reynolds’s reply discouraged pursuing this option for the time being:

At the present time we look upon nursing in connection with Air Corps activities as a specialty only comparable with certain other features of surgical nursing and do not believe that a special corps of aerial nurses should be trained in the military service or in civil life, especially by an organization independent of the American Red Cross.

We recognize the fact that the airplane will be used as a transportation agency in time of war and it may be that especially in the secondary evacuation in the rear area or the theater of operations and in home territory there may be a need for specially trained nurses. However, this need will not exist, in my opinion, in the combat zone, or at least the employment of women nurses for front line evacuation will not be required. 10

He did recommend, however, that he and Grayson discuss the matter in more detail “first to provide adequately and reasonably to meet known conditions or those to be expected and, more particularly, to forestall activities on the part of unaffiliated auxiliaries in this country in the field which offers more romance than war has ever seen before”. 11

A few months later Schimmoler, who continued to seek Army recognition of the ANCOA, appealed to Major Flikke for support. In her letter Schimmoler included a four-page summary of the objectives and accomplishments of the ANCOA and ended her correspondence with the hope

that this statement of our work and objectives will be of interest to you and convince you that the work warrants your good will. Your suggestions and cooperation are invited, to assist the patriotic young women of this organization to better equip themselves to assist in furthering the interests of commercial aviation in time of peace, and providing for them a definite palce [sic] in the scheme of national defense in the event of a major national emergency. Your suggestions on this last phase of our work are particularly desirable. 12

Flikke’s reply to Schimmoler was not encouraging:

It is of course an undisputed fact that aerial travel is of very vital importance and will become increasingly more so in the future. From your letter and other information that has come to me unofficially during the past few months, it would seem that you have a very well planned organization and if the motive is to care for commercial and aerial transportation, your success is no doubt assured.

In the Army, however, we have a well organized corps of nurses and flying is not unknown to them. I venture to say that the majority of them have experienced the thrill of traveling by air, and when necessary to transport a patient from one section of the country to a hospital some distance away, a doctor and a nurse board a plane and accompany the patient. To us a nurse on a transport plane is like any nurse having a special assignment; such as being a surgical nurse, anesthetist, laboratory technician, etc. In times of peace very few calls are made for such assignments and if we should become involved in a conflict of some kind, any well trained nurse to whom air travel is not distasteful could be so assigned, so that at the present time at least there seems to be no factual justification for a group of nurses being segregated and called aerial nurses. Nor does it seem advisable to have two organizations with such similar nomenclature that confusion may result therefrom.

As you know, the reserve nurses for the Federal services have always been supplied by the American Red Cross – a practice which we hope will always obtain. Perfect harmony and co-operation exist between the Army, Navy and Red Cross, and efficient service has always been rendered. 13


Julia Flikke [US Govt Photo]

Again, military recognition of the ANCOA was not granted. Flikke made it clear that the similarity between Schimmoler’s organization and that of the Army was not appreciated. Furthermore, the letter reiterated that nurses supplied to the Army for any military need would come from the ARC First Reserve, not from the ANCOA. Flikke apparently had sent a copy of her letter to Schimmoler, as well as information about the ANCOA, to Butler of the ARC who replied, “After reading it, I am very skeptical about the soundness of the organization and I believe that you and I are following the safe course in not committing ourselves. Your letter in reply to Miss Schimmoler’s was very fine.” 14 

The rejection of her coveted goals only made Schimmoler more determined to succeed, as Mary Beard, who had succeeded Butler as Director of Nursing of the ARC, soon discovered. In a letter to Mr. Hughes, the legal advisor, Beard expressed her concern that the ANCOA organization’s activities

have been growing more and more aggressive. Miss Schimmoler, who is not a nurse, is being almost Deified as the great founder of this organization. The disconcerting thing is that she is using the Red Cross to advertise her project, using it in little “un-get-at-able” ways such as a notice of a meeting, when on the first line appears “Red Cross Nurses” and then in smaller print “are interested in ***.”

Rather recently we have heard of active efforts to organize in New York where an enrolled Red Cross nurse is helping to promote it. Miss Schimmoler is trying to get a large group within her Aerial Nurse Corps of America to enroll in the Red Cross first reserve. This, of course, is a laudable idea but not when it promotes a nurse reserve outside the Red Cross and which is growing so fast. You remember we consulted both the Army and Navy to know whether they wanted the Red Cross to go in for this sort of a reserve for them and they said no. Would you be willing to talk with me about it again? 15

Beard must have heard directly from Schimmoler shortly thereafter, because a memo from Beard to Hughes dated a month later expressed the double bind in which Beard found herself regarding manipulative tactics employed by the ANCOA leader:

Miss Schimmoler seems determined to “draw” us in regard to this aerial service.

1. If we reply to this letter approving of what these nurses are doing, she will undoubtedly give publicity to this approval.

2. If we do not approve it, she will publish this disapproval and I do not like either position.

      I shall be very grateful for your help. 16

Shortly thereafter, Virginia Dunbar,Beard’s assistant at ARC Headquarters, compiled a summary of statements made about the ANCOA in literature and letters, which she sent to her boss, shedding additional light on Schimmoler’s public relations efforts on behalf of her organization. Dunbar’s cover letter revealed her own opinion on the matter:

As I read all of the material of the Aerial Nurse Corps of America (Newspaper clippings, letters, printed bulletins, etc.) I was impressed with the number of references to the Red Cross. Some of the notices were very short so that a reference to the Red Cross stood out. I felt that the statements were decidedly misleading as they certainly inferred a connection with the Red Cross (and the Army). 17

Armed with the latest information on ANCOA, Beard wrote Schimmoler, stressing the separateness of the two organizations and the role of the Red Cross alone to provide nurses for the military, even for aviation duty:

You were kind enough also to give us assurances of the desire of your group to cooperate fully with our society. There is, we believe, a practical method in which this cooperation may be made effective, namely by exercising constant care to have the public fully appreciate the special and separate fields in which both of our organizations are engaged. As you know, we maintain a reserve of nurses who may be needed for duty with the United States Army and Navy. If and when there be need by these branches of the Government for nurses especially trained in aviation matters, the Red Cross will proceed promptly to meet this need.

In the meantime, it would be unfortunate if those directly connected with nursing and the public in general did not clearly understand the respective services which both of our organizations are fostering. 18

To be continued


1          Ida F. Butler, letter to Mrs. Maynard L. Carter, 30 Aug 1937.
2          Ida F. Butler, letter to Gladyce L.Badger, 3 Sep 1937.
3          Ibid.
4          Ibid.
5          Ida F. Butler, letter to Mrs. Maynard Carter, 17 Sep 1937.
6          Ibid.
7          Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to H.A. Coleman, 22 Mar 1945.
8          Lauretta M. Schimmoler, “The Story of How It All Began: ‘And They Said It Wouldn’t Be Done’,” unpublished manuscript, n.d., 4. [Bucyrus, OH Historical Society]
9         Cary T. Grayson, letter to Charles R. Reynolds, 25 Oct 1937.
10       Charles R. Reynolds, letter to Cary T. Grayson, 29 Oct 1937.
11       Ibid.
12       Lauretta M. Schimmoler, letter to Julia O. Flikke, 23 Apr 1938.
13       Julia O. Flikke, letter to Lauretta M. Schimmoler, 29 Apr 1938.
14       Ida F. Butler, letter to Julia O. Flikke, 28 May 1938.
15       Mary Beard, letter to Mr. Hughes, 31 Mar 1939.
16       Mary Beard, letter to Mr. Hughes, 1 May 1939.
17       Virginia M. Dunbar, letter to Mary Beard, 1 Jun 1939.
18       Mary Beard, letter to Lauretta M. Schimmoler, 7 Jul 1939.