Music in The Girl’s Own Paper – 18 Jun 2017

Musical Nurses

Although not a music journal, The Girl’s Own Paper (TGOP), published in London by the Religious Tract Society beginning on 3 January 1880, clearly considered music a worthy topic, which readers encountered in music scores, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, illustrations and replies to musical correspondents. Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880 – 1910, lists the many musical references found in the magazine, some of which are linked to nursing.

At the end of 1889, A Templar’s commentary in Volume 11 of TGOP on ‘The Girls of To-day’ introduced the magazine’s readers to the modern woman and modern girl, forerunners of the New Woman whose birth was discussed so widely in the periodical press during the 1890s. The author rejoiced that a thorough education, broader interests, sounder judgments and more lively outdoor exercise and recreation set today’s young women apart from their predecessors.

The debates about women who sought higher education raised the troubling issue of their marital status. Much was made of female graduates’ desire not to marry because the domesticity and household management it entailed would inconvenience their intellectual pursuits. A parallel discourse in the press centred on those spinsters in need of gainful employment often requiring prerequisite education or specialised training to prepare them for the world of work.

While not a focus of TGOP, the spinster nevertheless was encountered in nonfiction and fiction about the most popular employment opportunity among the magazine’s readers – professional nursing. In its first two decades of publication, TGOP included occasional articles about employments for girls, such as millinery, pharmacy and sanitation and hygiene. Judging by the number of replies in the Answers to Correspondents columns during the 1890s, civil service employment was on the minds of many readers, particularly clerkships in the post office. If replies in the Answers to Correspondents columns offer a representative sampling of the employment that TGOP readers most desired, however, visions of becoming a nurse topped the list.

Professional nursing had entered the public’s consciousness in 1854 when Florence Nightingale took 38 female volunteer nurses from England to Turkey to provide care to ill and injured soldiers in the Crimean War. Highly publicised in the British press for her successful venture, Nightingale opened a school of nursing at Saint Thomas Hospital in London in 1860. Nursing did not attract many recruits, however until the 1890s, but its popularity already had been reflected in the pages of TGOP. 1

‘Nursing has become one of the fashionable crazes of the day,’ wrote Amy S. Woods in ‘Modern Girls’, printed in 1893, ‘and almost every girl seems to imagine she is a born nurse. As a refuge for discontented and dissatisfied women, the hospitals and training institutions seem to have taken the place of the sisterhoods, possibly because no vows are enforced on these who enter them, and masculine society is not prohibited.’ She continued:

Because a nineteenth century maiden can bind up a cut finger and does not faint at the sight of a severed artery, she imagines she is cut out for a hospital nurse, and fondly pictures herself as a sort of ministering angel, who, wearing a most becoming uniform, smoothes the pillows and watches by the bedside of interesting patients, or performs miracles of Herculean strength in lifting and supporting burly costermongers and colliers, and is the wonder and admiration of doctors, nurses, and patients. Fortunately, if she carries out her intentions and enters a hospital, she is speedily awakened to a sense of her folly and incapacity by the hard work she has to do, and the scant consideration with which her inexperience is treated, and in many cases she gladly resigns her post and returns to the home she has learned to appreciate. [Volume 14, p, 500]

As Woods hinted, the reality of nursing was in stark contrast to its idealized image. A minimum age of 23 for probationers assured that nursing candidates would have maturity and some education. A literacy test and lengthy application, recommendations regarding maturity and character from two or three ladies and a minister and an interview with the matron weeded out unsuitable young women. 2 Successful applicants entered a two-tier system of training: regular probationers, mostly from the lower middle class, were paid a stipend with uniforms and board for a three-year course of training, while lady probationers from the upper classes paid for the privilege of a year of training. Despite their shorter course, these latter probationers were placed on the fast track to become the ward sisters and matrons. With gentlewomen assuming command, the profession would be recognized as respectable, thus attracting applicants from the sheltered upper-middle and upper classes. 3

In its first decades, nursing was organized along military lines in a battle on two fronts – one to create a respectable professional occupation for women of impeccable moral standards and one to wage war against illness and filth. As the ranks filled with gentlewomen, nursing shifted from the military metaphor to a maternal one. 4 The image captured the hearts of the Victorian public who ‘adored womanly self-sacrifice’ and imagined nurses as their surrogates. As Martha Vicinus explains, ‘In an age that was widely condemned for its materialistic and self-seeking character, women – and especially nurses – carried the burden of morality for others. Nurses were as close to saints as a Protestant country could have.’ 5 But nursing was not for the faint hearted or physically frail. All probationers were plunged into a grueling 15-hour hospital day ordered by a regimen ‘clearly intended to weed out all but the most determined’. 6

Despite the potential drawbacks to the work, the most determined TGOP readers, many of whom no doubt saw themselves as self-sacrificing saints, deluged the editor with their questions about nursing. Replies to such questions could be found on a regular basis in the Answers to Correspondents columns beginning in the magazine’s first volume when ANNIE was given information about lady probationers, Saint Thomas Hospital and Westminster Training School for nurses. [Volume 1] Most correspondents were told that they were too young to enter training as probationers. The editor soon tired of repeating himself. ‘We give answers to such questions as yours nearly every week,’ he told NETTA in 1886. [Volume 7, p. 703] Three years later, an exasperated editor told NURSEY, ‘We have given every information to our girls on the subject of nurses, but multitudes never read our answers under the above [Employment] heading.’ [Volume 11, p. 79] By the end of the magazine’s first decade, the editor told MAUDE P., MARY HOPE, CLYTIE, CARDEW and others that the nursing profession and training hospitals were ‘now much over-stocked’. [Volume 11, pp. 256, 688] With a waiting list of applicants desiring such work, it was ‘almost useless our recommending a hospital now’. [Volume 11, p. 256]

As the letters poured in to TGOP requesting information about nursing, so did the number of applicants for nurses training. ‘Some of the great hospitals have as many as two thousand applications in the year,’ the editor told MAY and M.E.H. in 1897; he noted one thousand applications refused yearly at Westminster Hospital alone in 1893. [Volume 18, p. 239, Volume 14] Rather than repeat the details in replies to letters arriving on almost a weekly basis, he began referring readers to the book How to Become a Nurse by nursing and child-care reformer Honnor Morten. As the editor told TOYDONIA in 1894, he was ‘a little less than “amused” at the never-ending questions on the subject of “Training as Nurses,” to which we as often give replies, and we mentally exclaim, as you do, “if they would only take the trouble to read” what we have said – “but perhaps they won’t”’. [Volume 16, p. 480]

TGOP readers were not to be deterred from their cherished goal. The letters from correspondents interested in nursing increased during the magazine’s second decade. Some hopefuls were told to work first on their spelling. NELL GLEN had made 12 mistakes in only a few lines written to the editor in 1886; [Volume 7] ONE IN EARNEST, MARY F., ANXIOUS TO SERVE ARIGHT and J.T. were given the same advice in 1892. [Volume 13] A worried MIGNON was told she ‘need not fear that she will be made to open her mouth and show her teeth in offering herself as a hospital nurse. Not being exactly treated and examined by horse-dealers, her few false teeth will preserve their strict incognito.‘ [Volume 13, p. 176]

In a more serious vein, two correspondents were advised to do some soul-searching before they pursued hospital nursing as a vocation, for their motives were questionable. Twenty-eight-year-old ROSE BUD, who longed ‘for something more exciting than cooking’ was told: ‘Such a vocation [as nursing] should be adopted with a willingness to deny yourself in all and every way for the love of God and man – not for the self-gratification to be found in such painfully exciting sights.’ [Volume 13, p. 287] EMBRYO, who thought hospital nursing would be more fun and exciting than nursing her delicate mother at home, was upbraided for being ‘almost too selfish for us to believe it is meant in earnest. We have unfortunately, however, met your counterpart in real life.’ Duty bound EMBRYO to her mother’s side, as did the Fifth Commandment, the editor admonished the correspondent. [Volume 18, p. 559] EMBRYO’s letter brought to his mind the 1889 Punch cartoon ‘Charity That Beginneth Not Where It Should’ that pictures a young woman saying: ‘Well, you see, it’s so dull at home, Uncle. I’ve no Brothers or Sisters – and Papa’s paralysed – and Mamma’s going blind – so I want to be a Hospital Nurse.’ 7

Much had appeared in TGOP about nursing and its training, beginning in the first volume, and, as the editor told UNCONTROLLABLE D. in 1890, readers would be wise to ‘read up the subject’ in the magazine. [Volume 12, p. 416] The next year, Caulfeild, who included professional nursing among the ‘New Employments for Girls’ considered it ‘trite’ to say much, since the subject had been exhaustively discussed – much of it by Caulfeild herself. [Volume 13, p. 362]

Nursing was also the subject of serialized fiction and a competition in TGOP. Fiction presented readers with two themes – the work of nursing and the motives behind it. ‘In Warwick Ward: A Story of Routine’, ‘In Monmouth Ward: A Story of Night-Duty’ and ‘”Sister Warwick”: A Story of Influence’, all by H. Mary Wilson, and ‘The Wards of St. Margaret’s’ by Sister Joan, describe hospital nurses at work and off duty. [Volume 14, Volume 18, Volume 20, Volume 15] Another theme focuses on why young women choose nursing. In ‘Marsh Marigolds’ by Ada Trotter, Miriam’s selfish reasons for becoming a nurse contrast sharply with the selflessness of Ruth who takes over her father’s farming duties when his eyesight fails him, and Ritchie, her younger sister who takes over her father’s organist duties. ‘I see with real pain that you are worshipping a wrong ideal of duty,’ Ruth tells Miriam in confidence during a visit. As a nursing student, Miriam thought only of the many patients whom her services would benefit rather than of her invalid aunt at home who needed her. [Volume 16, p. 327] The episode reinforces the belief that young women should look for their duty close to home. Writing of the current ‘crazes’ of women in 1891 to be masculine in appearance, poets and nurses or missionaries, Caulfeild’s advice to aspiring missionaries had relevance to aspiring nurses as well: ‘Be faithful with your conscience, and beware of “running where you are not sent,” and seeking new work, and new temptations and difficulties, in the place of God-given duties that you may propose to leave behind.’ [Volume 12, p. 245]

A nurse topped the list in a competition in Volume 18. Agnes Eugenie Smith of the Nursing Institute in Sunderland described her work in an essay that won first prize in a TGOP Competition for Professional Girls; two other nurses in Wakefield and in Guildford received honourable mention.

‘It is no play – far from it! downright hard and earnest work,’ Smith wrote.

There are those (a shame that it is so!) who dabble in the work, but these never stay long at it, and perhaps best so for all parties concerned, so we will pass quickly over them, and if you want to be a nurse, do make up your minds to give up the worship of such gods as “Pleasure” and “Self” and let your high ideal henceforth be – “I was sick and ye visited Me.” [Volume 18, p. 412]

She described the routine of her 12-hour days during her hospital training and the importance of spending her two-hour breaks on alternate afternoons, tired though she was, on her bicycle or at the piano or in a chat over tea rather than in bed. On obtaining her nursing certificate, she became a private duty nurse, a choice made perhaps because of the better pay and longer working life. 8

Nursing, both amateur and professional, continued to capture the attention of TGOP and its correspondents in the first decade of the twentieth century, but correspondents were particularly interested in asylum nursing. Why asylum nursing? Strides had been made in the last half of the nineteenth century to replace containment and coercion of patients in asylums with care and cure instead. A reform was underway to recognize mental illness as a disease and to make care for those patients more like that given in general hospitals rather than the less than commendable care associated with Britain’s treatment of the insane. Just as the introduction of trained nurses into general hospitals in the previous century had brought a more humane approach to the care of medical patients, likewise the introduction of trained nurses into asylums could, it was hoped, do the same for the care of mental patients.

When in 1901 ANXIOUS wrote TGOP asking ‘Is there any demand for asylum nurses? How could I find out where they are wanted?’, the correspondent’s question and the magazine’s reply were printed in a Question and Answer column. The demand for asylum nurses was considerable, ANXIOUS was told, but training in a good asylum that offered certification by the Medico-Psychological Association was important. Annual salary as an asylum nurse would amount only to £20 to £25, but the field offered good employment opportunities. [Volume 22, p. 715] In a follow-on Questions and Answers column, TGOP reassured A LOVER OF USEFUL WORK, who asked if asylum nursing, like so many other occupations, was overstocked, that vacancies did exist in that line of work. [Volume 23]

Perhaps to set the record straight on training and work opportunities in asylum nursing, in 1903 Anna contributed ‘An Occupation for Girls That Is Remunerative, Interesting, and Not Over-Crowded’. Healthy women aged 18 to 30 and at least five foot three inches tall with a fair education, an aptitude for nursing, and ‘some knowledge of music and singing’, should consider working in an asylum, she said. The author appealed especially to those Christian women with a missionary spirit to ‘Take up this work, my sisters!’ to prevent unnecessary suffering. ‘When discouraged, think of Him Who cured the sick in mind as well as the sick in body, and pray that His coming be not long delayed.’ [Volume 25, p. 243]

Anna explained the curious musical prerequisites in ‘The Duties of an Asylum Nurse’ that appeared later in the same volume. The asylum chaplains who directed the choirs for worship services were glad to have nurses with good voices as choir members. In addition, each ward had a piano, and the patients appreciated musical nurses. But the accomplishment was not a necessity, Anna explained – perhaps to the relief of nonmusical readers – since some patients were professional musicians who sang and played exceptionally well. [Volume 25]

Judging by replies in the Answers to Correspondents column, readers took Anna’s suggestion to heart. MABEL, A READER OF THE ‘G.O.P.’, M.C. and ROTHA all asked about asylum nursing. [Volume 23, Volume 24, Volume 25] A.K.’s inquiry about the ‘best way of getting into a private mental asylum, and at what age, with no experience’ left the editor confused. Did the correspondent mean as a patient, as a nurse, as a maid or as a pupil? His advice to apply to the Medico-Psychological Association and to consult her family physician covered all possibilities. [Volume 23, p. 80]

Perhaps A.K. stood a better chance of getting into a private mental asylum as a musician.



1          Martha Vicinus, Independent Women: Work and Community for Single Women 1850–1920 (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 96.
2          Vicinus103–104.
3          Vicinus, 97.
4          Vicinus, 87–88, 101.
5          Vicinus , 112.
6          Vicinus, 91.
7          Punch, 7 December 1889, 267.
8          Vicinus, 118.




Music in The Girl’s Own Paper – 4 Jun 2017

Oh How They Loved to Sing!

Although not a music journal, The Girl’s Own Paper (TGOP), published in London by the Religious Tract Society beginning on 3 January 1880, clearly considered music a worthy topic, which readers encountered in music scores, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, illustrations and replies to musical correspondents. Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880 – 1910, lists the many musical references found in the magazine.

One of the most frequently asked questions about music found in the Answers to Correspondents column apparently was the age at which a girl could begin voice lessons. During the magazine’s first year, correspondents Tot and Tiny were told, ‘The earliest age at which it would be safe for a girl to commence singing lessons is from fifteen to sixteen. You may sing if you like to amuse yourself, but that is quite a different thing from being trained.’ [Volume 1, p. 208] * Rachel was ‘certainly too young to learn “solo singing” at age thirteen’ and was told, ‘Wait till sixteen, or you will ruin your voice. Sing for amusement if you like – not as a lesson, with suitable training.’ [Volume 1, p. 352] At fourteen, Genevra also was too young – ‘sixteen is the earliest age for making a beginning’. [Volume 1, p. 623]

Beginning with the first article about singing found in TGOP, ‘Home Accomplishments I. How to Sing a Song’ by Madame Mudie-Bolingbroke, an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, readers with ‘a pleasing voice and correct ear’ were encouraged to cultivate their voices. [Volume 1, p. 54] The wisdom of Robert Schumann, included in a Varieties column, reinforced this message:

SINGING.Try to sing at sight, without the help of an instrument, even if you have but little voice; your ear will thereby gain in fineness. But, if you possess a powerful voice, do not lose a moment, but cultivate it immediately, and look upon it as one of the best gifts Heaven has bestowed upon you. Schumann. [Volume 1, p. 143]

In a follow-on article, ‘How to Improve the Voice’, the popular soprano soloist Miss Mary Davies stressed management of the breath, with the aid of a good master and a good instruction book, and choosing exercises within the compass of the voice, not too high, not too low. In closing Davies identified the three necessary qualities of patience, perseverance and enthusiasm for anyone wishing to learn to sing. [Volume 1]

TGOP offered vocal sheet music in most of its weekly issues. The first, ‘Under the Snow’, is a two-page vocal solo with piano accompaniment composed by John Farmer, organist and Music Master to Harrow School, to words by nineteenth-century American poet Hannah F. Gould. The text encourages patience, like the crocus under the snow, in today’s gloomiest hour, for tomorrow will be brighter. [Volume 1, pp. 70–71] The piece gives an idea of the level of musical proficiency readers were expected to possess. Moving between minor and major modes, the piece with its 3/4 time signature has a simple waltz accompaniment that ends in the major mode. The even simpler vocal line beginning on the D above middle C peaks on F sharp a tenth above.     

‘Under the Snow’, composed by John Farmer to text by Hannah Gould. The Girl’s Own Paper, Volume 1, pp. 70 – 71. [Lutterworth Press]

Amateur singing came with its own rules of etiquette. A vocalist should never refuse to sing if asked during a musical entertainment in someone’s home. As the editor told correspondent Alta in Volume 1:

It is wrong to persistently refuse to sing if you have a voice. Nothing is so thoroughly wretched to a stranger as to meet a girl at a musical party who refuses to exert herself to take part in the entertainment. It is conceited to be nervous. Nobody wants to hear you. It is the music of the composer and the words of the song that they wish you to expound to them. Try to do this intelligently, and all your mind will be so occupied that you will forget yourself. [p. 623]

Correspondent Zena Rosckma was told in the same volume that the hostess or daughter of the house always should sing first before asking her guests to do so. [Volume 1] And listeners should not interrupt the singing with conversation – an expected courtesy reinforced in the magazine’s nonfiction and fiction.

The care of the voice was an ongoing concern to correspondents apparently requesting remedies to improve their throats for singing. The advice given to correspondent Ruby, who ‘is going to sing for the first time publicly, and wants to have a clear voice’, is representative of those remedies:

Let her take a tonic for a fortnight before: ten drops of tincture of iron, and a teaspoonful of tincture of oranges three times a day in a little water for a fortnight or three weeks previous to appearing, and suck about five grains or more of solid chorate of potash an hour or two before singing. [Volume 1]

Vocal health was a concern as well to the magazine’s contributing physician ‘Medicus’, who offers relevant advice in ‘The Care of the Voice’ in Volume 1. Admitting that he has nothing to do with voice training, but only with the singer’s health, ‘which ought to be kept up to par with learning to sing or taking lessons’, the author gives sensible advice: do not strain the voice or try to sing too high or too low, and do not sacrifice sweetness and expression for loudness of tone. ‘I love a song with a soul behind it’, the straight-talking physician says, ‘but when I’m compelled to listen to one who screams I wonder to myself what wrong I’ve committed to deserve so great an infliction. Well, then exercise of the voice ought always to be in moderation.’ [Volume 1, p. 454]

TGOP fiction contrasted proper with improper use of the voice from a moral as well as vocal standpoint, beginning with the 40-chapter serialized fiction ‘Zara; or, My Granddaughter’s Money’ that opened the magazine’s first issue. When Paul Tench finds Zara Meldicot Keith to give her the money left by her now deceased grandmother at his family’s lodging house long ago, Zara is a milliner’s assistant by day and a music-hall singer by night. In an effort to dissuade her from a singing career, Paul asks Zara whether she has ever considered ‘what immense application, what careful study, what years of education, of practice, of travel, it requires to make a really brilliant “artist”’. She replies naively, ‘I should think a good voice with very little teaching would do.’ [Volume 1, p. 210] Significantly, the fortune is handed over to Zara only after she has left the music hall and married a responsible man. Rose Everleigh’s story in Anne Beale’s ‘Quite a Lady’ contrasts with Zara’s. When her mother dies, Rose relies on her vocal talent for much needed income. She finds her one paid engagement as a concert singer so distasteful, though, that she vows to starve rather than reappear on stage. But Rose did not starve, for she, too, was ‘rescued’ financially by marriage. [Volume 1]

The stage was set, literally and figuratively, for messages that the magazine conveyed to its readers about the role of music in their lives. In ‘Higher Thoughts on Girls’ Occupations’ in Volume 4, Alice King’s voice was the first of many in TGOP’s ongoing crusade against the nuisance some would-be musicians were to others. Girls with musical aspirations fall into two categories – the bullfinches and the parrots – King wrote. The first group, who show evidence of talent at an early age, should be nourished in their musical studies. The second group should be encouraged to spend their time in other, nonmusical pursuits. Fiction reinforced the message. In ‘Three Years of a Girl’s Life’, serialized in 17 chapters in Volume 1, Clara Henderson’s singing voice is like a peacock’s pitched an octave too high; her sister Alice’s contralto is reminiscent of a bird with a cough.

Picking up on the tone of such fiction, the Varieties column treated vocalists to an abundance of lighthearted banter such as ‘How She Sang’ in Volume 18:

Edith: ‘You can’t imagine how Mr. Bullfinch appreciated your singing.’
Ethel: ‘Did he, though?’
Edith: ‘Yes; he said it was simply heavenly.’
Ethel: ‘Really?’
Edith: ‘Well, just the same thing; he said it was simply unearthly.’ [p. 710]

For the uncommonly talented, King considered music a legitimate calling when approached earnestly and soberly, ‘keeping firm hold of the Almighty hand’, and wearing ‘the whole armour of Christ’. [Volume 4, p. 823] A good voice was considered a gift from God to be used to glorify him. Fictional heroines who choose public singing careers often lose their grip or their armour and find themselves headed down a slippery slope to ruin until a life-changing event redirects their path. For 17-year-old Marietta Stefani in a small Tuscan village, the opportunity to study singing in Florence offers a means to reverse her struggling family’s financial setback. But despite warnings, Marietta lets her head be turned by her new life. Realising her folly, Marietta stops singing in public but shares her gift of song with family, friends and charities, and thanks God that she turned back from the perilous road on which she had started. [Volume 7]

In Eglanton Thorne’s ‘Her Own Way’, serialized in 28 chapters in Volume 16, Juliet Tracy wants to be a public singer, for its splendid life standing before an audience with every eye on her, ‘listening spell-bound to her voice’. [p.146] When permitted to take singing lessons from an Italian master, Juliet reads into his words only what she wants to hear rather than the truth, letting vanity fuel a dream that her vocal progress does not support. A number of mishaps highlighting the dangers of selfish actions and vocal study abroad leave Juliet penniless and thankful for the home to which she returns, where she puts her gift to good account, singing in her parish choir. ‘We cannot take our own way and God’s way, too,’ the author moralizes. [p. 227] Myles Foster had voiced a similar message in ‘Singing in Church’ in Volume 5: readers who pay for expensive singing lessons to master ballads during the week should give equal, careful and prayerful attention to singing church hymns in congregation and choir stalls on Sundays.

The magazine made a clear distinction between those girls who pursued music as a pastime and those who pursued it as a profession, and most heroines who took the latter route eventually left it for the more enduring fame of marriage and motherhood. Eighteen-year-old Odette Gerard, in ‘Odette: Soprano: A Story Taken from Real Life’, serialized in 42 chapters in Volume 27, travels to Florence to study voice on a meagre £50. When at the end of two years her money has run out and she learns it will take two more years of training to make a credible debut, the discouraged singer marries a British physician who has been hovering in the background and returns to England to take up ‘that other song, the song of love and home’. [p. 451] Odette’s story illustrates the premise of Madame Melba’s article ‘Why So Many Students Fail in the Musical Profession’ printed in Volume 30 of TGOP. The well-known vocalist offers practical advice concerning young women who flock to the Continent, lured by the glamour of a professional singing career, but who lack the true talent and adequate finances to sustain their vocal study.

And, lest readers forget that one should sing only for selfless purposes, the message often was reinforced in the magazine’s fiction. In Sarah Doudney’s ‘The Angel’s Gift’ in Volume 22, only John Rayne, one of a trio of young men with the ‘angel’s gift’ of song, uses his talent wisely when he becomes a cathedral chorister; the other two seek fame and fortune and eventually lose their voices. John’s sister Avice, who accompanies the singers on the organ, reminds them gently ‘that a divine gift should be used only for divine ends.’ [p. 146]

As Mudie-Bolingbroke wrote in Volume 1, the natural voice, unlike artificial instruments, has the power to appeal to the heart; the singer was encouraged to sing from her own heart to touch the hearts of her listeners. The author’s conclusion from Longfellow set the tone for the magazine’s continued approach to this popular accomplishment: ‘God sends His singers upon earth / With songs of sadness and of mirth, / That they may touch the hearts of men, / And bring them back to Heaven again.’ [p. 56]

* Complete citations may be found in Judith Barger, Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880 – 1910 (London and New York: Routledge, 2017).

Music in The Girl’s Own Paper – 6 May 17

Instruments and Instrumentalists
in The Girl’s Own Paper

Part Two: The Organ

Although not a music journal, The Girl’s Own Paper (TGOP), published in London by the Religious Tract Society beginning on 3 January 1880, clearly considered music a worthy topic, which readers encountered in music scores, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, illustrations and replies to musical correspondents. Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880 – 1910, lists the many musical references found in the magazine.

During TGOP’s first decade, ‘how to’ primers on playing musical instruments appeared, from singing a song in Volume 1 to playing the zither in Volume 10. Piano, violin, organ, harmonium, harp, guitar, concertina, mandolin, banjo and xylophone rounded out the list. Of all the primers, only those for singing, pianoforte and violin appeared more than once, suggesting that these were the preferred forms of music making to which TGOP readers should – and did – aspire. Unlike banjo playing, the focus of the previous blog, organ playing was encouraged because of its usefulness in houses of worship.

John Stainer, organist of Saint Paul’s Cathedral and organ professor at the National Training School for Music, set the tone for making music on that instrument when he told readers of TGOP in ‘How to Play the Organ’, simply to ‘do it’. [Volume 1, p. 328] * His technical approach to instruction may have been off-putting to some readers, however. After guiding them through the perils of reaching an organ in an imaginary church loft, he introduces them to ‘four rows of keys, one over the other, a row of foot-keys or pedals below them, sundry little iron levers, called composition pedals, and fifty stops, twenty-five on each side’. [pp. 328–29] He then explains the meaning behind the names and numbers on these stop-handles regarding compass, pitch and tone. Only after becoming acquainted with the stops and manuals is the imaginary organist permitted to take a seat on the bench and begin trying the organ.

Readers wanting a less complicated instrument to play may have been discouraged by King Hall’s ‘How to Play the Harmonium’, which followed in the same annual volume of the magazine. ‘I dare say you, my kind reader, will be able to recall without much difficulty the disappointment, and perhaps disgust, with which you have risen from the harmonium after attempting to perform some simple piece of music for the first time,’ the author writes. [Volume 1, p. 472] Hall admits that this reaction is normal, for the harmonium is not an easy instrument to learn and may initially seem refractory and arbitrary; even the organ, with its complicated construction, is more straightforward in its challenges, he contends. He then draws on organ construction to explain construction of the harmonium and its stops, pitches and tones. But the author ends with a reassuring ‘Do not be disheartened, dear reader, a little perseverance is all that is necessary to enable you to overcome the difficulties which perhaps at first appear almost insurmountable.’ [p. 473]

TGOP already had organists among its readers, some of whom played the harmonium, before Stainer’s and Hall’s primers appeared in the magazine. Poppy, A Village Organist and Mary all had inquired about the organ and received replies in the correspondence columns; replies to M.A.B., Marian and Sweet Seventeen followed in the magazine’s first year. [Volume 1]

Most correspondents apparently asked sensible questions to which the magazine’s editor responded in like manner. Correspondent Marigold, however, must have been an exception. The editor, who was known on occasion to have a bit of fun at the correspondent’s expense, wrote: ‘MARIGOLD wishes to know “if a boy of twenty can learn to play an American organ?” Why not? What is the matter with this somewhat “elderly” boy? Has he lost all his teeth, or his hair? What prevents his learning to perform on either the hurdy-gurdy or the French horn, unless the tips of his fingers were frost-bitten? Foolish Marigold, those chilblains of yours must have affected your head.’ [Volume 6, p. 655]

Correspondent Scotia’s request could not be granted. ‘We cannot give you lessons in playing the harmonium,’ the editor wrote; he referred her to Hall’s article in Volume 1. [Volume 8] Correspondents Judie, Norah and Birdie were referred to the London Organ School and International College of Music for lessons; A Quaver was given information about the Royal College of Organists. [Volumes 5, 15, 16, 22]

That TGOP expected to have organists among its readers is evident from the help the magazine offered them in choosing repertoire for the instrument. Beginning in Volume 9 through Volume 19, TGOP included what it considered suitable pieces for American organ or harmonium among its printed music scores, listed below.

Volume 9
Rêverie (J.W. Hinton) (harmonium or American organ)

Volume 12
Allegretto Giojoso (Myles B. Foster) (pianoforte or American organ)
Andante Pastorale (Myles B. Foster) (pianoforte or American organ)

Volume 13
Crusaders’ March (Myles B. Foster) (harmonium or American organ)
Elegy (Myles B. Foster) (harmonium or American organ)
Meditation (Myles B. Foster) (harmonium or American organ)

Volume 14
Supplication (Myles B. Foster) (harmonium or American organ)

Volume 17
Postlude (Myles B. Foster) (pianoforte or American organ)

Volume 19
Adagio ma non Troppo (Myles B. Foster) (pianoforte or American organ)
Allegro con Moto Agitato (Myles B. Foster) (pianoforte or American organ)
Chorale (Myles B. Foster) (pianoforte or American organ)

The magazine’s Notices of New Music column, which appeared under slight title variations, included short reviews of organ music that its readers might try out; a young woman ‘At the Organ’, shown below, illustrates a Volume 9 column.

‘Notices of New Music’, The Girl’s Own Paper, Volume 9, page 177.
(Lutterworth Press)

Some of the magazine’s fictional heroines played the organ, beginning with May Goldworthy in Ann Beale’s ‘The Queen o’ the May’, serialized in 27 chapters in Volume 2. At age six, motherless Madeline (May) Goldworthy is sent from London to live with her great-grandparents in the coal-mining district of Wales. Musical from an early age, May later takes organ lessons, sings in a choral competition at the Crystal Palace and uses her musical talent to help support her family. In ‘May Goldworthy’, the four-chapter sequel to the story in Volume 3, the heroine, who has become a professional concert singer in London, returns to her Welsh village as new bride and wife of cousin Meredith and resumes her role among family and friends, which includes singing and playing harmonium for the benefit of others.

Correspondent Iresene’s gracious letter to the editor in Volume 2 likely inquiring about transferring her keyboard skills from harmonium to organ, introduced a misconception that was promulgated in music journals contemporary with TGOP – that organ playing could be injurious to a female player’s health. The editor warned: ‘We think that if you play the harmonium you would soon learn the organ stops; but the playing with the pedals requires a good deal of practice and is trying to the back. To many women it would be very injurious.’ [p. 160] Correspondents Cecil Burn and Mildred Daisy, Rob Roy and Lady Organist were given similar replies. The activity looked strenuous, but the magazine’s answer must not have satisfied its readers, who continued to ask the same question. In Volume 17 on a page of ‘Replies to Often-asked Questions’, the magazine’s answer to ‘Is Organ-playing bad for Girls?’ reflected a change for the better in its thinking on the matter: ‘Organ playing is not injurious to either sex, indeed it is a healthy though fatiguing occupation. It exercises the muscles of the hands and renders them delicate and precise. The movements of the legs in working the pedals are natural ones, being almost identical to those of walking.’ [p. 512]

TGOP worked organ playing into its articles on self-improvement. ‘Just Out’ printed in the magazine’s first year of publication encourages musical girls to practice piano diligently once they have left school, for some day they might ‘be required to play the organ in church, the harmonium at meetings, to accompany friends in part or solo singing, and at all times you will be able to give a great deal of pleasure to those around you who are fond of music’. [Volume 2, p. 775] J.P. Mears’ ‘How to Improve One’s Education’, which appeared about a year later, gives recommendations for practising on piano and on harmonium. [Volume 2]

In 1891, correspondent Annie Findburgh asked the editor of TGOP what was the ‘usual amount of salary for an organist’. She was told that salary, which could range from £20 upwards, was based not on the amount of work done, but rather on the wealth and generosity of a congregation or parish, and in answer to what must have been another question, was told, ‘We never heard of a home being supplied.’ The editor continued: ‘You have formed very grand ideas about the worth of such an appointment.’ [Volume 13, p. 16]

‘Pimpernel’, an organist from Plumstead, won third prize in ‘Our Competition for Professional Girls’ sponsored by TGOP in 1897. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, ‘Pimpernel’ trained as a singer but could not get enough engagements, so she teaches music and plays the organ for church instead. Her essay is found in Volume 18.

‘Pimpernel’ was paid for her services, but many of her sisters on the organ bench were not. In ‘The Amateur Church Organist’, The Hon. Victoria Grosvenor urges readers with musical talent and leisure to qualify themselves as amateur organists for churches in agricultural and suburban parishes unable to pay a professional organist. [Volume 8] Ruth Lamb’s fictional ‘Only a Girl-Wife’, serialized in 25 chapters in Volume 7, had remarked on this type of ministry. After-dinner music at the Crawford’s house contrasts two types of singers. Grace Steyne, the rector’s daughter, is far behind the ‘girl-wife’ hostess Ida in brilliancy and style but has a fine voice that she uses ‘with true musical taste’, not attempting anything beyond her ability. Grace’s music making is a labour of love – she plays the organ at church and trains the village choir, ‘not a very easy task when scarcely any of the members knew their notes so as to read the music’. [p. 366]

Correspondent Isa, who wrote to the editor in 1884, exemplified the selfless service that TGOP encouraged in its readers. He responded: ‘We thank you sincerely for the kind testimony you give to the spiritual usefulness of this paper, and your wishes for still further blessing on our work. May your own be prospered also – your acting as organist for your church as a free offering to God’s service, and your Sunday-school teaching.‘ [Volume 5, p. 240] Correspondent ‘Bride of Triermain’, a harmonium player, likely took on more than she could handle, judging from the editor’s reply to her letter in Volume 3: ‘We advise your consulting the rector on the subject of your inefficiency as his assistant in playing the harmonium. Tell him you are anxious to improve, and need some lessons; and let such a suggestion as that of your receiving them from his daughter emanate from him or her, not from you.’ [p. 286]

Fictional organists in TGOP served as role models for the magazine’s readers who were organists. Ivy Gardiner, in ‘The Organist’s Daughter’ in Volume 14, takes over her father’s organist duties when his health fails. Confident in the role, she also meets with the parents of his piano pupils to encourage continued lessons under her tutelage. In Ada M. Trotter’s ‘Marsh Marigolds’, serialized in 25 chapters in Volume 16, Ritchie Marphell, pictured below, takes over her father’s church organist duties when his vision fails. Only 16 years old, she has trouble maintaining order during rehearsals when cantankerous male choir members challenge her ability to direct them. Ritchie’s rector defends the young organist against the assaults of her enemies. ‘Oh, how good you are!” she tells him after a particularly trying evening. [p. 65] In Sarah Doudney’s ‘The Angel’s Gift’ in Volume 22, Avice Rayne, who accompanies on the organ a trio of young men with the ‘angel’s gift’ of song on the organ, reminds them gently ‘that a divine gift should be used only for divine ends’. [p. 146]

Ada M. Trotter, ‘Marsh Marigolds’, The Girl’s Own Paper, Volume 16, p. 65.
(Lutterworth Press)

In Eglanton Thorne’s ‘Midst Granite Hills: The Story of a Dartmoor Holiday’ in Volume 12, Grace Erith has given up her music governess position, to nurse her brother back to health following his time at university. An admirer offers a cottage in Dartmoor for his convalescence; in return, Grace serves as organist at the village church. Madeline Stuart in ‘Music Hath Charms’, by A. Mabel Culverwell in the same volume, has been taking lessons from the parish organist since age 13. She has to think about her livelihood, for the four Stuart siblings are orphans and must make their own ways in life. Providentially, the parish organist’s untimely arm injury puts Madeline on the organ bench as his substitute for the Christmas season, leading to a position as a music governess. [Volume 12]

Like Ivy, an organist’s daughter, Beatrice Vaughan in M.M. Pollard’s ‘The Organist’s Niece’ in the Snowdrifts extra Christmas number for Volume 6 takes over her uncle’s organist duties when he falls ill. In ‘Acquired Abroad’ by Louisa Emily Dobree in the same extra Christmas number, Ellice Creswell learns that honesty is the best policy. To qualify for a morning governess position to support her blind mother and herself, Ellice is tempted to claim that her French has been acquired abroad, when in fact she has only visited Paris. After seeking her mother’s counsel, Ellice declines the position, then takes solace on the organ bench of her village church. The rector, in need of an organist, hears Ellice playing and, after learning of her troubles, offers her the position.

For Nessie Cartwright and her friends in ‘Noël; or, Earned and Unearned’, a story in the Christmas Roses extra issue for Volume 3 by Grace Stebbing, the lesson is about charity. When a church offers an organist post to Nessie, who needs a paying job, her rich friend cannot understand why Nessie would choose work over her friend’s generosity. The story reinforces middle-class Victorian values: when in financial need, women should earn money by suitable work rather than accept charity, however well intended. In ‘Miss Mignonette’ by E.M. Hordle, a short story in the same extra Christmas issue, the eponymous heroine, who is alone in the world, teaches music and plays organ at Wychley Church.

In ’Miss Pringle’s Pearls’ by Mrs G. Linnaeus Banks in Volume 9, Aunt Phillis Penelope Pringle substitutes as organist at Shepperley Church, while in La Petite’s ‘A Disguised Blessing’ in Maidenhair, the extra summer number for Volume 13, Damaris Calendar, Hazelcopse’s new schoolmistress, takes on the organist duties on Sundays and forms a choir from her musical scholars and older parishioners.

Reginald Horton and Alec Hood both are in love with organists. Reginald, a farmer’s son in ‘A Love Out of Tune’ by J.F. Rowbotham, leaves home to pursue a career as a pianist. After a rocky start, his eventual success is a hollow victory when his father dies suddenly, greatly in debt. After promising to marry Reginald once he had made his name in music, Mildred Vane, the rector’s daughter and an organist, marries someone else. [Volume 17] Alec, in E. Tissington Tatlow’s ‘The Chapel by the Sea’, is more fortunate in love. Hearing ‘the sweet sound of an organ in a church close by’ makes Alec Hood feel sad, for he loves the organist, Laura Tressilian, and is afraid his past will make it impossible to win her. [Volume 28, p. 776] An act of bravery for which a medal is earned, as well as his recently deceased father’s estate, leads to Alec’s marriage to Laura in the Chapel by the Sea.

Most of the magazine’s organists were fictional; TGOP rarely mentioned living women organists. In ‘The Girl’s Outlook; or, What Is There to Talk About?’ by James and Nanette Mason, a self-improvement series in Volume 16, three friends in a remote village, all in their early twenties, meet at least monthly to discuss what they have read, confining their conversation to current topics and events, including musical ones. At one meeting they discuss the life of British organist Elizabeth Stirling (1819–1895) who had died recently. Stirling had made a name for herself as a publicized recitalist particularly of the works of Bach, as a church musician in a City of London church and as a composer of organ music. **

In a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen of Romania reprinted in Volume 26 of the magazine, the Queen is playing a large pipe organ. Only one article featured a living woman organist: Emily Lucas, a clergyman’s daughter who was blind since an early age, earned distinction as a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. In her 1904 autobiographical account ‘A Blind Girl Organist’ in Volume 25, Lucas writes about the challenges and rewards of training a choir and playing for services at Saint Andrew Norwood when visually impaired.

Like the banjo, the organ disappeared from the pages of TGOP after the brief sketch of Lucas. An organist was featured in Volume 31, but the spotlight was on Sir Frederick Bridge, then organist of Westminster Abbey, as author. Women organists still were an item in Britain, but TGOP no longer featured them in fiction, and the magazine had ceased to print the Answers to Correspondents column with replies to the organists among its readers. More information about Britain’s women organists is found in Elizabeth Stirling and the Musical Life of Female Organists in Nineteenth-Century England, especially Chapter 2 ‘Ladies Not Eligible?’.

* Complete citations may be found in Judith Barger, Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880 – 1910 (Routledge, 2017).

** See Judith Barger, Elizabeth Stirling and the Musical Life of Female Organists in Nineteenth-Century England (Ashgate, 2007).















Music in The Girl’s Own Paper – 8 Apr 2017

Instruments and Instrumentalists in
The Girl’s Own Paper

Part One: The Banjo

Although not a music journal, The Girl’s Own Paper (TGOP), published in London by the Religious Tract Society beginning on 3 January 1880, clearly considered music a worthy topic, which readers encountered in music scores, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, illustrations and replies to musical correspondents. Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880 – 1910 lists the many musical references found in the magazine.

During TGOP’s first decade, ‘how to’ primers on playing musical instruments appeared, from singing a song in Volume 1 to playing the zither in Volume 10. Piano, violin, organ, harmonium, harp, guitar, concertina, mandolin, banjo and xylophone rounded out the list. Of all the primers, only those for singing, pianoforte and violin appeared more than once, suggesting that these were the preferred forms of music making to which TGOP readers should or did aspire. This blog and the next focus on two very different instruments the banjo and the organ to show how TGOP chose to educate and entertain its readers about them.

That readers were interested in the banjo is evident in the magazine’s replies to correspondents’ questions about the instrument. Before the primer on how to play the banjo appeared in 1889, three correspondents had asked about the instrument, though their actual questions were not printed. The magazine’s editor told Maria Orford, who likely was choosing between the banjo and the mandolin, that the latter would be more suitable, because the banjo ‘is scarcely a nice instrument for a girl’. [Volume 6] * W.F.C. received a more neutral reply – she could apply at any music shop for banjo music. [Volume 6] Dinah, whose means were limited, hoped to find a banjo for ten shillings; the editor hoped a music shop might could help her. [Volume 8]

Just because the primer ‘How to Play the Banjo’ by Frank Mott Harrison appeared in Volume 10 does not mean that TGOP gave its stamp of approval to the instrument. To Harrison the instrument was essentially for amusement rather than serious playing, with limited music of a calibre higher than ‘marches, breakdowns, and jigs’. [p. 134] He did not discourage young women from taking up the banjo, however, if their tastes matched the repertoire available for the instrument. The magazine’s editor, however, did. For him, it was a matter of the banjo’s suitability.

When in 1892 correspondent Grateful Reader sought the editor’s advice about choosing an instrument among the banjo, guitar, concertina and organ-accordion, she was told, ‘Neither the banjo nor the guitar is by any means suitable for leading sacred music at a mission meeting. You might as well play the bones like a Christy Minstrel! A concertina or organ-accordion would be very suitable for such a purpose, and more easily learnt.’ [Volume 13] By 1895, however, the editor had rethought the instrument’s suitability and simply advised Helen of Troy, ‘We see no reason why you should not learn the banjo, provided your mother approves.’ [Volume 17]

Over the years, several correspondents – Martha, Madcap, Flora, Edythe, A.A.C., Would-Be Musician, Kerry – asked questions about the banjo and its music. The instrument’s popularity among readers was reflected in the illustration ‘The Banjo Enthusiast’ printed on the Answers to Correspondents page of 20 February 1892, shown below. [Volume 13] It must have taken some moxie for correspondent Wee-One from British Guinea to make her unknown request in 1894. The editor replied: ‘We have not got any kind of banjo, nor can we give you a practical demonstration of what you want to know; so you had better go to a shop for musical instruments and see for yourself. We are sorry we cannot assist you.’ [Volume 15] Nor could the editor assist correspondent Snowdrop a few weekly issues later, whose questions about prices of instruments, including the banjo, and costs for lessons could not be answered in the magazine. He advised her, ‘You should attend to your spelling, which is of more consequence than accomplishments.’ [Volume 15]

‘A Banjo Enthusiast’,The Girl’s Own Paper Vol. 13, p. 336 (Lutterworth Press)

The banjo makes occasional cameo appearances in TGOP fiction. In ‘Nobody’s Holiday; or, An August and September Spent in Good Company’, in the 1889 extra summer issue Rosemary, Hester Grey hears a ‘pandemonium of discords’ in the music making of lodgers, one of whom is learning to play the banjo. [Volume 10, pp. 42–4] Camilla Blake, in ‘A Chameleon’ by Alice Macdonald, finds the piano ‘awfully slow’, drops it and takes up the banjo instead. [Volume 13, p. 247] In ‘Our Café Chantant’ by M.F.T. in the Extra Summer Part of 1901, Rose Amberly agrees to sing and play the banjo for a variety entertainment organized to assist Silas Burns whose cottage burned down. [Volume 22]

In Sarah Doudney’s 1902 ‘Silent Strings’, the banjo player is a young man. When their father dies, the four Wilmer siblings have to split up the family. Brother Drew’s solution to raise their spirits is to sing a tune with a rousing chorus, which he accompanies on his banjo. After this last song, however, Drew leaves the banjo behind. The instrument’s silent strings are a metaphor for the silent strings in many lives that are, as sister Kate muses, ‘full of music that has never been called out of them’. [Volume 23, pp. 30–31]

Like Drew, who left his banjo behind when he left his siblings, after ‘Silent Strings’ appeared, TGOP left the banjo behind. Content about the organ and organists, which was more conspicuous in the magazine, had a longer life and is the subject of the next blog.

* Complete citations may be found in Judith Barger, Music in The Girl’s Own Paper: An Annotated Catalogue, 1880 – 1910 (Routledge, 2017).


USAF Flight Nursing – 18 Feb 2017

USAF Flight Nurse Photo Album

When stationed as a flight nurse with the 9th Aeromedical Evacuation Group at Clark Air Base, Philippines, 1973–75, I put together a hand-printed photo album illustrating a “typical” day of air evac duty. The photos, all but one of which I took myself, were taken on several different missions in 1975 and do not represent an actual flight plan.

In this typed version of the original text, which I printed in block capitals, I have divided the content into three sections across three blogs: PRE-FLIGHT, INFLIGHT, and POST-FLIGHT. Page numbers refer to the original photo album.


Page 18

The mission is over. An urgent patient off-loaded at Yokota Air Base, Japan is met by a helicopter for immediate transfer to Yokosuka Naval Hospital nearby. This procedure is known as a “dust-off.”


The med techs wait on crew transportation at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.


Page 19

Flight mechanic SSgt Nelson is post-flighting the C-9A at Kadena Air Base.


Crew chief Amn Wojienowski completes his post-flight check of the C-9A at Kadena Air Base.


Page 20

Remaining overnight at Yokota Air Base, Japan, members of the crew depart base on an adventure in search of supper. Waiting at the train station off base are SSgt Everingham, Capt Northcutt, Capt Barger, and SSgt Winstead.


Supper this night is a Big Mac, order of fries, and a hot apple pie at McDonald’s in Tachikawa, Japan. That’s Sgt Gimerek with his mouth full, SSgt Winstead, SSgt Everingham, and Capt Northcutt.




USAF Flight Nursing – 28 Jan 2017

USAF Flight Nurse Photo Album

When stationed as a flight nurse with the 9th Aeromedical Evacuation Group at Clark Air Base, Philippines, 1973–75, I put together a hand-printed photo album illustrating a “typical” day of air evac duty. The photos, all but one of which I took myself, were taken on several different missions in 1975 and do not represent an actual flight plan.

In this typed version of the original text, which I printed in block capitals, I have divided the content into three sections across three blogs: PRE-FLIGHT, INFLIGHT, and POST-FLIGHT. Page numbers refer to the original photo album.


Page 11

And we’re off, flying to wherever patient requirements demand. It could be to tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam …


… or a flight taking us over Mount Fuji and into Yokota Air Base, Japan.


Page 12

Kunsan Air Base, Korea might be our next stop …


… or NKP Air Base, Thailand. Wherever we go, there are patients waiting.


Page 13

Sgt Girshovich, second med tech for the mission, deploys the litter ramp at an en-route stop at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Iwakuni, Japan. SSgt Harris acts as spotter to insure the area is clear.


The ramp is fully deployed and ready for use by litter bearers.


Page 14

A litter patient is deplaned onto the waiting ambus at Yokota Air Base, Japan.


A fire truck meets the C-9A at every stop. This one is at MCAS, Iwakuni. We refuel with patients on board, and a fire truck always must be standing by.


Page 15

Lt Holland, MCD, is receiving a patient report from the air evac clerk at one of the en-route stops.


In flight, Lt Holland and Sgt Lloyd could be discussing a patient’s condition or any number of subjects.


Page 16

“IF YOU NEED ANYTHING PLEASE LET US KNOW. WE HOPE THAT YOU HAVE A COMFORTABLE FLIGHT ….” Once the Fasten Seat Belt sign is turned off, patient care continues. We pass out pillows and blankets, magazines, and juice, coffee, or milk. Litter patients are given backrests to elevate their head and shoulders for comfort. Here you see TSgt Higuera, the third tech, and SSgt Spradlin, the flight mechanic.


As part of her check-ride, Lt O’Malley is demonstrating to the flight examiner how to put a casualty life vest onto a litter patient. The “patient” is flight mechanic SSgt Stanke.


Page 17

SSgt Harris, flying as third med tech, is taking an inventory of all supplies and equipment that we carry in the cabin of the C-9A. He’s sitting at the MCD desk. His primary job as third tech is to on-load and off-load patient baggage. Thus SSgt Harris has given the third med tech the nickname “Redcap”.


SSgt Harris again, this time flying in the senior tech position. The senior tech is the chef on the mission and is the person who cooks and serves patient meals.


To be continued.

USAF Flight Nursing – 8 Jan 2017

USAF Flight Nurse Photo Album

When stationed as a flight nurse with the 9th Aeromedical Evacuation Group at Clark Air Base, Philippines, 1973–75, I put together a hand-printed photo album illustrating a “typical” day of air evac duty. The photos, all but one of which I took myself, were taken on several different missions in 1975 and do not represent an actual flight plan.

In this typed version of the original text, which I printed in block capitals, I have divided the content into three sections across three blogs: PRE-FLIGHT, INFLIGHT, and POST-FLIGHT. Page numbers refer to the original photo album.

Page 1




Page 2

The phone in my room rings at 0430. “Good morning, Capt Barger. I’m alerting you for your flight today.”


The Air Evac Control Center at 9th Group is where patients are called in for movement on a routine [scheduled] or alert [unscheduled, but urgent to save life, limb, or eyesight] mission and where air evac missions are planned, coordinated, and monitored. This is where the day begins.

Page 3

The C-9A Nightingale, produced by McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation, is the military version of the commercial DC-9. There are 4 C-9A’s at Clark, and these aircraft cover an 85-million square mile area and fly into some 260 airfields in 9 different countries. The C-9A cruises at 500 mph at an altitude of around 30,000 feet. The C-9A is capable of carrying a total of 40 ambulatory patients, 40 litter patients, or a combination of both. Each routine mission carries a medical crew of 2 nurses and 3 medical technicians. An alert  mission carries 1 nurse and 2 med techs. Our routine missions take us to airfields in the Philippines, Taiwan, Okinawa, Korea, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.


Page 4

The basic flight crew on the C-9A includes the pilot, the co-pilot, and the flight mechanic. Here Lt Johnson, pilot, explains something to the co-pilot, Lt Gray.


SSgt Winstead, a flight mechanic, has just given the pilots the go-ahead to start engines. He’s now boarding the C-9A prior to take-off. The flight mechanic is also responsible for refueling the C-9A.


Page 5

Please join me on a grand tour of the cabin of the C-9A. As you walk onto the aircraft through the forward entrance door and face aft [to the rear], to your left is the special care area. This is our intensive care unit, where we put our sickest patients. It also can be used for isolation patients. Special features of the special care area include ultraviolet lights and exhaust fan to kill micro-organisms and control odors, a curtain to close off the area, 3 lights with self-coiling extension cords that clip onto the litter to facilitate patient care, extra oxygen and suction outlets and 60-cycle and 28V DC electrical outlets, and dim-to-bright ceiling lights.


In this picture, Kenneth, 5 weeks old, is in the top incubator; the bottom incubator is being returned to Clark for maintenance. The medical crew director (MCD) of the mission is giving the cruise briefing: “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, OUR NEXT STOP WILL BE FUKUOKA, JAPAN, AND OUR ENROUTE TIME WILL BE ….”

Page 6

Across from the special care area is the medical service area.


This area includes a foot-operated scrub sink with liquid soap dispenser, and a medicine cabinet complete with stock drugs. In the top cabinet are IV tubing and blood recipient sets. In the blue cabinet are IV solutions, IV tray, and distilled water, and in the drawers below are needles and syringes. Cabinets below store medical supplies — OB packs, disposable masks, bedpans, catheterization kit, and irrigation tray.

Aft of the special care area is the medical crew director (MCD) station.


The MCD station consists of a writing desk and lamp, a communications and light-control panel, and temperature, therapeutic oxygen, and vacuum system gauges, a medical records drawer, bookshelf, and storage area for more medical supplies — oxygen masks, emergency drugs, suction catheters, bite-sticks, bulb syringe, and dressing supplies.

Page 7

Aft of the litter ramp door is the central storage compartment.


This area provides storage space for linens, Ambu bag [trademark name of resuscitator bag for artificial respiration], Bird respirator [trademark name for mechanical ventilator], and miscellaneous supplies. The orange bundles you can see underneath are 2 of the 3 20-man life rafts that we carry on all missions.

This picture shows the main cabin area, configured on this trip to accommodate 38 ambulatory patients. All patient seats face aft. That’s Sgt Novicio, the senior med tech, sitting in his crew seat, which is attached to the aft door in the tail section.


Page 8

In the tail section of the cabin is the aft galley.


The forward galley just aft of the cockpit has a medical refrigerator. The aft galley is used to prepare patient meals. Here are found the refrigerator and freezer, the oven that can cook 24 meals in about 30 minutes time, the coffee maker, and sink. The aft galley is the only place on the C-9A where one can get ice-cold or boiling-hot water. Just forward of the door is the senior tech’s control panel where he can make PA announcements, speak with the MCD or pilot via intercom, and turn cabin lights on and off. The MCD gives the pre-departure briefings; the senior tech gives the descent briefings.

Page 9





Page 10

The blue ambus [ambulance-bus] brought the patients to the flight line. The fire truck stands by.


Flight mechanic SSgt Knight is monitoring the start of engines for takeoff from Clark. We’re deploying to escape a typhoon on this day. That’s our squadron building in the background.


To be continued.

World War II Army Flight Nurses – 18 Dec 2016

Meet the former US Army flight nurses whom I interviewed for
Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II.

In 1986 as part of my research about flight nurse history and coping with war, I was privileged to interview 25 former US Army nurses about events of their flight nurse duty in World War II. Most of them are now deceased, but their stories live on in Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II.

The journal I kept of my time with each of them in 1986 when writing my dissertation offers a brief personal glimpse of these remarkable women. I am sharing edited versions of these journals, in the order in which the interviews took place. The actual interviews are in separate documents.

25th Interview

Frances Sandstrom Crabtree
816 MAES Europe
21 June 1986

My interview with Frances Crabtree was one of those unexpected surprises. When I arrived in Spokane, Washington to interview Hilda Chamberlain in her home, Hilda mentioned that her friend Frances, another World War II flight nurse living in Spokane, wanted to be interviewed for my study. Hilda was eager that I meet Frances and arranged for me to drive to Frances’s house some minutes away after our interview.

When I arrived at Frances’s house, I was met by Frances and her husband Roe and escorted into their house. The house was a surprise itself. It is an old home with an accumulation of old furniture, cut glass, even large dolls occupying some of the chairs in the living room and dining room. My eyes were attracted immediately to an antique pump organ and a baby grand piano in the living room. This was not, however, an occasion to play. Frances served coffee and chatted a great deal about her experiences. I eventually asked her directly whether she would like to be interviewed as part of my study, and she quickly and enthusiastically agreed.

I realized when I learned her maiden name that I had read an article about Frances in an Air Force magazine published during World War II. This made my interview with her even more exciting, since in my eyes she was a bit of a celebrity, having had her picture on the cover of the magazine as well as having been the subject of an article about flight nursing. According to Frances, however, her real claim to celebrity is that she was the first nurse to go into France after D-day (though Grace Dunnam of the 806 MAES had claimed the same distinction).

Actual flight nursing was not difficult, Frances said, but she remembered that as far as patient care, the flight nurses had little in the way of supplies and equipment with which to work. Frances once had a seriously injured patient, perhaps with a skull fracture, she said, whose only chance for survival was air evacuation to another hospital. She had no oxygen or IVs to give him and could only watch him. Realizing that oxygen could make the difference between life and death, she had the pilot divert the plane to an airfield where an ambulance was waiting with oxygen.

Frances recalled that during the war she encountered a comradeship not only with flight nurses in her squadron, but with other flight nurses and aircrews—all who had been through the war together—that could not have happened otherwise. She had high respect for the aircrews “that we flew with who brought us down safe and sound with our patients”—even occasionally on just one wheel.

Frances could have talked for hours, though she was a bit dependent on my questions to guide her in what experiences to share, but we eventually brought the interview to a close. Afterward, Frances said that she and her husband wanted to take me to dinner. I was pleased to be asked and enjoyed a casual meal at a Texas barbecue place. We chatted easily through dinner, and I was invited to return to their home to see their summer cabin on a lake in Idaho and to play the antique pump organ. They are a delightful couple, and it truly was a pleasant way to end the interviews for my dissertation.

One of Frances’s stories: Frances had flown with a load of patients from Scotland to New York. When she arrived at the hotel, staff of the Air Force magazine were on the lookout for someone to photograph for an article about flight nurses. A woman approached and asked Frances, “Are you a WAC?” Frances said, “Oh, no.” ‘What are you?” “I’m a flight nurse.” “Oh,” said the woman, “Just sit right there. Don’t leave.” And Frances said, “Don’t worry, lady. I can’t even get out of this chair.” She was waiting for some place to rest her head after flying all the way across from England. The memory made Frances laugh. The magazine staff waited until the next morning to do the photo shoot for “Flight Nurse” by Charlotte Knight, Air Force 27 (10) (October 1944): 28–30, 62.

Frances died in 2006.


Cover girl Frances Sandstrom. (Author’s private collection)

World War II Army Flight Nurses – 20 Nov 2016

Meet the former US Army flight nurses whom I interviewed for
Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II.

In 1986 as part of my research about flight nurse history and coping with war, I was privileged to interview 25 former US Army nurses about events of their flight nurse duty in World War II. Most of them are now deceased, but their stories live on in Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II.

The journal I kept of my time with each of them in 1986 when writing my dissertation offers a brief personal glimpse of these remarkable women. I am sharing edited versions of these journals, in the order in which the interviews took place. The actual interviews are in separate documents.

24th Interview

Hilda Halverson Chamberlain
826 MAES Pacific
21 June 1986

I met with Hilda in her home in Spokane, Washington. For the first leg of my journey, from San Jose to Seattle, I was booked in First Class, and what a luxury awaited me! I was impressed not only with Alaska Airlines but with the state of Washington—“God’s Country” is a phrase that comes to mind. Again, a rental car awaited me, and what a pleasure it was to drive the brand new silver Mustang.

Hilda lives in an area of the city with hills, trees, and old homes. She was waiting on her porch when I arrived and invited me in warmly. I knew that she had had cataract surgery earlier that week, and I was concerned that it might not be a good time for me to visit, but she had assured me that she would be fine. Other than a patch over her eye, she showed no ill effects from the surgery.

After talking casually, I explained how the interview would progress. She got us each something to drink, and we sat at her dining table for the interview. Hilda did not have a lot to say, but she shared the experiences she had remembered with an enthusiasm that made the interview an easy one to conduct. She enjoyed the chance to reminisce, since she said that she hadn’t thought about or been asked about her wartime experiences in a long time.

Hilda remembered irregular flying hours — leaving in the middle of the night and flying 16 or 18 hours, deadheading to a location to pick up patients for air evacuation, and flying them to their destination. Sometimes the flight nurses had only an hour or two on the ground before catching the next flight; mostly, though, they remained overnight away from their home station before catching the next flight back. She learned to sleep “real good” on the floor of a plane when deadheading without patients. Hilda recalled feeling tired most of the time, in part because the flight nurses were on alert to go at a moment’s notice, and in part because she always was thinking what she could “do for the next person.”

Packages from home were always a welcome treat when overseas, but a Christmas box that arrived in July was a huge disappointment. Hilda’s sisters had sent her a cake and some cookies, but the thick icing turned out to be mildew. She had promised to treat her flying colleagues, but they had to make do with some canned meat the sisters had enclosed, not with sweets.

I was conscious of the time, because I didn’t want to tire Hilda out, especially since she’d had the surgery on her eye earlier in the week. When it seemed that Hilda had no more experiences ready to share, and that my questioning was not bringing out much additional information, I chose to end the interview.

Hilda told me about a friend of hers in Spokane who was also a World War II flight nurse. Hilda had mentioned my coming to this friend, and, according to Hilda, the friend wanted to talk with me. Hilda got directions on how to get to the friend’s house and then sent me on my way so that I would have the opportunity to talk with her friend that evening while I was still in Spokane. I didn’t know if another interview would actually materialize. This situation of the informant knowing someone else who she thought wanted to be interviewed and setting me up to interview this person had been tried once before but didn’t work—the first time, the woman denied ever having said she would like to be interviewed. But partly to please Hilda, and partly because I’ve not yet turned down the chance to get an additional interview, I wound up my visit with Hilda to pursue yet another interview in the city.

One of Hilda’s stories: Hilda remembers flying with patients on board from Leyte in the Philippines to Saipan where the Japanese had just raided the airfield. It had been raining, and the Hilda and her enlisted technician off-loaded the patients as quickly as possible. She continues, “And then I heard somebody say, ‘Where’s the nurse? Is the nurse all right?’” She was down in the mud trying to cover a young soldier’s head wound, because she didn’t want it to get dirty. She laughs about the teasing she got afterward when they said, “Oh, we’d have never found you!”

Hilda died in 1993.

World War II Army Flight Nurses – 16 Oct 2016

Meet the former US Army flight nurses whom I interviewed for
Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II.

In 1986 as part of my research about flight nurse history and coping with war, I was privileged to interview 25 former US Army nurses about events of their flight nurse duty in World War II. Most of them are now deceased, but their stories live on in Beyond the Call of Duty: Army Flight Nursing in World War II.

The journal I kept of my time with each of them in 1986 when writing my dissertation offers a brief personal glimpse of these remarkable women. I am sharing edited versions of these journals, in the order in which the interviews took place. The actual interviews are in separate documents.

23rd Interview

Adele Edmonds Daly
801 MAES Pacific
20 June 1986

I met with Adele Daly in her home in Palo Alto, California. I found myself less enthusiastic about this interview than I had been about other interviews. One reason, I know, is that Adele had some difficulty hearing and understanding me in phone calls to coordinate my visit. I thought that perhaps she had a hearing loss that would make an interview difficult. But in spite of my concern I decided to go ahead with the interview, since Adele sounded so enthusiastic about my study.

My flights were more tiring than usual from the physical exertion of carrying my bags across flight lines to planes and one leg of the trip with every seat filled, delays, and demanding passengers. That didn’t help my mood once I arrived in San Jose, nor did the traffic.

The trip to Palo Alto via rental car took only minutes; I had expected a much longer drive. When I arrived in Palo Alto, I called Adele, who had no trouble understanding me this time, and she encouraged me to come to her house right away, even though I had arrived much earlier than expected.

Adele was a very pleasant, warm, hospitable person whom I liked immediately and with whom I felt comfortable. I hadn’t yet eaten, and Adele fixed me a light lunch that I ate as we chatted casually and got to know each other better. I realized how wrong I had been to prejudge her unfavorably, and I was glad I hadn’t let my unfavorable impression keep me from making the trip.

Adele was not especially talkative, but she did talk easily as she shared experiences. She lacked some of the spontaneity of other women I’ve interviewed, but what experiences Adele did share, she covered in enough detail to give a good picture of her feelings and relevant actions.

About flight nurse training, for example, Adele said, that what the flight nurses learned at Bowman Field during their course had helped them to a certain extent, “but we never realized that we’d have so little to do with.” Her nurses training had taught her to improvise, an important skill for making do with less during the war.

Nor had Bowman Field prepared her for the reptiles and bugs overseas. Flight nurses often remained overnight in Bougainville when out on air evacuation flights, Adele remembered  with an “oooh!” and much laughter, because of the lizards and snakes and so many crawly things. “I don’t know how you can prepare yourself for something like that,” she said, “because I’d always been terrified of them.”

Like other woman I‘ve interviewed, Adele is a gracious individual with the special ability to make a person feel welcome and at home. It was a pleasant visit and a good interview.

One of Adele’s stories: Adele laughs about it now, but she remembers flight nurse training as “Very rugged. Very rugged! You knew that everything you participated in would make or break you.” The discipline and routine were quite different from what she had experienced before, even in her nurses training. “And bivouacking and marching and constantly being on the run to go to class or to do something. Your day was just terrifically full. You’d be exhausted at night.” She particularly recalled when the nurses had to maneuver the obstacle course under small arms fire. The flight nurses used to talk about those things and wonder how they could ever survive the actual war, “which we knew we were eventually going to be in when we finished.”

Adele died in 2005.