Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Colonel Strohm's Nurse

The first month I arrived here in Historical Collections & Archives, August 2003 (wow! time flies), Karen Peterson was preparing the new exhibit, which was going to feature materials from a scrapbook created by nurses who served with the University of Oregon Medical School's General Hospital 46 in World War II. The nurses had referred to themselves as "Colonel Strohm's Nurses"--J. Guy Strohm, M.D., being the commanding officer of the 46th. At the time the exhibit was mounted, we actually had people vandalizing the posters--that's how much attitudes had changed towards what was now being perceived as a very patriarchal culture.

Well, we received a donation yesterday from another of Colonel Strohm's nurses, and her scrapbook is confirmation and elaboration of the materials shown in that 2003 display. Dorothy A. Robinson Mann graduated from the University of Oregon Medical School Dept. of Nursing Education in June 1942, one month after being commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps as a second lieutenant. She shipped out with the 46th, first to Fort Riley, and then overseas to Oran and thence to France. She was sent back home, to Fitzsimmons Hospital, when she was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis in 1945, and she received her discharge shortly afterward.

Returning to Oregon, Dorothy worked with Alice Scharf in surgical nursing in Portland and matriculated at Lewis & Clark, from which she received her bachelor's degree in biology. She even published the results of her study of the Branchiobdellida in the Journal of Parasitology in 1954. She then headed out to Coos Bay, where she worked first at the McAuley Hospital and later as the company nurse for Weyerhauser before marrying Earl Mann and retiring from nursing.

Included in the collection are Dorothy's scrapbook (one page shown here); school certificates; graduating photos from UOMS, Lewis & Clark, and Franklin High; two yearbooks from UOMS; military commission and paperwork from the war years; two nursing texts; her Branchiobdellida research; and other ephemera. We are very grateful to Dorothy's family for depositing this material with us for preservation and research.

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