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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Norene Royer's Personal Effects in September 1918: "1 Cap, boudoir . . .1 Belt, money . . . 4 Stockings, pairs, 1 Diary"

In addition to the official papers Norene Royer left behind at her death, materials in the Grace Phelps Papers at the Historical Collections & Archives at the Oregon Health & Science University tell us just what Royer had with her when she died. This provides another window onto life for the women of Base Hospital 46 in France in World War I.

"Norene Royer," Box 1, Folder 8, Grace Phelps Papers, Historical Collections & Archives, Oregon Health & Science University. Courtesy Historical Collections & Archives, OHSU.
In the certified copy listing Royer's effects Chief Nurse Grace Phelps gave to Quartermaster Malcolm Black, we find some of the specific items that made up her life and work. Some of the items seem very familiar to travelers today -- a money belt, pajamas, a traveling case for toiletries. Other clothes and effects, like the boudoir cap, seem very far away from us.

1 Cap, Boudoir
Crocheted Boudoir Cap, Royal Society Crochet Lessons (New York: H.E. Verran, 1917), 2.


1 Mirror
1 Stamping Set [presumably for letter writing]
1 Scissors, pair
3 Collars
1 Box Writing Paper
2 Flash lights
Niagara Flashlight, 1918, Flashlight Museum
2 Hangers
2 Combinations, wool
1 Belt, money
1 Skirt, blue
5 Teddies
1 Shoes, pair
2 Skirts, white
4 Corsets
1 Basket (2 books enclosed)
4 Towels
1 Apron, large
4 Stockings, pairs
2 hypo sets
1 Toilet traveling case
This traveling case on the left was for the "soldier or traveler" but may have resembled Norene Royer's toilet traveling case. Oregonian, June 19, 1918, Section 5, p. 7.
1 Diary
1 Box letters
1 Manicure set
1 Bag, laundry
5 pajamas, pairs
2 Towels, hand
2 Waists, silk, blue
2 Kimonos
1 Uniform, White
World War I Nurse's Uniform, National Archives.
1 Skirt, satin
9 Brassieres
3 cloths, wash
5 vests

Thinking about this list of Norene Royer's effects underscores the challenges nurses had with laundry and makes me hope that someone still has the diary that was, presumably, sent to her mother.  I would love to know the titles of the two books in the basket and have the chance to read the letters in her box.

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