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Monday, May 25, 2015

The Women Civilian Employees of Base Hospital 46 Part I: Agatha Holloway and Vida Fatland, Laboratory Assistants, and Gertrude Palmer, Dietician

There were six women who served with Oregon's Base Hospital 46 in France during the First World War who were not nurses. In this post I'll introduce the three who had scientific technical training: Agatha Holloway and Vida Fatland, who served as laboratory assistants and Gertrude Palmer, who was the unit's dietician. They were civilian employees whose work was vital to the unit but who worked under contract rather than with in the military.

Agatha Holloway, Laboratory Assistant, Grace Phelps Papers, Box 3, Binder 5, Base Hospital 46 Staff Files, Historical Collections & Archives, Oregon Health & Science University. Courtesy Historical Collections &Archives, OHSU.
From her file in the Grace Phelps Papers at the Historical Collections & Archives at the Oregon Health & Science University we learn that Agatha Holloway had two years at a hospital training school for nurses in Portland (the records don't specify which one) and four years as a private duty nurse without graduating with her nursing degree. For two years she worked as an office assistant and laboratory assistant with Dr. Lawrence Selling in Portland. Holloway had practical experience but not a nursing degree and was able to use that experience to sign on as a laboratory assistant.

Vida Fatland, whose image was not included in Phelps's file, was a 1915 biology graduate from Reed College in Portland.

Gertrude Palmer, Laboratory Assistant, Grace Phelps Papers, Box 3, Binder 5, Base Hospital 46 Staff Files, Historical Collections & Archives, Oregon Health & Science University. Courtesy Historical Collections &Archives, OHSU.
Gertrude Palmer was the unit's dietician. She was a 1917 graduate of the Santa Barbara State Normal College (a two-year teacher preparation program) in home economics and worked as a home economics teacher and as a dietitian at the San Francisco Children's Hospital before sailing with Base Hospital Unit 46.





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