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Lauretta McDowell Photograph Albums and Memoir


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Lauretta McDowell was a graduate of Ball State University's nursing school who served as a senior cadet nurse at the Tacoma (Cushman) Indian Hospital in Washington State in 1947.

This collection consists of two photograph albums and a typewritten memoir documenting Lauretta McDowell's six-month period of work as a cadet nurse at the Tacoma (Cushman) Indian Hospital on Puyallup land in Washington State.

McDowell's three-page written narrative describes group activities and classes held for the cadet nurses and leisure activities ranging from trips to Mount Rainier and Victoria, British Columbia, to parties and tank rides with men from the neighboring U.S. Army base. She also describes her time in the children's ward and tuberculosis ward of the hospital. While her narrative repeats stereotypes about the Puyallup and other Indigenous children she works with, she notes several times how they defied her biased views of them.

The photograph albums contain about ninety images set in and on the grounds of the hospital, with many well-annotated snapshots of Puyallup and other Indigenous patients, as well as McDowell's fellow nurses and doctors. While McDowell and most of her cadet and hospital colleagues appear to be white, there are also several Japanese American and African American nurses and doctors pictured. The remainder of the images in the album depict service breaks spent with fellow nurses and friends in and around the nearby beaches and mountains of the Seattle-Tacoma area. Both of the albums include paintings of Native Americans on their covers.

Some of McDowell's colleagues who are named in the album's captions include Marie Kuamoto, Hattie Johnson, Ruth Herem, Dr. Kazumi Kasuga, Phyllis Ashton, Doris Young, Lillian Schermeir, Mary Procyke, Ruth Chase, Adrianna Raiot, Dorothy Vandevier, Marian Kast, Phyllis Johnson, Barbara Bower, Norma Scheele, Helen Ward, and Gena Huchro. Some of the names of the patients include Jo Blackeagle, Vera Jensen, Ernie Tannewasher, and Ella Tonasket.

Arranged by material type.

Purchased from McBride Rare Books in 2022 (AM 2023-065).

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in December 2022. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in December 2022, incorporating some description provided by the dealer.

No materials were removed from the collection during 2022 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Kelly Bolding
Finding Aid Date
Processing of this collection was sponsored by the Delafield fund.
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Single copies may be made for research purposes. No further duplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to Special Collections Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Collection Inventory

"Six Months at Tacoma Indian Hospital", 1947. 1 folder.
Scope and Contents

Typewritten memoir.

Physical Description

1 folder

Photograph Albums, 1947. 2 folders.
Physical Description

2 folders

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