Main content

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).

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

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. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

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

Print, Suggest