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MC 364

Welch, Lula James, 1873-1963. Papers of Lula James Welch, 1868-1966: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 364
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Lula James Welch, 1873-1963
Title: Papers of Lula James Welch, 1868-1966
Date(s): 1868-1966
Quantity: .63 linear feet (1+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 folio folder)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Correspondence, diaries, photographs, etc., of Lula James Welch, nurse in Alaska.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession numbers: 84-M194, 85-M194
The papers of Lula James Welch were given to the Schlesinger Library in November 1984 and September 1985 by Marian Kennedy.

Processing Information:

Processed: January and September 1985
By: Anne Engelhart, Eva Schlesinger

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lula James Welch is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Lula James Welch. Papers, 1868-1966; item description, dates. MC 364, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


Lula (James) Welch was born on November 8, 1873, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, the daughter of Anna Bell Hare James and Pleasant James. When she was eight, her family moved to Anaheim, California; she was educated at Irving Institute in San Francisco. After high school, she studied theater with the actress Helena Modjeska. Realizing that she did not have the talent to succeed as an actress, Welch decided to become a nurse. In September 1899 she married Dr. Curtis Welch; she worked with him in his medical practice and in the hospital they established in Oakland in 1904. Following the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, they left for Alaska, where for twenty years they cared for the people of Council City, Candle, and Nome; in 1925 they organized an expedition to bring serum by dog sled to Nome during an outbreak of diphtheria. In the fall of 1928, Curtis Welch's health made it imperative that they return to a warmer climate; they settled in Santa Barbara, where Curtis Welch died in 1945.


This collection contains correspondence, diaries, photographs, a scrapbook, clippings, and Marian Kennedy's typescript, Northland Doctor's Wife, based on Lula James Welch's reminiscences. The bulk of the correspondence is from 1939 and includes letters asking Curtis Welch to write about his experiences in Alaska. The diary entries are generally short and cover the years 1901-1937 and 1961-1962; the entries from 1901 to 1932 (see #1) were condensed by Welch in 1935. The later diaries reflect the daily concerns of an aging woman. Most of the photographs date from the period when Lula James Welch and Curtis Welch lived in Alaska.


Container List

Additional Index Terms

Alaska--Social life and customs
Manuscripts (for publication)
Amundsen, Roald, 1872-1928
Kennedy, Marian
Modjeska, Helena, 1840-1909
Welch, Curtis, 1875-1945