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© President and Fellows of Harvard College
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
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.
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.
- Box 1: 1-6, 14, 16
- Box 2: 17v-20