Archives Month is here again and this year we are focusing on the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War. With that in mind, we will be posting weekly blogs discussing the war related records in our collections that we have digitized for you to access online. See last week.
About the World War I Service Questionnaires
This series contains military service questionnaires and photographs of Utah’s World War I veterans compiled by the Utah State Historical Society shortly after the war. The forms were sent to veterans or their families to complete and return.
At the end of the survey there was a place for the signature of the person completing the questionnaire. This was followed by a note which stated: “Send photograph. Record will be incomplete without photograph. Enclose interesting incidents, clippings, letters, and other material which should be made part of record. Don’t neglect this opportunity to have your boy properly represented on the permanent records of Utah.” However, not all those who served were male.
Women in the War: Dora M. Askew
On October 5, 1917, Dora M. Askew voluntarily joined the Great War as a nurse. She was twenty-nine years old and single. 1 Although she resided in Salt Lake City for a number of years as a child, she traveled throughout the world.
Dora was born in England in 1888, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Askew. 2 When she was an infant, her family immigrated to Queensland, Australia for a short time. 3 They briefly returned to England, before the family once again set sail in 1895 for New York City. 4 In 1904, Dora’s youngest sister was born in Utah. Records from the 1910 census show that her father was a mail carrier (and a naturalized citizen) and Dora a telephone operator. 5
Dora became a member of the Army Nurse Corps, which was founded in 1901. 6 After her initial induction in October, Dora attended training at the Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco, California. She also trained and served at Camp Kearney in San Diego, California. In September 1918, she began her overseas service at Base Hospital 67 in Dijon, France, before being transferred to nearby Base Hospital 103 in January 1919. 7
At a different base hospital in Rouen, Chief Nurse of the Army Nurse Corps Julia Stimson described a scene:
“Amputations are being done almost every day. Yesterday I went down to the Theater Hut to see how our nurses were going to handle a very bad case…Our people at home would marvel to see what fine work can be done when all the water used has to be heated on top of a small oil stove and all the instruments boiled the same way.” 8
Dora remained in France until July 1919, returning to New York City with the other personnel of the unit that had ceased to function with the end of the war. 9 In 1921, records show she was still serving as part of the Regular Army (RA). 10 Dora applied to be and was approved a naturalized citizen in Texas (with the requirement for a declaration of intention removed as an honorably discharged veteran), 11 and would die at the age of thirty-seven in Nevada in 1925. 12 She is buried 13 in Salt Lake City with a marker indicating her rank of Lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps. 14 It may be assumed that the “R. Askew” who submitted Dora’s World War I service questionnaire and photograph to the Historical Society was her father, Robert Askew.
Have you found other stories in these questionnaires? Share them in the comments!
Also, remember our Brown Bag Lunches are every Wednesday at noon in October! On October 17th join us for “A War to End War? Making Sense of the First World War” with Dr. Tammy Proctor from Utah State University.
1. Utah State Historical Society, World War I service questionnaires, Series 85298, Dora M Askew; digital images, Utah State Archives and Records Service (http://images.archives.utah.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p17010coll48/id/28725: accessed October 11, 2018).
2. Nevada Department of Health, Carson City, Nevada, death certificate 25-000909 (1925), Dora M. Askew; digital images, Ancestry.com, Nevada, Death Certificates, 1911-1965 https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&h=13834776&dbid=6598 (accessed October 11, 2018).
3. Queensland State Archives, Registers of Immigrant Ships’ Arrivals, Dora M Askew, Feb 5 1889; digital images, Ancestry.com, Queensland, Australia, Passenger Lists, 1848-1912 https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&h=190101&dbid=1856 (accessed October 11, 2018).
4. U.S. Customs Service, Microfilm Publication M237, 1820-1897, Roll 644, Dora Askew, July 3 1895; digital images, Ancestry.com, New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&h=4000929346&dbid=7488 (accessed October 11, 2018).
5. Bureau of the Census, Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910, Roll T624_1605, Page 3B, Enumeration District 0090, Dora M Askew; digital images, Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&h=145786783&dbid=7884 (accessed October 11, 2018).
6. U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History, “Army Nurse Corps History” http://history.amedd.army.mil/ANCWebsite/anchome.html (accessed October 11, 2018).
7. Utah State Historical Society, World War I service questionnaires, for Dora M Askew.
8. Julia C. Stimson, “Letter from Julia C. Stimson to her family, June 17, 1917,” Women in Health Sciences, Bernard Becker Medical Library at Washington University School of Medicine, http://beckerexhibits.wustl.edu/mowihsp/words/Stimson2fam06171917.htm (accessed October 11, 2018).
9. Colonel Joseph H. Ford, M. C., “Chapter XXIV: Base Hospitals,” The Medical Department of the United States Army in the World War (1927), U.S. Army Medical Department, Office of Medical History http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwi/adminamerexp/chapter24.html (accessed October 11, 2018).
10. Department of Administrative Services, Division of Archives and Records Service, Military Service Cards, ca. 1898-1975, Series 85268, Reel 1, “Dora M Askew,” 1921; digital images, Ancestry.com, Utah, Military Records, 1861-1970 https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&h=121375&dbid=2228 (accessed October 11, 2018).
11. Records of District Courts of the United States, Record Group 21, Petition Number 2126 M, Dora Margaret Askew; digital images, Ancestry.com, Texas, Naturalization Records, 1852-1991 https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&h=342755&dbid=2509 (accessed October 11, 2018).
12. Nevada Department of Health, Carson City, Nevada, death certificate 25-000909 (1925), Dora M. Askew.
13. Department of Administrative Services. Division of Archives and Records Service Veterans’ burial locations cards and forms, Series 5339, Reel 1, “Dora M Askew,” digital images, Ancestry.com, Utah, Veterans with Federal Service Buried in Utah,1847-1966 https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=try&h=3362&dbid=60210 (accessed October 11, 2018).
14. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 11 October 2018), memorial page for Lieut Dora M Askew (1888–1925), Find A Grave Memorial no. 81088284, citing Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Perry A Sloan (contributor 47170667) .
U.S. Army Center of Military History, “Chronology” http://www.history.army.mil/books/anc-highlights/chrono.htm.
Megan Hammons, “The History of the U.S. Army Nursing Corps” VeteranAid.org, http://www.veteranaid.org/blog/2016/06/17/the-history-of-the-u-s-army-nursing-corps/.