Category Archives: World War 1

World War I exhibit featured in Frederick News-Post story

OVER THERE, our exhibit on the Daughters of Charity’s service in the First World War, was the subject of a feature story in the July 5 Frederick (MD) News-Post.

Read the story here: Over There: New exhibit shows sisters’ service as nurses in World War I

OVER THERE is on display through October 30.
The exhibit is open to the public on Wednesdays from 10am to 4pm. Admission is free.

A companion video to the exhibit is available online at our Vimeo site:
OVER THERE Part 1
OVER THERE Part 2

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcements, World War 1

World War One: Account of Charles Holden

Charles Holden, as pictured in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 3, 1918 (courtesy Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Charles Holden, as pictured in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 3, 1918 (courtesy Brooklyn Daily Eagle)

Sister Catherine Coleman, who recorded Holden's death in her diary (used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

Sister Catherine Coleman, who recorded Holden’s death in her diary (used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While working with researchers, we often find that their research interests can help us shed additional light on the history found in our own collections. Recently we worked with a researcher who had done extensive study of Sisters’ nursing service in both the Spanish American War and World War I. To our delight, she shared with us information which filled in the gaps to a particularly moving story connected with our current exhibit, “Over There”. In her wartime diary, Sister Catherine Coleman eloquently recorded the death of a young solder who passed away in October 1918 at Base Hospital 102 in Vicenza, Italy. She wrote:

“An American boy from New York by the name of Holden died of Pneumonia. He leaves his parents and a brother and sister in New York. He was baptized before his death. When asked what message he would like to have sent to his people, he said that is a hard thing to have to talk about, and asked Sister what she would say. The subject was dropped for the present, and as he grew weaker, he was asked the second time and he said: Tell my people I have fought hard against death, but it must be. Tell them I am glad to die for my country. He was a lovely boy, just 21 yrs. Old. While in New York he posed for the Arrow collar for three years. Many remembered having seen his picture in the papers wearing the Arrow Collar. His Regiment took charge of the body. He was taken from the hospital to the cemetery. Six of the Sisters and a number of Nurses attended his funeral. His body lies at the foot of the Alps on a little mound, a very beautiful spot. He was buried with Military Honors. One of his comrades read the burial services at the grave. Sister Chrysostom wrote his mother a gave her an account of his death, also pressed one of the flowers from his grave and sent it in the letter.”

Our researcher shared with us articles from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle which provided a picture of Holden and verified his full name, age, rank, and hometown. Private Charles H. Holden, age 21, of Brooklyn, New York, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Holden. He had joined the Army as an ambulance driver. One of the articles quoted the complete text of the letter written by Sr. Chrysostum Moynahan to Holden’s parents after he died. We were pleased to see this letter, as it does not survive in our collection. It reads:

Somewhere in Italy
October 11, 1918
Mrs. Harry Holden, Brooklyn, NY

Sister Chrysostum Moynahan, Chief Nurse at Base Hospital 102 (used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

Sister Chrysostum Moynahan, Chief Nurse at Base Hospital 102 (used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

Dear Mrs. Holden and Family,
The object of this note is to tell you something of the last illness and death of your dear boy, as I am sure you will appreciate a word direct from the hospital where he passed away.

He was admitted to our base hospital on September 31 (sic) a very ill boy, having been sick with pneumonia four days previous. From the very beginning he seemed to realize that he was not going to recover. The only thing that seemed to worry him was the grief it would cause his family. He said to tell you that he loved all; parents, brother, and sister, and that he hoped to see you again. He was glad to die a soldier and for his country, and though he was most anxious to get well and fight with our boys, he was perfectly resigned to do God’s holy will.

His death on October 4 caused grief and sorrow among his comrades, who said so many lovely things about him. He was buried October 6, with all military honors. His funeral procession was formed of the officers and enlisted men of his regiment, followed by some officers and enlisted men of our unit, also six Sisters of Charity and forty nurses. Many of the inhabitants of the town also followed to pay respect to the American soldier. Some of them have passed through many bitter trials during this war, and could truly sympathize with your loss. He had many beautiful floral pieces, each design being tied with long wide streamers of our national colors.

One of the nurses who nursed him secured a piece of ribbon for you, and I took one of the flowers, which you will find enclosed. The services at the grave were performed by a minister of your own faith. After the service he spoke beautifully of your dear boy, and, judging from all that he said of him, he must certainly have been a dear good young man. Our Sister de Sales had charge of him during his illness, and he was most grateful to Sister and the nurses for any little attention he received.

Sister DeSales Loftus, who cared for Holden prior to his death (used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

Sister DeSales Loftus, who cared for Holden prior to his death (used with permission of Daughters of Charity Provincial Archives)

Trusting that our dear Lord will give you and all his dear ones all the grace and strength necessary to bear up under this great trial our dear Master has been pleased to send you in the death of your darling boy, and with the heartfelt sympathy of the officers, sisters, and nurses of Base Hospital #102, I remain,

Yours respectfully,
Sister Chrysostom
Chief Nurse

Private Charles Holden no longer rests in the beautiful spot at the foot of the Alps that Sr. Catherine described in her diary. During World War I it was common practice for soldiers and Army nurses who died to be buried in temporary cemeteries near the battlefield or military hospital. After the war permanent sites were selected for cemeteries. Depending upon the wishes of the next of kin on record remains were either sent back to the US or re-interred in a permanent American cemetery. Today, Holden’s grave can be found in the American Cemetery at Suresne, France.

“Over There” is on display in the Provincial Archives through October 30.

Leave a comment

Filed under Health Care, Ministries, World War 1

Preservation Projects: Digital Initiatives

A selection of the original glass plate negatives from our World War I holdings , on display as part of the "Over There" exhibit (used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

A selection of the original glass plate negatives from our World War I holdings , on display as part of the “Over There” exhibit (used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

Digital images on display in "Over There" (used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

Digital images on display in “Over There” (used with permission of the Provincial Archives)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our efforts to preserve the Daughters’ legacy for years to come, we have worked with a number of specialists in art, book, and paper conservation. In addition, we have worked with experts in digital technology to make high-quality reproductions of archival materials. Digital copies allow us to reduce wear and tear on fragile originals and facilitate online access over the web and social media. In addition, digital technology can make obsolete formats once again accessible to scholars and the public. Such is the case with the images now on display as part of our exhibit, “Over There:” The Daughters of Charity’s Service in the First World War. The collections of the former St. Louis Province include a set of approximately 100 glass plate negatives depicting the Sisters’ World War I service. These negatives included images of the Sisters, the lay nurses who served with them, the hospital where they served, and the fighting along the Italian Front. Because of their format they could be not be studied, and had never been exhibited. They were digitized in 2009 by Digital Preservation, of St. Louis. With Over There, the World War I images are on display for the first time. Digital images were used to create all the photos used in both the physical exhibit and the companion video. Digital technology will play an important role in future preservation efforts.

Over There will be on display through October 30.
Exhibit hours for Sisters, Associates, and volunteers on the Emmitsburg Campus: Monday-Friday, 8AM to 4:30PM
Exhibit hours for the general public: Wednesdays, 10AM to 4PM.
All exhibits are free of charge.

The Over There video may be viewed online using the links below.
Part 1:
Part 2

Leave a comment

Filed under Exhibits, Preservation, World War 1