Fonds - Helen Woolson fonds

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Helen Woolson fonds

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4 cm of textual records 105 photographs 1 postcard

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Biographical history

One of six children of William A. Woolson and Janet (Jessie) Murdoch Woolson, Helen Woolson was born in Ingersoll, Ontario on March 2, 1888. She graduated from St. Joseph‟s Hospital School of Nursing in 1908. Woolson enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in May of 1916, and was initially assigned to the No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital, the hospital unit established by Western University and commanded by Dr. Edwin Seaborn. Upon mobilization of the unit, Woolson travelled to England with other nursing sisters in June of 1916, but was reassigned in July to the No. 1 Canadian General Hospital. Despite requests from Seaborn to restore the original members of the No. 10 staff, Woolson remained with the No. 1 General for the duration of the war and was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 2nd class, in June, 1919. Following the war, Woolson nursed at Byron Sanatorium and at Speedwell Hospital in Guelph; served as an investigator with the Canadian Pension Commission for Military District No. 1, London; and was night supervisor at St. Joseph‟s Hospital School of Nursing from the1940s until 1957. Called “Aunt Hylo” by family members, Helen Woolson lived for most of her life in London, Ontario. She died in that city on January 10, 1973.

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The fonds consists of materials related to Helen Woolson‟s career as a nursing sister in World War I and her personal life. Fonds is comprised of the following series: Photographs Personal Papers

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Donated by Cherie Fry, niece of Helen Woolson, in 2005.


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  1. Woolson's Officers' Declaration Paper and the war diaries of the No. 1 Canadian General Hospital and the No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital are available online at Library and Archives Canada. 2. Additional information relating to the nursing sisters of the No. 10 Canadian Stationary Hospital can be found in the No. 10 Canadian Stationary fonds and in the Edwin Seaborn fonds.

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General note

  1. The No. 1 Canadian General Hospital was established at Etaples, France in 1916. Following bombing raids on May 31 and June 1, 1918, the hospital was relocated to Trouville. 2. Instituted by Queen Victoria in 1883, the Royal Red Cross is an honourary award conferred by the monarch upon a fully trained nurse who has demonstrated special devotion or competency while engaging in nursing or hospital duties with the military forces. Recipients of the award are designated “Members” and can use the letters “RRC” after their names. The Royal Red Cross, 2nd class was instituted during World War I. Recipients are designated “Associates” and can used the letters “ARRC” after their names. Holders of the 2nd class award are promoted to the 1st class upon a second award. 3. Biographical information has been provided by Cherie Fry and obtained from The London Free Press and the Ingersoll Tribune.

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