Last week we shared some highlights from a recently digitized collection (See: New Digital Partnership: Museum of Nursing History), and we’ve just added some additional items – the scrapbook and papers of World War II Army Nurse Jessie Margaret Ada Mutch (1905-2012).
Ada Mutch was born February 2, 1905 in Scotland and emigrated to the U.S. in 1912 with her parents and siblings. Reverend Andrew Mutch, her father, was Pastor of the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Ms. Mutch was educated at The Baldwin School and then earned her Nursing Degree at the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital School in New York. In World War II she enlisted in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She served from 1942-1946 and distinguished herself in the European Theater of Operations. She then returned to Columbia-Presbyterian to pursue her career in nursing, along with a master’s degree in 1948. She held a dual position as Assistant Director of Nursing and Assistant Professor of Nursing at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. In 1955 she became the Director of Nursing at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania until her retirement in 1970. She was active for many years as a volunteer for ElderNet, and died on January 27, 2012, one week before her 107th birthday.
Items in this collection include a large scrapbook compiled during her time serving in the U.S. Army Nurse Corp, as well as various materials relating to her career in the army and as a nurse. The disbound scrapbook is on brittle paper and very fragile in nature. Digitization serves as a preservation strategy by creating a surrogate version of the item that allows for immediate access. We are proud to partner with the Museum of Nursing History to digitize the history of this important profession.
Most of the scrapbook appears to be from her time in France and contains many French theater programs and souvenirs, photographs, maps, correspondence, newspaper and newsletter clippings and full articles, and several United States government publications from the War Department. Ada Mutch served overseas for three years and two months during World War II. Initially she was a 1st Lieutenant and Assistant Chief Nurse in England; and subsequently became director of the Nursing Section, Northern Ireland Base Section. She later acted in this capacity in France, in the Brittany Base Section, and then in the Burgundy Bay Section, concluding her service in Europe as Director of the Nursing Service in the 807th Hospital Center.
We were able to scan only a portion of this collection before the temporary closure of campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are eager to return to campus and share the remainder of this exceptional scrapbook and additional items from Ms. Mutch’s collection – as soon as it is safe!