Repository: University of Virginia School of Nursing, Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry
Title: Edythe Goldstein Pallin Collection
Physical Characteristics: 1 linear foot; 4 boxes
Collector: Edythe Goldstein Pallin. Donated by Edythe Goldstein Pallin, on April 20. 2004.
Edythe Goldstein Pallin served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, posted in Japan, during the last months of World War II. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, but as a teenager, moved with her family to Los Angeles. There she graduated high school and then went on to attend UCLA, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in 1936. She graduated from the Jewish Hospital Training School for Nurses in Philadelphia in 1942 and was appointed a Reserve Nurse, Second Lieutenant, of the Army Nurse Corps in January, 1943. She served at Fort Lewis, Washington, from January until April when she was transferred to Hawaii.
Almost two years were spent on Kauai, working at several hospitals, doing further training, and adjusting to the life of a young adult in the Army. Beach scenes and tropical settings are framed by barbed-wire fences, firearms and military structure. Goldstein and her fellow nurses spent some of their time shooting, crawling through live fire, swimming with full packs and climbing up and down cargo nets. During training, she met Ralph Parker Pallin, whom she married in early 1945. Ten days after the wedding, Ralph was deployed to the Philippines, and Edythe to Japan.
Pallin was stationed at Ie Shima with the 156th Evacuation Hospital. The object of her training, caring for those stricken on the field of battle, is presented in far fewer photos than was the training environment of Kauai. Images of damaged tanks, trees, equipment and people are shown in her pictures, to be sure, but the relative scarcity of these images is eloquent. The work she and her fellow nurses, doctors, and corpsmen did is not revealed in a comprehensive documentary. Instead, most pictures show the more tolerable aspects of life on Ie Shima.
In an interview from 2004, Pallin described the need for her and her Army colleagues to exceed the traditional boundaries of nursing practice. Due to the severe and challenging conditions, they trained with rifles, worked with jury-rigged equipment and carried out medical procedures normally prohibited for nurses. Pallin also revealed the core of the experience: hunger, infection, brief periods in which to treat her patients, and the general struggle to make scarce resources meet intense demands. Pallin revealed much about her state of mind sixty years later, “...And you have red, white and blue running through your veins. Don’t forget World War II was ‘The Good War.’ That’s what it’s known as, ‘The Good War’… so you are out there to protect your God and your country.”
Scope and Content
This collection documents the experiences of Edythe Goldstein Pallin in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, from 1943 to 1945. The original setting for most collection materials was a scrapbook assembled by Pallin. It includes U.S. Army documents, various publications, correspondence, ephemera related to activities of daily life. The bulk of the collection, however, is photographic prints, many of which include context in the form of written notes either on the back or beside the original placement in the scrapbook. Most of the oldest photos are from 1943, although there are a few from Pallin’s earlier nursing school years. The latest photos are from Pallin’s last days on Ie Shima in September of 1945. A rich element of the collection is an interview that effectively provides background and context for the photographs and documents. In 2004, the collection was used as the basis for a project at the University of Virginia School Of Nursing, as part of doctoral research by Francis Bernier, PhD, RNC.
Most of the Pallin Collection is digitized, including documents, photographs and audio recordings. All of the original materials associated with a particular scrapbook page are arranged according to the page number. The smaller photographs and audio/multi-media arranged are in Series 1, subdivided into three small boxes. Series 2 includes documents and a few larger photographs. These materials, as well as a nylon map (preserved in a cylinder separate from the other materials), are in the archival room. Furthermore, there are several oversized items that are stored in the workroom’s oversized materials drawers.
Photographs and Multimedia:
Box 1, Loose photos and photos from scrapbook pages 1 to 30. Detailed content information for this box can be found in the spreadsheet (Pallin Scans).
Box 2, Photos from scrapbook pages 31 to 88. Detailed content information for this box can be found in the spreadsheet (Pallin Scans)
Box 3, CDs of Bernier research project and cassette tape of 2004 interview
Documents: Documents from pages 6 to 89. A few larger photographs are also stored in this box. Their information is cross referenced by page number in Series 1. Detailed content information for this box can be found in the spreadsheet (Pallin Scans).
Some of the materials in this collection are larger than can be accommodated in document boxes. The originals for these can be found in the workroom, Oversize Series 2, Pallin. They include: Pallin.04.57.001.01-4 (menu, Don the Beachcomber), Pallin.04.63.001-002.02 (poems, “Army Nurse”, “Army Nurses”), Pallin.02.63.001.01-.002.02 (photos, “Some nurses and doctors of the 156th Station Hospital”), Pallin.04.89.001.01, Pallin.04.89.001.02, Pallin.04.89.001.03, and Pallin.04.89.001.04 (menu, Waikiki Lau Yee Chai).
One collection item is an oversized textile map. It has not been scanned and can be found in a storage cylinder in the archival storage: AAF Cloth Map Asiatic Series, No. 34, Southeast China, [Reverse], No. 35 Northeast China
University of Virginia School of Nursing, Eleanor Crowder Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry, Edythe Goldstein Pallin Collection
Processed by Eric Drongowski in 2016.