Register of the Ruth A. Parmelee papers, 1865-1974 (bulk 1922-1953)

Finding aid prepared by Jessica Lemieux.
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, 94305-6010
(650) 723-3563
archives@hoover.stanford.edu
© 2009


Title: Ruth A. Parmelee papers
Date (inclusive): 1865-1974
Date (bulk): 1922-1953
Collection number: 74099
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, 94305-6010
(650) 723-3563
archives@hoover.stanford.edu
Language: English
Physical Description: 7 manuscript boxes, 1 envelope (2.9 linear feet)
Language of Materials: The collection is in English and Greek.
Abstract: Includes diaries, notes, correspondence, reports, clippings, printed matter, and photographs, relating to the life and work of Dr. Ruth A. Parmelee. Parmelee was born and brought up in Turkey by her missionary parents. After her education in the United States, she began a long career in establishing reliable medical service in the Near East. Working in Turkey, Greece, and Palestine, Parmelee specialized in obstetrics, training nurses, caring for war orphans, and in refugee relief work.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
General Physical Description note: 7 manuscript boxes, 1 envelope (2.9 linear feet)
creator: Parmelee, Ruth A., 1885-1973.

Arrangement Statement

The collection is organized into four series: Correspondence, 1895-1969; Diaries, 1913-1946; Work files, 1863-1974 (bulk 1922-1953); and Photographs, 1899-1957.

Access

Collection is open for research.
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Publication Rights

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ruth A. Parmelee papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1974.

Accruals

Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at http://searchworks.stanford.edu/ . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

Biographical Note

Ruth A. Parmelee was born in Trebizond (now called Trabzon), Turkey on April 3, 1885. She studied with her missionary parents, Dr. and Mrs. M.P. Parmelee, until the family returned to the United States when she was eleven years old. Parmelee received her B.A. from Oberlin College in 1907 and her M.D. from the University of Illinois in 1912. She completed her internship at Philadelphia Women's Hospital.
Dr. Parmelee sailed for Turkey in May 1914 and was the first woman physician to settle in the Euphrates Valley. She set up a medical practice in Harpoot, specializing in obstetrics, care of war orphans, and training nurses. She continued this work until 1917, then resumed the same post from 1919-1922. In October of 1922, she moved to Thessaloniki, Greece, where she worked under the American Women's Hospitals (AWH) organization, and with their support opened a hospital and the first school of nursing in Greece. From 1925-1933, Dr. Parmelee was appointed Director of the AWH Grecian Area. During this period, she directed the hospital in Kokkinia and continued to run the school of nursing, which moved with her from Thessaloniki. At Kokkinia, Dr. Parmelee was assisted by Emilie Willms, R.N.
After a period of sick leave in the United States, Dr. Parmelee returned to Greece. From 1935-1941, she settled in Athens and worked with several institutions as an advisor, council member, or director, including: Athens Municipal Hospital, Kokkinia Hospital, Council for a Nursing School for Public Health, Patriotic Foundation of Social Welfare and Prevention (PIKPA) School of Nursing, Archbishop's Committee for Relief of Bombarded Families, Seventh Military Hospital, AWH Civilian Relief Center, and the Greek War Relief Committee.
In 1941, Dr. Parmelee left Greece due to the German occupation. She returned to the United States and studied at Harvard University in 1942-1943, where she earned the degree of Master of Public Health. In September of 1943, the Near East Foundation sent Parmelee with a relief group to the aid of Greek refugees at Camp Nuseirat, near Gaza in Palestine. As Senior Medical Officer, she was responsible for 8000 escapees from the German occupation. The refugees came from the island of Samos, the Dodecanese Islands, and mainland Greece. In the autumn of 1945, Dr. Parmelee was appointed to serve as the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration's (UNRRA) Regional Medical Officer in the Cyclades Islands. From 1946-1947, Parmelee returned to Athens, where she acted as Medical Advisor and Director of the Near East Foundation's School of Physical Therapy. After a leave of absence spent in the United States, Dr. Parmelee returned again to Greece in 1948. She served Pierce College in Elleniko (near Athens) until 1953, teaching hygiene, community health, and medical information for social workers. She then returned to the United States, and died in 1973.
In recognition of her service, Dr. Parmelee received several awards. She was appointed by King Paul of Greece as Commander of the the Royal Order of Efpiia in 1953, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Oberlin College in 1943, was awarded the Silver Cross of the Chevalier of the Order of the Savior by King George II of Greece, and was given a citation for outstanding and meritorious service in 1945 by General Sir Bernard Paget, British Commander of the Middle East Forces.

Scope and Content of Collection

Includes diaries, notes, correspondence, reports, clippings, printed matter, and photographs, relating to the life and work of Dr. Ruth A. Parmelee. Parmelee was born and brought up in Turkey by her missionary parents. After her education in the United States, she began a long career in establishing reliable medical service in the Near East. Working in Turkey, Greece, and Palestine, Parmelee specialized in obstetrics, training nurses, caring for war orphans, and in refugee relief work.
The collection consists of four series, each of which presents a different aspect of Dr. Parmelee's achievements. The Correspondence series contains letters with family and friends, and provides a personal narrative account of setting up Parmelee's medical practice, caring for refugees, and establishing nursing schools and hospitals. Typescripts and handwritten notes in the Diaries series record Parmelee's daily routine, though the level of detail varies greatly from day to day. The Work files series comprises the bulk of the collection and provides an official account of Parmelee's work. Through reports and correspondence, this series documents Parmelee's role in establishing nursing schools, promoting access to quality medical care among the poor, and caring for refugees. It also reflects her efforts on behalf of several relief organizations, including the American Women's Hospital, the Near East Foundation, and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Finally, the Photographs series illustrates Dr. Parmelee's travels, the cities and landscape where she lived, and her work in the camps, hospitals, and nursing schools.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
American Women's Hospitals.
Near East Foundation.
Near East Relief (Organization)
United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.
Greco-Turkish War, 1921-1922--Medical care.
International relief.
Nursing--Greece.
Refugees.
World War, 1914-1918--Civilian relief.
World War, 1914-1918--Medical care.
World War, 1914-1918--Turkey.
World War, 1939-1945--Civilian relief.
World War, 1939-1945--Greece.
World War, 1939-1945--Medical care.
World War, 1939-1945--Middle East.

Box: 1

Correspondence, 1895-1969

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence with Parmelee's family and friends, primarily dating from her work in Turkey and Greece from 1919-1953. Correspondence directly related to Parmelee's work is found in the Work files series.

Arrangement

Arranged in chronological order.
Box/Folder: 1 : 1

Letters from Julius, 1895-1896

Box/Folder: 1 : 2

Correspondence and selected reports, 1919-1922

Box/Folder: 1 : 3-5

Personal correspondence, 1923-1969

Box/Folder: 1 : 6-8

Letters to family, 1943-1954

Scope and Content Note

Includes photographs
Box: 1-2

Diaries, 1913-1946

Scope and Content Note

Includes diaries describing Dr. Parmelee's daily life and work. Contains accounts medical treatment, training nurses and midwives, and soliciting funds for work. Also depicts conditions in Greece during World War II.

Arrangement

Arranged in chronological order.
Box/Folder: 1 : 9

Line a Day, 1913-1916, 1919, 1927, 1939-1941

Box/Folder: 1 : 10

Five Year Diary, 1934-1938

Box/Folder: 2 : 1-3

Calendar, typescript, 1935-1940

Box/Folder: 2 : 3-4

Current events, typescript, 1939 July 11-1941 July 19

Box/Folder: 2 : 5

Journal, 1941 July- November, 1943 March-December

Box/Folder: 2 : 6

Calendar, typescript, 1941 December-1943 March

Box/Folder: 2 : 7

Notes on Nuseirat and Cairo, 1943-1944

Box/Folder: 2 : 8-10

Handwritten notebooks, 1945 February-1946 November

Box: 2-5

Work files, 1863-1974 Bulk, 1922-1953

Scope and Content Note

Includes correspondence, reports, clippings, printed matter, and official documents reflecting Dr. Parmelee's work in Greece, Turkey, and Palestine. This series illustrates Parmelee's role in establishing nursing schools in Greece, promoting access to quality medical care among the poor, and caring for refugees displaced by the Armenian massacres, Greco-Turkish war, and two World Wars. The material also reflects the career of Parmelee's friend and colleague Emilie Willms, and the involvement of several relief organizations, including the American Women's Hospital, the Near East Foundation, and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration.

Arrangement

Arranged in three subseries: General, 1863-1969; Turkey, 1873-1974; and Greece, 1922-1973. Material relating to Nuseirat Refugee Camp in Palestine is filed in the Greece subseries, since the refugees involved were Greek.
 

General, 1863-1969

Scope and Content Note

Contains writings, official documents, notes, and clippings dealing with the entire course of Dr. Parmelee's career and upbringing.

Arrangement

Arranged in chronological order
Box/Folder: 2 : 11

Clippings from Parmelee scrapbooks, 1863-1895

Scope and Content Note

Includes photographs
Box/Folder: 3 : 1

Clippings, 1892-1970

Box/Folder: 3 : 2

Work permits and travel documents, 1896-1952

Box/Folder: 3 : 3-4

Writings, 1897-1967

Box/Folder: 3 : 5

Refugee stories, Armenian and Greek, 1917-1954

Box/Folder: 3 : 6

Notes, 1941-1944

Box/Folder: 3 : 7

Outline of work, 1960, 1969

Box/Folder: 3 : 8

Vester, Bertha Spofford (Jerusalem), 1964

Box/Folder: 3 : 9

Notes on Greek and Kurdish lessons, undated

 

Turkey, 1873-1974

Scope and Content Note

Depicts Dr. Parmelee's upbringing in Trabzon and her early work setting up a medical practice in Harpoot which specialized in obstetrics, care of war orphans, and training nurses.

Arrangement

Arranged in chronological order
Box/Folder: 3 : 10

Turkey, 1873-1974

Box/Folder: 3 : 11

Harpoot, Turkey, 1922, 1966

 

Greece, 1922-1973

Scope and Content Note

Reports, correspondence, clippings, and notes regarding Parmelee's work in Greece and Palestine. Depicts Parmelee's work establishing and reforming hospitals, establishing nursing schools, and caring for refugees. In addition to work that took place in Greece, this subseries includes material on Camp Nuseirat near Gaza, where Dr. Parmelee took charge of a camp of Greek refugees.

Arrangement

Arranged in chronological order
Box/Folder: 3 : 12

American Women's Hospital, Salonica, 1922-1932

Box/Folder: 3 : 13-15

American Women's Hospital, general, 1923-1952

Box/Folder: 4 : 1

Nursing in Greece, 1923-1935

Box/Folder: 4 : 1

Nursing in Greece as related to Emilie Willms and Ruth Parmelee, 1923-1960

Box/Folder: 4 : 2-3

American Women's Hospital, Kokkinia, Greece, 1929-1952

Scope and Content Note

Includes photographs
Box/Folder: 4 : 4

State School of Nursing (Greece), 1932-1937

Box/Folder: 4 : 5

Pierce College, 1932-1964

Box/Folder: 4 : 6-7

PIKPA School of Nursing, 1934-1948

Box/Folder: 4 : 8

Nea Ionia hospital 1935

Box/Folder: 4 : 9

World War II and occupation of Greece, 1940-1947

Box/Folder: 4 : 10

World War II, Greece, 1941

Box/Folder: 4 : 11

War relief, committee meetings, 1941

Box/Folder: 4 : 12

Relief work, 1941-1955

Box/Folder: 4 : 13-14

War relief, clippings, 1941-1973

Box/Folder: 5 : 2

Near East Foundation, Athens, 1942-1947

Box/Folder: 4 : 1

Near East Foundation annual reports, 1941-1947

Box/Folder: 5 : 4-5

Near East Foundation, 1943-1948

Scope and Content Note

Includes photographs
Box/Folder: 4 : 9

Nuseirat refugee camp, Palestine 1943-1953

Box/Folder: 5 : 6-7

Cyclades Islands, 1944-1955

Box/Folder: 5-7

Photographs, 1899-1957

Physical Description: 1.0 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

Contains photographic prints and negatives depicting Parmelee's work, including hospitals, staff, refugees. Includes images of Turkey, Greece, and Palestine.

Arrangement

Arranged in chronological order
Envelope: mA

Panoramic views of Erzroom and Trebizond, Turkey, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 8

Portraits: Tsaldaris, Kondylis, and Plastiras, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 9

Bethlehem, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 10

Jerusalem, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 11

Egypt, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 12

Jericho, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 13

Komotini, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 14

Monastery orphanage and Voudritsa, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 15

Pierce College, undated

Box/Folder: 5 : 16

Turkey, undated

Box: 7

Album of views of Trebizond, Egypt, Constantinople, and relief work in Trebizond, 1895-1904

Box/Folder: 5 : 17

Kindergarten - Trebizond, 1899-1900

Box/Folder: 5 : 18

Trebizond to Erzroom, circa 1900

Box/Folder: 5 : 19

Trebizond and the road to Erzroom, 1901

Box/Folder: 5 : 20-21

Trebizond, 1901

Box/Folder: 6 : 1-3

Harpoot, Turkey, 1906-1922

Box/Folder: 6 : 4

Camp Lembet, Salonica, 1922

Box/Folder: 6 : 5-7

Salonica, 1922-1923

Box/Folder: 6 : 8

Refugees, 1922-1924

Box/Folder: 6 : 9

American Women's Hospital, Salonica and Kokkinia, 1924-1932

Box/Folder: 6 : 10-13

American Women's Hospital, Kokkinia, 1927-1957

Box/Folder: 6 : 14

American Women's Hospital, Kokkinia, and School of Nursing, 1925-1934

Box/Folder: 6 : 15

American Women's Hospital Clinic at Moschato, 1929

Box/Folder: 6 : 16

Kokkinia, 1930

Box/Folder: 6 : 17

Ierissos ruins, 1932

Box/Folder: 6 : 18

Children's Hospitals, St. Sophia and Kokkinia, 1932-1940

Box/Folder: 6 : 19

Princess Irene of Greece, 1938

Box/Folder: 6 : 20

P.I.K.P.A. School, 1938-1939

Box/Folder: 7 : 1

War snapshots, 1938-1947

Box/Folder: 7 : 2

Emilie Willms, 1938-1956

Box/Folder: 7 : 3

Greek veterans, 1940-1941

Box/Folder: 7 : 4

Athens, 1941

Box/Folder: 7 : 5

Near East Foundation, 1941-1946

Box/Folder: 7 : 6

Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Palestine, 1944

Box/Folder: 7 : 7-9

Cyclades Islands, 1945

Box/Folder: 7 : 10

Cyclades Islands, Syros, 1945

Box/Folder: 7 : 11

Cyclades Islands, Milos, 1945

Box/Folder: 7 : 12

Cyclades Islands, Tinos, 1945 August 15

Box/Folder: 7 : 13

School of Physical Therapy, Athens, 1946

Box/Folder: 7 : 14

St. Sophia Children's Hospital, 1947 August

Box/Folder: 7 : 15

Naples and Gibraltar, 1948

Box/Folder: 7 : 16

Pierce College garden party for veterans (old campus), 1949 June 4

Box/Folder: 7 : 17

Rehabilitation Center, 1951

Box/Folder: 7 : 18

Ekaterini, Sevasti, and Khora, 1951-1952