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Inventory of the Harriet Mills McKay papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Collection Summary

    Title: Harriet Mills McKay papers
    Dates: 1937-1994
    Dates: (bulk 1937-1949)
    Collection Number: 94007
    Creator: McKay, Harriet Mills, d. 1949
    Collection Size: 4 manuscript boxes (1.6 linear feet)
    Repository: Hoover Institution Archives
    Stanford, California 94305-6010
    Abstract: The collection is comprised of Harriet Mills McKay's diaries, manuscripts, correspondence, and photographs, relating primarily to conditions in the Philippines under Japanese occupation in World War II. It also includes manuscripts written by her daughter, Mary Maynard and another American, Evelyn Burchfield, relating to the same subject.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
    Languages: In English

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.
    The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.

    Publication Rights

    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Harriet Mills McKay papers, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1994.


    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.

    Related Materials

    Francis Willard Brush papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Ann Miller Depew papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    James J. Halsema papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Harriet Mills McKay and Douglas McKay papers, Orin G. Libby Manuscript Collection, Repository
    George C. Mora papers, Hoover Institution Archives
    Katherine Ream Sobeck papers, Hoover Institution Archives

    Biographical Note

    Harriet Mills McKay was born on November 6, 1896. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Mills. She graduated from Park River High School, North Dakota, and later from the University of North Dakota in 1920 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Harriet married Douglas McKay soon after her graduation and had two children, Robert and Mary.
    In 1937 Harriet moved with her husband and children to the Philippines when Douglas became the manager-director of the Mindanao Mother Lode mines. During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Harriet, Douglas, Mary, and other civilians fled their homes and went into hiding with guerrillas in the jungle for nearly two years. At this time her son Robert was a boarding student at Brent International School in Baguio, and was subsequently interned at the Bilibid internment camp.
    In November of 1943 Harriet, Douglas, and Mary were part of a group evacuated from the Philippines to Darwin, Australia, aboard the submarine USS Narwhal. In 1944 they returned to the United States, where Robert joined them after his liberation from Bilibid internment camp in 1945. In 1947, Harriet, Douglas and Mary returned to the Philippines, but due to the poor health of Douglas and Harriet the family returned to the United States. Harriet died on August 13, 1949, and is buried in San Francisco.
    Harriet attempted unsuccessfully to publish her memoirs "Black Island" and "No Conqueror Comes." In 2002 her daughter, Mary McKay Maynard, published her own memoir, My Faraway Home: An American Family's WWII Tale of Adventure and Survival in the Jungles of the Philippines.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Harriet Mills McKay papers relate to life in the Philippines under the Japanese occupation during World War II. They are comprised of diaries, letters, poetry fragments, government documents, photographs, notes and drafts of manuscripts written by Harriet McKay. The bulk of the material consists of drafts and notes for the manuscripts written by Harriet depicting life in the Philippines before and during the Japanese occupation. The collection also includes correspondence and materials related to the time spent in the jungle and mountains during the Japanese occupation. The collection is arranged into series.
    The Manuscripts series contains drafts of McKay's memoirs, which document her family's life preceding World War II and during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Also, included are manuscript drafts written by Evelyn Burchfield and Mary McKay Maynard.
    The Diaries and Correspondence series illustrates life during the occupation through letters and diaries that document the daily life of the McKay family in the jungle, Harriet's poetry, communication with other civilian refugees, and subsequent evacuation by the United States Navy.
    The Incremental Materials contains one DVD of a video recording documenting McKay's son Robert's experience, titled "The Bob McKay Story: An American Experience in a Japanese Internment Camp, World War II Philippines."


    The collection is organized into 3 series: Manuscripts, Diaries and Correspondence, and Incremental Materials.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    World War, 1939-1945--Philippines.
    Philippines--History--Japanese occupation, 1942-1945.