Register of the Ruth A. Parmelee papers

Finding aid prepared by Jessica Lemieux
Hoover Institution Library and Archives
© 2009
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-6003
hoover-library-archives@stanford.edu


Title: Ruth A. Parmelee papers
Date (bulk): 1922-1953
Collection Number: 74099
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 8 manuscript boxes, 1 envelope (3.1 Linear Feet)
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.
Creator: Parmelee, Ruth A. (Ruth Azneve), 1885-1973
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives

Access

The collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.

Use

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 1974.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Ruth A. Parmelee papers, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

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 to 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 to 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 to 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 from 1942 to 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 to 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

The Ruth A. Parmelee papers include 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

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

 

Correspondence 1895-1969

Scope and Contents note

Correspondence with Parmelee's family and friends, primarily dating from her work in Turkey and Greece from 1919 to 1953, arranged chronologically. Correspondence directly related to Parmelee's work is found in the Work Files series.
box 1, folder 1

Letters from Julius 1895-1896

box 1, folder 2

Correspondence and selected reports 1919-1922

box 1, folder 3-5

Personal correspondence 1923-1969

box 1, folder 6-8

Letters to family 1943-1954

Scope and Contents note

Includes photographs.
 

Diaries 1913-1946

Scope and Contents note

Includes diaries describing Dr. Parmelee's daily life and work. Contains accounts of medical treatment, training nurses and midwives, and soliciting funds for work. Also depicts conditions in Greece during World War II. Arranged chronologically.
box 1, folder 9

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

box 1, folder 10

Five Year Diary 1934-1938

box 2, folder 1-3

Calendar, typescript 1935-1940

box 2, folder 3-4

Current events, typescript 1939 July 11 - 1941 July 19

box 2, folder 5

Journal 1941 July- November; 1943 March-December

box 2, folder 6

Calendar, typescript 1941 December - 1943 March

box 2, folder 7

Notes on Nuseirat and Cairo 1943-1944

box 2, folder 8-10

Handwritten notebooks 1945 February - 1946 February

box 8, folder 1

Handwritten notebooks 1946 February-November

 

Work Files 1863-1974 1863-1974

Scope and Contents 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.
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 Contents note

Contains writings, official documents, notes, and clippings dealing with the entire course of Dr. Parmelee's career and upbringing, arranged chronologically.
box 8, folder 2

Clippings from Parmelee scrapbooks 1863-1895

Scope and Contents note

Includes photographs.
box 3, folder 1

Clippings 1892-1970

box 3, folder 2

Work permits and travel documents 1896-1952

box 3, folder 3-4

Writings 1897-1967

box 3, folder 5

Refugee stories, Armenian and Greek 1917-1954

box 3, folder 6

Notes 1941-1944

box 3, folder 7

Outline of work 1960, 1969

box 3, folder 8

Vester, Bertha Spofford (Jerusalem) 1964

box 3, folder 9

Notes on Greek and Kurdish lessons undated

 

Turkey 1873-1974

Scope and Contents note

Depicts Dr. Parmelee's upbringing in Trabzon and her early work setting up a medical practice in Harpoot that specialized in obstetrics, care of war orphans, and training nurses. Arranged chronologically.
box 3, folder 10

Turkey 1873-1974

box 3, folder 11

Harpoot, Turkey 1922, 1966

 

Greece 1922-1973

Scope and Contents 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. Arranged chronologically.
box 3, folder 12

American Women's Hospital, Salonica 1922-1932

box 3, folder 13-15

American Women's Hospital, general 1923-1952

box 3, folder 16

Nursing in Greece 1923-1935

box 4, folder 1

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

box 4, folder 2-3

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

Scope and Contents note

Includes photographs.
box 4, folder 4

State School of Nursing (Greece) 1932-1937

box 4, folder 5

Pierce College 1932-1964

box 4, folder 6-7

PIKPA School of Nursing 1934-1948

box 4, folder 8

Nea Ionia hospital 1935

box 4, folder 9

World War II and occupation of Greece 1940-1947

box 4, folder 10

World War II, Greece 1941

box 4, folder 11

War relief, committee meetings 1941

box 4, folder 12

Relief work 1941-1955

box 4, folder 13-14

War relief, clippings 1941-1973

box 5, folder 1

Near East Foundation, Athens 1942-1947

box 5, folder 2

Near East Foundation annual reports 1941-1947

box 5, folder 3

Near East Foundation 1943-1948

Scope and Contents note

Includes photographs.
box 5, folder 4-5

Nuseirat refugee camp, Palestine 1943-1953

box 5, folder 6-7

Cyclades Islands 1944-1955

oversize photo file

Photographs 1899-1957

Scope and Contents note

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

Panoramic views of Erzroom and Trebizond, Turkey undated

box 5, folder 8

Portraits: Tsaldaris, Kondylis, and Plastiras undated

box 5, folder 9

Bethlehem undated

box 5, folder 10

Jerusalem undated

box 5, folder 11

Egypt undated

box 5, folder 12

Jericho undated

box 5, folder 13

Komotini undated

box 5, folder 14

Monastery orphanage and Voudritsa undated

box 5, folder 15

Pierce College undated

box 5, folder 16

Turkey undated

box 5, folder 17

Kindergarten - Trebizond 1899-1900

box 5, folder 18

Trebizond to Erzroom circa 1900

box 5, folder 19

Trebizond and the road to Erzroom 1901

box 5, folder 20-21

Trebizond 1901

box 6, folder 1-3

Harpoot, Turkey 1906-1922

box 6, folder 4

Camp Lembet, Salonica 1922

box 6, folder 5-7

Salonica 1922-1923

box 6, folder 8

Refugees 1922-1924

box 6, folder 9

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

box 6, folder 10-13

American Women's Hospital, Kokkinia 1927-1957

box 6, folder 14

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

box 6, folder 15

American Women's Hospital Clinic at Moschato 1929

box 6, folder 16

Kokkinia 1930

box 6, folder 17

Ierissos ruins 1932

box 6, folder 18

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

box 6, folder 19

Princess Irene of Greece 1938

box 6, folder 20

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

box 7, folder 1

War snapshots 1938-1947

box 7, folder 2

Emilie Willms 1938-1956

box 7, folder 3

Greek veterans 1940-1941

box 7, folder 4

Athens 1941

box 7, folder 5

Near East Foundation 1941-1946

box 7, folder 6

Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Palestine 1944

box 7, folder 7-9

Cyclades Islands 1945

box 7, folder 10

Cyclades Islands, Syros 1945

box 7, folder 11

Cyclades Islands, Milos 1945

box 7, folder 12

Cyclades Islands, Tinos 1945 August 15

box 7, folder 13

School of Physical Therapy, Athens 1946

box 7, folder 14

St. Sophia Children's Hospital 1947 August

box 7, folder 15

Naples and Gibraltar 1948

box 7, folder 16

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

box 7, folder 17

Rehabilitation Center 1951

box 7, folder 18

Ekaterini, Sevasti, and Khora 1951-1952

box 7

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