Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Osborn, Ella Jane (fl. 1918-1919) [Diary of World War I army nurse Ella Jane Osborn] [word processed inventory available]

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06570 Author/Creator: Osborn, Ella Jane (fl. 1918-1919) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph manuscript signed Date: 1 January 1918 - 29 April 1919 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Ella Jane Osborn, originally from Wainscott, Long Island, New York, departed as an Army Nurse in January of 1918 and spent the majority of her assignment stationed near Toul and Nancy, in the Lorraine region of northeastern France, near the German border. She traveled extensively, spending time in London, Paris, Cannes, Blois Monte Carlo, Nice, and Antibes. She returned to New York by boat in March of 1919. Occasionally describes a particularly sad or touching death. Discusses in great detail the rumors and news she receives regarding Allied victories and defeats, and the negotiations of Armistice between the warring factions. Focuses on the daily life and society she creates for herself in France. Most entries describe her daily schedule, chores she undertakes, and her social engagements. Describes social activities such as hitching rides with soldiers into nearby towns, nearly missing curfews, climbing mountains, and viewing moving pictures. Discusses a serious battle with what might have been the Spanish Flu during the pandemic of 1918. Entries date from 1 January 1918 until 29 April 1919. Inserted items removed but stored with diary. Inventory available.

People: Osborn, Ella Jane, fl. 1918-1919.

Historical Era: Progressive Era to New Era, 1900-1929

Keywords/Subjects: Progressive Era, Woman Author, Women's History, Soldier's Diary, Hospital, World War I, Global History and Civics, Foreign Affairs, Death, Travel, Injury or Wound, Health and Medical, Diplomacy, Treaty, Battle, France, Entertaining and Hospitality, Sports and Games, Art, Music, Theater, and Film, Epidemic, Military History

Sub Era: World War One