[ARCHIVE DOCUMENTING THE MILITARY SERVICE OF AIR FORCE NURSE LT. VIOLET JACKSON, AS WELL AS HER FIRST HUSBAND GEORGE TIDWELL, AIR FORCE TRAINING OFFICER AT THE ARCTIC SURVIVAL SCHOOL, AND HER SECOND HUSBAND CLAY KEMP, NAVY SURGICAL ASSISTANT IN GUAM].

[Various places, as described below. ca. 1946-1955]. Three photograph albums with 620 photographs (most corner-mounted or mounted with glue), measuring from 1 1/2 x 2 inches to 8 x 10 inches; forty-two pieces of ephemera (some mounted in albums); ninety-three letters, folded, in envelopes (some letters stored in a stationery box); four telegrams, two in envelopes; one photograph portfolio. First photo album: Oblong folio. Tan leatherette with gilt and blind stamping on front board, tied with cord. Several leaves detached but present, most leaves with chipped edges; some photo mounts reinforced with old tape; several photos lightly curled or creased at corners. Second photo album: Oblong quarto. Black pebbled leatherette, two- ring binding. Minor wear to covers. Third album: Oblong quarto. Brown textured leatherette, tied with cord. Lacking front board, one leaf detached but present, most leaves with chipped edges, some photos mildly warped or creased at edges. Overall very good. Item #WRCAM55695

A fascinating archive of material documenting Violet Jackson's (1925-2008) service as an Air Force nurse during the Korean War, with letters from and photographs of her first husband, George D. "Tid" Tidwell, and a photograph album from her second husband, Clay E. Kemp. The first album belongs to Violet Jackson, and about half of it consists of images from her service in the 3700th Station Medical Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas in 1950; the other half consists of images from her time at the Macon Hospital School of Nursing in Georgia, which she attended before joining the Air Force. Photos are not chronological, nor are they always grouped by location or theme. Most photos are captioned in ink on their margins, identifying the subjects and location. One series of images shows a trip to Mexico by Jackson and her fellow Lackland nurses. This seems to have been a mix of business and pleasure. There are shots of them visiting a market, several cafés and bars, a brewery, and waterfalls, but most of the images feature the nurses and accompanying male officers in uniform. During this trip, they were hosted by Mexican General Roamus at his substantial estate; Jackson includes several photos of this visit. Many of the Georgia images depict a young and lively group of nursing students and nurses enjoying time off with friends and sweethearts. There are fewer shots of on- duty scenes. There are several ephemeral items pasted in, including a 1948 menu from a Junior Red Cross Christmas party in Winston- Salem, North Carolina and a cloth U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps badge. The second album, also Jackson's, covers her tour in Europe. The album begins with a taped-in newspaper clipping announcing her deployment, along with a brief article about George Tidwell's service in Alaska. The photos are captioned in white pencil below the images and sometimes in ink on the image, and begin with a few shots at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and then of Jackson boarding the USNS "General Maurice Rose." There are a number of photographs of the voyage to England aboard ship, including the ship itself and other troops onboard. There are sightseeing photos of England (including Blackpool and Buckingham Palace) and RAF Burtonwood, the joint British-American air base. There are also additional sightseeing photos of West Germany, including a set of tourist photos from Wiesbaden, and several photos of interiors and exteriors of the hospital where Jackson served, including photos of patients. Laid into the album is a family photo of Jackson, Tidwell, and their son Stephen, and a baptismal certificate for Stephen. The third album belongs to Clay Kemp and covers his service in the Pacific, in particular at the USNAB Agana on Guam, where he worked in the dispensary as a surgical assistant. The album begins with a cartoon map of Guam and a Navy baggage tag for Kemp dated November 28, 1946. Most photos are captioned in ink on the image and feature images of the base, fellow sailors, and scenes across the island; there are many visits to the beach. A brief series of photos document damage from a recent typhoon. There are also photos of the airfield and transport planes coming and going. Finally, nineteen photos depict a trip to Hong Kong. All but two of the letters in the archive are from George Tidwell to Jackson. Tidwell and Jackson likely met while at Lackland, though the letters start once Tidwell is transferred to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi (seventeen letters). Then Tidwell is briefly at Sampson AFB in New York (nine letters), and then Florida while on his way to Alaska (one letter). Tidwell worked primarily as a training officer during his time in the Air Force, and in 1951 he was assigned to the Arctic Survival School/Arctic Indoctrination School at Ladd AFB near Fairbanks, Alaska (thirty-nine letters). This school was a relatively new concept, founded in 1947 to give downed airmen and pilots the skills needed to survive and escape in extreme weather conditions should a war break out with the Soviet Union. Many of Tidwell's letters describe life at the school as boring, with grumpy staff and equally grumpy trainees, and regularly lament how they are all too far from any semblance of civilization - especially civilization with a decent bar. He writes of hiking and camping trips he takes his troops on to teach survival skills: "Today I took the Weasel [a tank designed for winter conditions] out and looked for a spot to use as a camp for the boys for overnite…we are going to feed them 'c' rations…." He also writes about the lectures and classes he prepared, life on base, and needing to hitchhike to get just about anywhere. Tidwell also writes about plans he and Jackson have discussed about her moving to Alaska once her tour is finished. By April 1952, Tidwell was transferred to the 449th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, also at Ladd, tasked with guarding against potential Soviet incursions in the region (twenty-five letters). In this posting he served as supply officer, and he describes supply runs to Galena Air Force Station in west-central Alaska, and Elmendorf Air Base in Anchorage. The squadron knew how to enjoy themselves, and Tidwell recounts several alcohol-infused events. Overall, Tidwell's letters are chatty and consist primarily of information about his varying duties and frustrations with those in his command and military bureaucracy in general. He is generally quite affectionate towards Jackson, and even racy at times. He also alludes frequently to paying off debts, about which Jackson apparently teased him regularly. The other two letters in the archive are from two of Jackson's former fellow nursing officers from Lackland, updating her on news and scandals, both dated 1951, and both reporting on a water poisoning epidemic on base. One Lt. Wilson writes, "Tony told you that Magner is going to get married, but she didn't tell you the whole story. About two weeks ago Lt. Hodgkins took her awide [sic] after drill and told her that if she went out with Walter agaon [sic] he would courtmartial her.…Then the Major called her in and gave her a direct order not to see Walter on the Base. So, they are going to get married as soon as they can afford it." There is also a manuscript note in the margin: "Also, Lt. Hodgkins is the father of [Libby's?] baby – he also gave her syphilis! – his wife has syphilis too. How's that!" The other letter, from Lt. Dermonth, is less expertly typed; she begins: "Jezuz pleas3 excuse this poor pion as i don't even know how to type today or for thzt mattdr any other day G-- D----?" She proceeds to recount a plague of scorpions and the announcement that "Lt. Black namely blackie got her Captaincy which dated back to June of 1949. Hot spit hows that for a first john?..." She closes the letter: "Well gal, best i shove off…blackie is waiting with beer and i repeat BEER BEER BEER for us to celebrate her promotion." Also included is a large photo depicting the members of Squadron 3736, Flight 4737, stationed at Lackland AFB in March, 1950. Tidwell is featured as "Training Officer." Notably, the photo reveals that this Flight is integrated; Lackland was one of the first bases where the Air Force started integrating active units, following President Truman's executive order ending segregation in the military in 1948. Additional documents include a folded certificate for Jackson's completion of the "Medical Department Female Officers' Basic Course;" a folded "Air Force Reserve Inventory Questionnaire" Jackson filled out as part of her application to the Air Force; and documents establishing Jackson's retention and readiness status for service. Unfortunately, this collection does not disclose why Jackson and Tidwell split, what happened to Tidwell, or how she and Kemp found each other, although her obituary notes that she and Kemp stayed married until his death in 1998 (ATHENS BANNER-HERALD, January 13, 2008). Jackson remained in nursing, eventually retiring from Central State Hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia, as the Operating Room Supervisor. Kemp became a pastor in the United Methodist Church. An engaging collection about a vibrant and adventurous trio of people, all of whom served in the military from the immediate post-World War II era through the early years of the Cold War.

Price: $2,850.00

Archive of the Military Career of Nurse and Her Two Husbands, Both of Whom Also Served