Kate Lewis Papers
Scope and Content of the Collection
Correspondence, typed, telegrams, photographs, postcards, press clippings and other ephemera relating to Kate Lewis' experiences as a Red Cross nurse in World War I and before.
The majority of the collection is correspondence sent by Kate Lewis, a Red Cross nurse serving in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I, to her mother, Melissa Lewis. Correspondence spans Kate Lewis' time in Washington, D.C., from April-August 1918, and her time in France, from October 1918-August 1919. Also includes letters from Kate's brother, Philemon Lewis to Melissa Lewis, press clippings, a book of postcards and a copy of the memorial service for Chester Harding Plimpton.
There are two photographs in the collection: one is of Kate Lewis standing by the ambulance she drove in France, the other is an unidentified photograph of Father Christmas in front of a Christmas tree handing gifts to five children in Bézancourt, France.
- Creation: 1918-1919
- Lewis, Kate, approximately 1892-1969 (Person)
Materials are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The Kate Lewis Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).
Ownership and Literary Rights
The Kate Lewis Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.
Biography of Kate Lewis
Illinois born Red Cross nurse who served in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.
Kate Lewis Hay was born on September 2, 1892 and brought up in Springfield, Illinois. She was educated at Vassar and in the First World War she went to work in Naval Intelligence in Washington DC. Although the work was interesting in itself and she enjoyed it, her main aim at this point was to go to France as a nurse with the Red Cross. Since her brother, Philemon Lewis, was already serving in France, she had been prevented from doing so by a rule which decreed that young ladies whose brothers were serving in the forces there could not go out too. As soon as this was overturned, she went. After the Armistice she stayed on to help with reconstruction work finally returning to the US in the summer of 1919.
She had many friends and travelled extensively. In particular she enjoyed a long friendship with Vachel Lindsay, who wrote a poem for her. In 1927 she married Colonel Arthur Sidney Hay, DSO, a retired Indian Army officer, in England where she lived for the rest of her life. They settled in Fleet, Hampshire and her only child, Charles Hay was born on May 9, 1928. Her mother, Melissa Stout Lewis, made several extended visits there. When the Second World War broke out, she joined the WAAFs and was stationed at Beaulieu, Hampshire. During the war her husband, who was significantly older than she was, died of natural causes. When the war ended she decided to move to the New Forest and bought a house a few miles from Beaulieu in the village of Boldre. She led an active life there and amongst other things, founded the local Darby & Joan Club (for the elderly). She died on April 23, 1969 and is buried at the Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre.
0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)
Correspondence, typed, sent by Kate Lewis, a Red Cross nurse serving in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I, to her mother, Melissa Lewis. Correspondence spans Kate Lewis' time in Washington, D.C., from April-August 1918, and her time in France, from October 1918-August 1919. Also includes letters from Kate's brother, Philemon Lewis to Melissa Lewis, press clippings, a book of postcards and a copy of the memorial service for Chester Harding Plimpton.
Papers are organized alphabetically by type of material.
Collection Stack Location
1 37 4
Gift, The Lady Ashcombe, 2019.
Claire Dapkiewicz, 2019.
- Kate Lewis Papers, 1918-1919
- Language of description
- Script of description