We're two sisters who are craft book publishers and found ourselves in the midst of an avocado grove. We bought this house where we planned to conduct our publishing business and in the deal got 4 acres of avocado trees thrown in. Now we're not only publishers but ranchers as well! This blog is all about avocados and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sad Story of Eleanor Ensign Mills - Sepia Saturday

DEAR SEPIA SATURDAY READERS,
SORRY, I'VE POSTED THIS IN ERROR (LAST WEEK ALSO!). SOMEDAY I'LL FIGURE OUT HOW TO POST TO SEPIA SATURDAY.
NANCY


This is not a relative but a photograph from my collection of vintage photos. And it's the one that haunts me the most. Such a sad story. The photo is marked:

Eleanor Ensign Mills - 1917
Volunteer nurse with Dr. Fitch's unit in France

Eleanor graduated from Smith College in 1911. She was from N.Y. city. I couldn't find out where she did her nurse's training - maybe at John Hopkins.

Dr. Ralph Fitch was affiliated with John Hopkins hospital and during WW1 he helped staff a hospital in Yvetot, France. He brought Red Cross nurses from the U.S. to France.

So she served in France and then came home for a much needed vacation from the war. Here's what it says on the back of the photo:


Died March 29, 1918 flu
on vacation in N.Y. 
Trunk packed in room to return to France end of week.

  

During the war there were 1000s of red cross volunteer nurses serving in France. Nurses from all corners of the U.S. were volunteering. Eleanor was one of them. She was never able to finish her patriotic duty.

20 comments:

  1. Ah yes, the influenza of 1918. That is the same year my mother's one year old brother died. I have his little photo album 1/2 full of baby pictures then nothing but blank pages.

    Very sad about Eleanor. She was lovely.

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  2. How sad! After all of her good work in France, to come home to die from influenza.

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  3. It is always frustrating to see a hero or heroine come to a sad end having survived such dangers. This photo would haunt me also.

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  4. I can see why this photo haunts you. The Spanish flu was responsible for more deaths than the military action I believe. Co-oincidentally I mention it in my Sepia Saturday post this week as well. Such a sad story; but how nice that we can remember them in this way.

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  5. A tragic end for someone who had given her life up to serve others.

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  6. Some in my mother's family died from that flu. I'm glad I wasn't around then.

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  7. Indeed this is a common tale of the times. She looks so set to do good and I am sure she did. The Spanish flu was a killer then. Have you read any of the Masie Dobbs mysteries? They are about a young English woman, aspiring detective who serves as a nurse in WWI.

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  8. A special photo that is a great example of the real dividing line in history. The great influenza epidemic affected more people from more countries, and from more classes of society than the Great War of 1914-18. It tragically interrupted the continuity of more families than we can remember, so this makes it very poignant.

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  9. Beautiful picture of a beautiful woman. What a tragedy.

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  10. "Trunk packed in room to return to France." Very sad.

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  11. Yes I see what you mean about it being sad and haunting. One of those photographs that cry out to have the back-story written.

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  12. A Heartbreaking Story.
    It was especially interesting for me as I visited a friend at Smiths on my last visit to The States.Thank You Posting Eleanor's story.

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  13. Sad story but a beautiful photograph.

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  14. i feel otherwise as i would say she did fulfill her patriotic duty. she just was never meant to serve the whole duration of the war. her efforts shouldn't be diminished because of her premature death.

    the flu?? the FLU???? rather vexing...
    :/~

    HUGZ

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  15. Oh, that's such a sad story! She looks so full of life in the photograph.

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  16. Danger is not always where it is expected, so sad. I am glad that someone has written those poignant words so she lives through the photo.

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  17. Aww, such a sad ending. I hope that the twinkle we see in Eleanor's eye is an indication of a happy life up until she ventured into the "wilds" of New York.

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  18. yes it was so sad....hopefully she is at peace ....she served her country and the people in it very well!

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  19. Look at those big warm eyes! What a fine person she must have been. How very heartbreaking.

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  20. The simplicity of the message, "trunk packed in room" makes this tragedy vivid.

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