Collection Finding Aid

Menu

Guide to the 65th General Hospital Collection, 1917-2002 (MC.0001)

Abstract

Contains personal papers, records, and memorabilia of the United States Army 65th General Hospital, a United States Army Medical Corps unit staffed by Duke University Medical Center alumni in England during World War II. The unit distinguished itself as a center for both specialized treatment and the immediate care of combat casualties. Following the war, physician of the 65th, Leo Alexander, acted as a consultant to prosecutors in the Nuremberg Trials. Types of materials include official reports, newsletters, patient records, memorabilia, oral histories, photographs, artifacts, audiovisual materials, investigative notes, and short writings. Major subjects include Duke University Medical Center, United States Army, the 65th General Hospital, World War I, World War II, war crimes, neurosurgery, Ivan Brown, Leo Alexander, Norman Ross, and O. Norris Smith. Materials range in date from 1917 to 2002.

Descriptive Summary

Call Number
MC.0001
Title
65th General Hospital Collection
Date
1917-2002
Creator
Brown, Ivan W.
Extent
14.1 Linear Feet (8 cartons, 1 flat box, 2 map folders)
Repository
Duke University Medical Center Archives

Collection Overview

This collection combines the papers of Ivan Brown, Leo Alexander, Norman Ross, and O. (Opie) Norris Smith, each a physician at the 65th Base Hospital of World War II or the 65th General Hospital of World War II. The first series, General Collected Materials of the 65th, contains general administrative records, medical records, photographs, newsletters, memorabilia, reunion materials, artifacts, oral history interviews collected by Ivan Brown, a surgeon in the 65th General Hospital. The first series also includes materials of the 65th Base Hospital, a Duke University military medical unit that served during World War II. The second series, Leo Alexander Papers, also collected by Ivan Brown, contains the papers of Leo Alexander, a neuropsychiatrist and consultant to the postwar War Crimes Commission in Nuremberg. Alexander's papers contain personal materials, trial records, investigative correspondence, copies of some Nazi records, publications, and patient records. The third series, Norman Ross Papers, contains correspondence, clippings, memorabilia, and photographs. The fourth series, O. Norris Smith Papers, contains photographs, medical reference materials, and memorabilia. Ivan Brown gathered and cataloged the general administrative and medical records of the unit, along with many photographs, newsletters, and memorabilia. Materials range in date from 1917-2002.

Arrangement Note

Organized into the following series: General Collected Materials of the 65th Base Hospital and the 65th General Hospital, 1917-2002; Leo Alexander Papers, 1926-1998; Normal Ross Papers, 1942-1992; O. Norris Smith Papers, 1942-1992; Final Reunion Photographs, 2002; Oversized Photographs, 1942-1944.

Restrictions on Access & Use

Some collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval.

Access Restrictions

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals or IRB approval may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which Duke University assumes no responsibility.

Materials in Subseries 1.3. Field Hospital Data and Subseries 2.7. Neurosurgical Case Data must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Use Restrictions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Contents of the Collection

1. General Collected Materials of the 65th Base Hospital and the 65th General Hospital, 1917-2002

Series Scope and Contents: Contains materials related to the 65th unit's base hospital in England and reunions following WWII. Materials include administrative records, unit reports, newsletters, hospital data, photographs, artifacts, memorabilia, and videotapes. The videotape subseries includes interviews with former soldiers, a history of the unit, footage from a sculpture dedication, and a master copy of a documentary history of the unit. Materials date from 1917 to 2002.

65th Base Hospital Materials, 1917-1959

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries includes a history of the unit and photographs of one of the unit's hospitals. Materials date from 1917 to 1959.

Narrative histories. 'Base Hospital No. 65, A.E.F', unknown author; 'The Nurses Side of It', Irene Brewster; 'History of Base Hospital Number Sixty-Five' (North Carolina Medical Journal), Wilburt C. Davison, 1929, 1935, April 1959
Box 1
Photographs of Frederic Moir Hanes and Base Hospital No. 65, 1917-1919
Box 1
Jones, Thomas T., 1942
Box 1

Unit Reports, Orders, Newsletters, Rosters, Commendations, 1942-1953

Series Scope and Contents: This subseries includes correspondence, unit reports, hospital regulations, and newsletters. Also contains a separate historical report of the Nursing Service and a summary by chief surgical officer Clarence Gardner of his work. Materials date from 1942 to 1953.

Copies of official historical and periodic reports, 1943-1945
Box 1
Copies of General Orders, April 1944-September 1945
Box 1
Ft. Bragg Medical and unit newsletters, 65th Pulse Beat, (includes 1942 Christmas dinner menu and guest list), 1942-1943, 1952
Box 1
Hospital Regulations book with memorandum and circular letter, 1943-1944, undated
Box 1
Clinical Diagnosis code guidebook, 1943
Box 1
Circular letters, hospital orders, memos, bulletins, 1943-1945
Box 1
Historical items, roster of officers' wives, newspaper clippings, unit inactivation, 1942-1953, undated
Box 1
Correspondence, 1945-1949
Box 1
Roster of nurses and home addresses, 1945
Box 1
Unit commendation letters, 1944-1946
Box 1
Summary of unit commendation letters, 1945
Box 1
Reprint of 'Air Force Battle Casualties','Archives of Surgery', October 1946
Box 1

Field Hospital Data, 1944-1945

Subseries Scope and Contents: Materials include a complete record of patient admissions, dispositions, deaths, and clinical abstracts of severely wounded men. One is for George Buske, a case later publicized by Ivan Brown. Also contains extensive clinical study data on the early use of penicillin in treating syphilis. Materials date from 1944 to 1945.

Access Restrictions: Subseries must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Battle Casualty Data Book, 1944-1945
Box 1
Clinical abstracts for two patients, undated
Box 1
Penicillin Therapy from September, September 1944-January 1945
Box 1

Photographs, circa 1942-1946

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains photographs of the units work and leisure activities, as well as some graphic pictures of severe wounds. There are additional photographs in the Norman Ross Papers Series and the O. Norris Smith Papers Series. Materials range in date from circa 1942 to 1946.

Farewell party at Hope Valley Country Club, 4 photos, July 14, 1942
Box 1
Fort Bragg, basic training, 11 photos, 1942
Box 1
Off duty personnel, identified, 32 photos, undated
Box 1
On duty personnel, identified, 11 photos, undated
Box 1
Leisure and social activities, 10 photos, undated
Box 1
Building interiors, 7 photos, undated
Box 1
Sites and building exteriors, Malvern and Botesdale, 15 photos, undated
Box 1
Wartime site photographs, mounted for display, 4 photos, undated
Box 1
Postwar site photographs, mounted for display, 10 photos, undated
Box 1
Work and action photographs, mounted for display, 8 photos, undated
Box 1
Personnel and patient photographs, mounted for display, 9 photos, undated
Box 1
Wound and x-ray photographs, mounted for display, 11 photos, undated
Box 1
Wound, D-Day, aircraft photographs, 7 photos, undated
Box 1
Work, equipment, visiting officers (photographs of 3 scrapbook pages), undated
Box 1

Art Reproductions, circa 1944-1959

Subseries Scope and Contents: This series includes postcards, a map, and sketches. Also contains work by British artist Frank A. Beresford. Beresford, a soldier, was treated by members of the 65th General Hospital. He later created several paintings and prints of their activities. Materials range in date from circa 1944 to 1959.

Map of East Anglia with locations of bomber fields and general hospitals, 1944
Box 1
Commercial postcards of Botesdale, England, undated
Box 1
Publications and postcards of Beresford's work sent to Wilburt C. Davison, 1959
Box 1
Frank E. Beresford sketches, 1944
Box 8
Beresford and Wilburt C. Davison correspondence regarding paintings, 1945-1950
Box 1

Reunion and Anniversary Materials, 1947-2002

Subseries Scope and Contents: Veterans of the 65th assembled at reunions, often annually, from 1947 to 2002 with special celebrations upon the unit's 40th, 50th, and 60th anniversaries. In 2002, Duke University honored the 65th with a sculptural monument at the Medical Center. "8th AF News 1(3), September 2001" includes the article "Hospitals that Served the Eighth Air Force," written by Ivan Brown. "Items on Memorial Dedication, 2002" includes an invitation, program, photographs, news clippings, and 8th AF News 2(4), 2002, featuring an article on the memorial dedication with many color photographs. See also Series 1.8. Videos, and Series 5. Final Reunion Photographs, October 26 2002. Materials range in date from 1947 to 2002.

Reunion announcements, newsletters, news clippings, photographs, 1951-1992
Box 1
Ronald Reagan letter congratulating the 65th on its 40th anniversary, 1982
Box 1
1982 reunion invitation and newsletter, undated
Box 1
Martin J. Ryan, Jr. letter congratulating the 65th on its 50th anniversary, 1992
Box 1
British newspaper features, travel brochure on 50th anniversary, 1992
Box 1
British newspaper article on 50th anniversary of V-E Day featuring 65th veteran Kathleen Smith, 1995
Box 1
Obituaries for 65th General Hospital veterans, 1997
Box 1
Ivan Brown letter, draft, and reprint, 1998-1999
Box 1
8th AF News 1(3), September 2001
Box 1
Items on memorial dedication, 2002
Box 1

Artifacts, circa 1942-1977 (bulk 1942-1946)

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries includes artifacts such as an Aircrew flak helmet, a Red Cross armband, reunion ribbon, wound dressing, and mounted photographs. Materials date from circa 1942 to 1977, with the bulk of the materials dating between 1942 and 1946.

Aircrew flak helmet with flak hole, undated
Box 2
Fin from German incendiary bomb that wounded a member of the 65th, undated
Box 2
Red Cross armband used for field service, undated
Box 2
Used morphine Syrette in box from aircraft medical kit, undated
Box 2
European Theater of Operations shoulder patch insignia worn by 65th personnel, undated
Box 2
Wound dressing (in tin container) from aircraft medical kit, undated
Box 2
30th Annual Reunion ribbon-badge (from Norman Ross collection), 1977
Box 2
Unused sheet of V-Mail, undated
Box 2
Photos mounted for display, undated
Box 2

Videotapes, 1981-2002

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains 13 videotapes. Ten tapes in 14 in 3/4-inch, 20 min. format, with reels in CROLYN-II boxes (except for one tape, numbered #6, in a JVC box). The tapes are labeled, "Dr. Brown/4-13." Nine of the tapes are interviews conducted by Ivan Brown with veterans of the 65th General Hospital. Only short portions of these interviews were included in the final video documentary of the 65th General Hospital. Housed with Audiovisual Materials Collection. Materials date from 1981 to 2002.

Tape 4. Interview with former Chief of Surgery Clarence E. Gardner, Orange City, Florida, August 1981
Box 3.0049
Tape 5. Interview with former Sergeant Sarkis Mihranian at the 65th's reunion in New Jersey; interview with former Sergeant Frank Holt in Augusta, Georgia, April 1981, September 1981
Box 3.0048
Tape 6. Interview with Clarence Gardner, Orange City, Florida; interview with former patient Marion Barbee, Roanoke, Virginia, September 1981
Box 3.0047
Tape 7. Interview with former Chief of Orthopedics Julian E. Jacobs, Charlotte, North Carolina, September 1981
Box 3.0052
Tape 8. Interview with Gardner, Orange City, Florida, August 1981
Box 3.0051
Tape 9. Interview with former Chief Nurse Julia E. White, St. Petersburg, Florida, September 1981
Box 3.0050
Tape 10. Introduction to the unit's history and the roster of its members, undated
Box 3.0057
Tape 11. Interview with former Chief of Neurosurgery William Bridgers and his wife, former neurosurgical and O.R. nurse Josephine Johnson, Columbia, South Carolina; interview with former nurse Kathleen Eagles, and with former chief nurse-anesthetist Eliza Goodman, Duke University Medical Center, September 1981, December 1981
Box 3.0054
Tape 12. Interview with former captain Robert Linsicome and former sergeant Red McManus; interview with former sergeants William Gessner and Pat Carucci; interview with former sergeant Pat Cummings; interview with former corporal Cosmo Palmitessa; at New Jersey reunion, April 1981
Box 3.0053
Tape 13. Interview with former major Opie N. Smith and former lieut enant colonel Joseph Stevens, Greensboro, North Carolina, September 1981
Box 3.0055
History of the 65th Medical Unit WWII (Copy 1, Part 1), undated., undated
Box 3.0034
History of the 65th Medical Unit WWII (Copy 1, Part 1 [long version]), undated., undated
Box 3.0036
Scotch UCA-60 tapes labeled '15' the master copy of an earlier, shorter edition of the documentary history of the 65th General Hospital., undated
Box 3.0041
History of the 65th Medical Unit WWII (Copy 1, Part 2 [long version]), undated., undated
Box 3.0035
History of the 65th Medical Unit (Copy 1, Reel 2 (final master)), undated., undated
Box 3.0046
Videotape of ceremonies dedicating memorial sculpture to the 65th General Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., October 26, 2002
Box 2.0027
Scotch UCA-60 tapes labeled '16' the master copy of an earlier, shorter edition of the documentary history of the 65th General Hospital., undated
Box 3.0042
Videotape of ceremonies dedicating memorial sculpture to the 65th General Hospital, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C., October 26, 2002
Box 2.0027, c. 2

2. Leo Alexander Papers, 1926-1998

Series Scope and Contents: Comprised of Alexander's saved records of his own department and the neurosurgical service. Contains travel documents and orders from WWII, research and investigative reports related neurosurgery, reports and correspondence related to Nazi medical experiments, patient records, correspondence, trial records and transcripts, test results, and photographs. Of special significance is material dealing with Alexander's later work as an investigator and consultant to prosecutors during the Nuremberg tribunal's medical war crimes trials of Nazis from 1946 to 1947. Significant portions of records are in German. Materials date from 1926 to 1998.

Personal Materials, 1943-1985

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains orders and travel documents, a ledger of activities, notes, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and a curriculum vita. Materials date from 1943 to 1985.

Orders, bulletins, travel documents, 1943, 1945
Box 3
Travel orders and completed copy of application for Federal employment, 1946-1947
Box 3
Record ledger book of activities and notes, 1946-1947
Box 3
Loose notes contained in record ledger book, 1946-1947

Processing Note: Contains materials related to the Nuremberg Code. See the following folder for more materials on the Nuremburg Code: Typed copy of extended memo to Telford Taylor and draft notes, April 15, 1947 (Series: Leo Alexander Papers; Subseries: Investigative correspondence, notes, photographs, 1942-1998)

Box 3
Letters from Chief of Counsel for War Crimes Jim McHaney including comments on outcome of medical war crimes trial, undated
Box 3
Curriculum vitae; Obituaries, Boston Globe; Washington Post, October 1946, July 23, 1985, July 24, 1985
Box 3

Investigative Correspondence, Notes, Photographs, 1942-1998

Subseries Scope and Contents: As a consultant to the U.S. Secretary of War, Alexander gathered a vast body of information in preparation for the 1946-1947 Nuremberg medical war crimes trials of Nazi officials. Following these trials, he became a spokesperson on issues of medical ethics and experimentation and an advocate for victims. Types of materials include correspondence, notes, research, and photographs. Materials date from 1942 to 1998.

Investigative reports, orders, related documents, May-September 1945
Box 3
Evidence analysis, interrogation summaries of Rascher relatives and S.S. camp personnel, affidavits, documents on sexuality experimentation, 1945-1947
Box 3
Correspondence, interrogation notes from the Netherlands; program and paper (Socio-Psychological Structure of the S.S.) presented to Dutch neuropsychiatry society, Spring 1947, June 12, 1947
Box 3
Memos, witness case history and interrogation summaries for medical war crimes trials, December 1946, March 1947
Box 3
Draft notes, correspondence, copies of papers authored by Alexander on medical war crimes topics; copy of paper by Hubert Winston Smith, undated
Box 3
Investigative material from folder labeled Eastern European Area Sub- Committee Report #1, undated
Box 3
Investigative material from folder labeled Appendices II, undated
Box 3
Transcripts of radio interview with Alexander, January 10, 1947
Box 3
Typed copy of extended memo to Telford Taylor and draft notes, April 15, 1947

Processing Note: Contains materials related to the Nuremberg Code. See the following folder for more materials on the Nuremburg Code: Loose notes contained in record ledger book, 1946-1947 (Series: Leo Alexander Papers; Subseries: Personal Materials, 1943-1985)

Box 3
Correspondence on victim's claims case, 1950-1964
Box 3
Photographs of Polish victim witnesses and victim autopsies, undated
Box 3

Copies of Investigative Committee Reports Authored by Alexander, circa 1940-1949

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains Alexander's research on medicine in Nazi Germany. This research produced reports on related topics for the Combined Operative Intelligence Sub-Committee. The Subseries 2.6. Publications also contains materials relating to Alexander's involvement with the Nuremberg Trials. Materials date to circa 1940 to 1949.

Treatment of Shock from Prolonged Exposure to Cold, especially in Water, undated
Box 3
Miscellaneous Aviation Medical Matters, undated
Box 3
Methods of Influencing International Scientific Meetings as laid down by German Scientific Organizations, undated
Box 3
Medical School Curriculum in War Time Germany, undated
Box 3
Public Mental Health Practices in Germany: Sterilization and Execution of Patients suffering from Nervous or Mental Disease, undated
Box 3
German Military Neuropsychiatry and Neurosurgery, undated
Box 3
Neuropathology and Neurophysiology, including Electro-Encephalography in Wartime Germany, undated
Box 3

Trial Records, 1946-1947

Subseries Scope and Contents: During the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi party members were tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The prosecutors and judges were comprised of individuals from the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. The chief prosecutors were Robert H. Jackson (United States), Francois de Menthon (France), Roman A. Rudenko (Soviet Union), and Sir Hartley Shawcross (Great Britain). During the trial of Nazi doctors, referred to as the Doctors Trial, Brigadier General Telford Taylor from the United States acted as the Chief of Counsel for the prosecutors. Alexander served as a researcher and consultant during the trials of German doctors accused of performing medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. This subseries contains memorandum between Alexander and the prosecutors, notes on witnesses and defendants, notes from the interrogation of Nazi party members, statements drafted to rebut defense arguments, and documents from the medical war crimes trials at Nuremberg. Materials date from 1946 to 1947.

Memos, interrogation summaries, position papers, November-December 1946
Box 3
Memos, interrogation summaries, position papers, January-July 1947
Box 3
Trial transcripts, U.S. v. Ohlendorf, et al., October 8-9, 1947
Box 4
Trial transcripts, U.S. v. Ohlendorf, et al., October 14, 1947
Box 4
Trial transcripts, U.S. v. Ohlendorf, et al., October 15, 1947
Box 4
Tribunal record, U.S. v. Brandt, et al., folder 1 of 3, December 1946-July 1947
Box 4
Tribunal record, U.S. v. Brandt, et al., folder 2 of 3, December 1946-July 1947
Box 4
Tribunal record, U.S. v. Brandt, et al., folder 3 of 3, December 1946-July 1947
Box 4
Tribunal record, U.S. v. Brandt, et al., second copy, folder 1 of 3, December 1946-July 1947
Box 4
Tribunal record, U.S. v. Brandt, et al., second copy, folder 2 of 3, December 1946-July 1947
Box 4
Tribunal record, U.S. v. Brandt, et al., second copy, folder 3 of 3, December 1946-July 1947
Box 4
Sentencing orders, U.S. v. Brandt, et al., August 20, 1947
Box 4

Copies of Nazi Records, 1939-1943

Subseries Scope and Contents: During World War II, Heinrich Himmler headed the Nazi's SS and took a keen interest in the Nazi medical experiments conducted across the Third Reich. Sigmund Rascher (1909-1945), once a respected physician, was a Himmler associate who tried to use their relationship to his advantage. Rascher and others conducted experiments on prisoners in various concentration camps and across the Third Reich. Racscher's experiments at the Concentration Camp Dachau were judged inhumane and criminal during the Nuremberg trial of other Nazi medical professionals. Alexander procured copies of captured documents to aid in his investigations of Nazi medical experiments. Types of materials include reports and correspondence between Racher, Himmler, and other Nazi officials. The majority of materials in this subseries are photocopies of original documents and in German. Materials date from 1939 to 1943.

Documents pertaining to experiments, as discovered in Heinrich Himmler's files, folder 1 of 3, undated
Box 4
Documents pertaining to experiments, as discovered in Heinrich Himmler's files, folder 2 of 3, undated
Box 4
Documents pertaining to experiments, as discovered in Heinrich Himmler's files, folder 3 of 3, undated
Box 4
Rascher/Himmler correspondence, 1940-1942
Box 4
Rascher/Himmler correspondence, 1942
Box 4
Rascher/Himmler correspondence, 1942-1943
Box 4
Rascher, et al., report on cold water experiments with notes by Alexander, undated
Box 4
Rascher medical journal article, Versuch einer kristallographischen Karzinomdiagnose,Munchener Medizinisch Wochenschrift, no. 14, 7 April 1939: 544-45., undated
Box 4
Reports on experiments, authored by Wolfgang Lutz, undated
Box 4

Publications, 1926-1998

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains copies of articles and publications about infamous doctors, neurology, the Nuremberg trials, and psychology. Included are copies of Michael Shevell's articles on Alexander's contributions to the Nuremberg Code, a set of research ethics for human experimentation and medical research. Materials date from 1926 to 1998.

Alexander Mitscherlich and Fred Mielke, Doctors of Infamy, (Henry Schuman: New York, 1949.) Inscribed by Alexander to Ivan Brown, November 22, 1982
Box 4
Reprints of journal articles by Alexander, 1948-1949, 1966, nd
Box 4
Chronological index to publications by Alexander; and List of Publications on War Crimes, 1926-1982, 1945-1976
Box 4
Copy of Michael L. Shevell, Neurology's witness to history: The Combined Intelligence Operative Sub-Committee Reports of Leo Alexander,Neurology 47, 1096-1103, 1996, 1998, July 14, 1949, November 27, 1996, November 13, 1
Box 4
Copy of Michael L. Shevell, Neurology's witness to history: Part II, Leo Alexander's contributions to the Nuremberg Code (1946 to 1947), Neurology, 274-278, undated
Box 4
Copy of Alexander, Medical Science Under Dictatorship,The New England Journal of Medicine 241(2), 39-47; copy of Jay Katz, The Nuremberg Code and the Nuremberg Trial: A Reappraisal, Journal of the American Medical Association 276(20), 1662-1665, undated
Box 4
Copy of Evelyne Shuster, Fifty Years Later: The Significance of the Nuremberg Code,The New England Journal of Medicine 337(20), 1436-1440; Noteworthy Quote, Catholic League Newsletter, undated
Box 4
Clippings concerning experiments and trials; carbon copy of English translation of Charles Sillevaerts, The Nurnberg Trial, Belgian Review of Medical Science,; carbon copy of Johannes Maria Hoecht, Remarks to the Trial Against the Physicians (Translation of Excerpts from the Monthly Begegnung, 2nd Year, 9th Issue, 360), August 31, 1944, 1945-1946
Box 4
Copy of Ali Kuci, International Prisoners Committee, Information and Culture, Central Press Bureau, The Last Days of Dachau, May-June 1945
Box 4
Carbon copy of manuscript, M. Wanda von Baeyer, der Tod im der Masse, for Eim Beitrag zr Moderen Massenpsychologie (n.d.); copy of address in English, Wanda von Baeyer, The Emotional Psychology of the German Woman under the Nazis (n.d.); reprints of articles on euthanasia, psychology, and Germany, 1945-1946
Box 4

Neurosurgical Case Data, 1943-1945

Subseries Scope and Contents: William H. Bridgers (MD Duke, 1936) served as the chief of Neurosurgery in the 65th General Hospital. This subseries contains notes, tests, clinical briefs, abstracts, photos, X-rays, and follow up correspondence of neurosurgical patients. Materials date from 1943 to 1945.

Access Restrictions: Subseries must be screened for sensitive or confidential materials before being accessed. For further information consult with the Medical Center Archivist.

Notification of hearings for discharge; some notes by Alexander included., 1943
Box 5
Notes, tests, etc. for neuropsychiatric cases; names beginning B to E, undated
Box 5
Notes, tests, etc. for neuropsychiatric cases; names beginning F to L, undated
Box 5
Notes, tests, etc. for neuropsychiatric cases; names beginning M to R, undated
Box 5
Notes, tests, etc. for neuropsychiatric cases; names beginning S to W; copies of news clippings of Smith murder case included, undated
Box 5
A and D Book; admissions, diagnosis, and disposition of patients in neurosurgical ward, 1943-1945
Box 5
Neurosurgical ward book; daily reports, April-August 1944
Box 5
Neurosurgical ward book; daily reports, August-November 1944
Box 5
Neurosurgical ward book; daily reports, November 1944-March 1945
Box 5
Neurosurgical ward book; daily reports, March-June 1945
Box 5
Neurosurgical ward book; daily reports, June-July 1945
Box 5
Clinical briefs, abstracts, photos, X-rays, and follow up correspondence of neurosurgical patients, folders 1-10, undated
Box 6
Negatives of photos in folders 1-10 (11 rolls of 35 mm film), undated
Box 6
Miscellaneous photos: crashed aircraft, injured men, X-rays, surgery, undated
Box 6
Miscellaneous neurosurgical and nursing notes, undated
Box 6
Rosters and memoranda, status of flying personnel treated, 1944-1945
Box 6
Rorshach test results and notes of neuropsychiatric patients, 1944-1945
Box 6
Neuropsychiatric clinical abstracts, 1945
Box 6
Neurosurgical monthly summaries, including patient deaths and autopsies, March 1944-February 1945
Box 6
Neurosurgical monthly reports on individual patients, March 1944-February 1945
Box 6
Lists of neurosurgical consultations and operations performed, February 1944-June 1945
Box 6

Staff Notes, Forms, Reports, and Photos, 1944-1945

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains materials on personnel, procedures, innovations, and numbers of patients. Materials date from 1944 to 1945.

Neurosurgical staff notes and forms, undated
Box 6
Neuropsychiatry monthly reports, January 1944-April 1945
Box 6
Photographs of innovations in surgical equipment and procedures, undated
Box 6

3. Norman Ross Papers, 1942-1992

Series Scope and Contents: Ross wrote regularly to his wife following his departure from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, until his return to the United States. Contains correspondence, a disassembled scrapbook, newspaper clippings, unit rosters, memorabilia from the French resistance organization F.F.I, and reunion newsletters. Materials date from 1942 to 1992, with the bulk of materials from 1942 to 1946.

Correspondence, 1943-1945

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains correspondence between Ross and his wife. Ross served in another medical unit in Germany following his tour with the 65th and wrote regularly to his wife following his departure from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, until his return to the United States. Materials date from 1943 to 1945.

Correspondence, August-December 1943
Box 7
Correspondence, January 1944
Box 7
Correspondence, February 1944
Box 7
Correspondence, March-May 1944
Box 7
Correspondence, June-August 1944
Box 7
Correspondence, September-October 1944
Box 7
Correspondence, November-December 1944
Box 7
Correspondence, January 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, February 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, March 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, April 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, May 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, June 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, August 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, July 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, September 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, October 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, November 1945
Box 7
Correspondence, December 1945
Box 7

Photo Album Pages, 1942-1946

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains pages from Ross' 89-page scrapbook, "Active Army Years of Norman F. Ross, July 1942 - February 1946," as well as correspondence. The first page features a proof of his military ID photo, his journey home from Europe, and the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. Materials date from 1942 to 1946.

U.S. duty, (pp. 1-10), 1942-1943
Box 7
Malvern, England and classes at East Grimstead, (pp. 11-20), 1943-1944
Box 7
East Grimstead, Malvern, and Redgrave Park, (pp. 21-30), 1944
Box 7
Redgrave Park; leave in Scotland and Northern Ireland, (pp. 31-40), 1944
Box 7
Redgrave Park, (pp. 41-50), 1944-1945
Box 7
Redgrave Park; leave in Ipswich and Paris, (pp. 51-60), 1945
Box 7
Leave in Paris and Germany, (pp. 61-70), 1945
Box 7
Leave photos and postcards, Germany, (pp. 71-80), 1945
Box 7
Postwar leave photos, Germany and France; voyage home, (pp. 81-89), 1945-1946
Box 7

Documents, Art Prints, News Clippings, Memorabilia, Reunion Materials, 1942-1992

Subseries Scope and Contents: This subseries contains military orders, photographs, programs, maps, and newspaper clippings. Materials date from 1942 to 1992.

Roster of wives of married officers' addresses; "65th Pulse Beat", letter from Duke Faculty Club to Ross; order reassigning Ross to 85th Evacuation Hospital, military chapel service program, November 5, 1942, May 21, 1943, November 28, 1944, August 18
Box 7
Color prints of Beresford paintings purchased by Ross's mother, undated
Box 7
Photocopies of newspaper clippings related to the 65th, including the calling up of the unit and the send-off party at Hope Valley Country Club, 1942-1982
Box 7
Memorabilia including programs, maps, Christmas card, postcards, and photo booklet on exploits of the French resistance organization, F.F.I., 1943-1945
Box 7
65th annual reunion material, 1952-1992
Box 7
Duplicate photos and photo negatives of photo album, additional postcards, undated
Box 7

4. O. Norris Smith Papers, 1942-1992

Series Scope and Contents: Opie Norris Smith of Greensboro, North Carolina, joined the 65th in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He returned home in December 1946 after serving as chief medical officer and commanding officer in other units. Contains photographs, correspondence, a diagnosis code book, military orders, reunion announcements, and memorabilia. Photographs, if labeled, are arranged chronologically. Materials date from 1942 to 1992.

Photograph album/scrapbook, photographs, 1942-1946
Box 8
Album photos, news clippings, and memorabilia of Smith's military service, 1942-1946
Box 8
Military orders, undated
Box 9
65th's clinical diagnosis code book with copy of descriptive letter; three miscellaneous circulars, undated
Box 9
Pamphlets and postcards, undated
Box 9
Album photos, 1943-1945
Box 9
Photocopies of photos taken by Smith in Botesdale; tourism brochure on US Air Force in East Anglia, ca 1980s?
Box 9
65th reunion announcements, newsletters, and letters regarding same, 1976-1992
Box 9

5. Final Reunion Photographs, October 26, 2002

Series Scope and Contents: Contains color photographs from the final reunion and sculpture dedication for the 65th General Hospital Unit held on October 26, 2002. The photographs are credited to Jim Wallace, Duke University Photography.

Photographs: final reunion and sculpture dedication, October 26, 2002
Box 9

6. Oversized Photographs, 1942-1944

Series Scope and Contents: Contains oversized photographs of the 65th's hospital, a unit portrait, and personnel photos. Materials date from 1942 to 1944.

Photographs, 1942-1944, nd
Box FF1 D5
65th General Hospital, Ft. Bragg, (from General Collected Materials series), August 24, 1942
Box FF1 D5
Unit portrait including all personnel (from General Collected Materials series), undated
Box FF1 D5
Officers, 65th General Hospital, Ft. Bragg, (from General Collected Materials series), September 16, 1942
Box FF1 D1
Group of male officers (from General Collected Materials series), undated
Box FF1 D5
Untitled portrait of 65th's nurses and Red Cross personnel (from General Collected Materials series), undated
Box FF1 D5
Individuals in collage, Laboratory, England, (from General Collected Materials series), 1944
Box FF1 D5
Alexander interviewing alleged war criminal Haldeman Horen (from Leo Alexander Papers series), undated
Box FF1 D5

Historical/Biographical Note

Historical Note

The United States Army 65th General Hospital, a United States Army Medical Corps unit staffed by Duke University Medical Center alumni, was the idea of Wilburt C. Davison, then dean of the Duke University School of Medicine in October 1940. The Army reserve unit's original core consisted of doctors and nurses who all had some connection to Duke University. This created a mix of faculty, medical school graduates, nursing school graduates, and current or former house staff. In July 1942, the 65th was placed on active duty and headed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for basic training. Once in Fort Bragg, its ranks swelled by additional Army nurses and about 500 enlisted men, who served in roles as diverse as operating room technicians, pharmacists, and payroll clerks.

Immediately after arrival in England in October 1943, the 65th equipped and furnished two new hospitals in Malvern, Worcestershire. But the grueling nature of the task that lay ahead became more apparent when the unit was sent to Botesdale, Suffolk, in East Anglia, in February 1944 to expand the hospital serving the Eighth Air Force. Unlike most general hospitals, which received casualties that had been evacuated backward from the front lines through a series of medical corpsmen, first aid stations, and field and evacuation hospitals, the 65th treated freshly and often severely wounded airmen returning directly from bombing runs over Germany in bullet and shrapnel-riddled airplanes.

While the majority of other Army general hospitals remained comparatively idle during the build-up to the D-Day invasion, the 65th handled a constant stream of casualties from heavy bomber crews, as well as all of the acute diseases and emergency cases from the surrounding air bases. It was also a designated specialty center for neurosurgery, thoracic and plastic surgery, burns, and hand injuries from hospitals throughout eastern England. The complex of 35 Nissen huts that made up the 65th General Hospital's Botesdale compound was supplemented by tents, enabling it to handle more patients.

In all, the unit treated more than 17,250 patients during its time in England. Due to their exceptional success rate, the 65th quickly earned a stellar reputation among general hospital units in the European Theater of Operations (E.T.O.). Members of the 65th General Hospital often helped train doctors and nurses in other units, as well as developing new and innovative practices.

Lt. Col. Clarence Gardner, the unit's chief of surgery and later chair of surgery at Duke University, helped develop a method for removing shell fragments from a patient's still-beating heart by probing the heart's chambers with his finger through a circular purse-string suture.

The 65th General Hospital physicians established one of the first blood banks among American hospitals in the E.T.O.

Major William Bridgers, neurosurgeon for the unit, traveled to London and learned from silversmiths there how to manipulate large plates of metal. In one case, he constructed and attached an entire prosthetic forehead from tantalum, a special inert metal, to the skull of a wounded B-17 pilot, sewing the scalp back in place to leave the patient looking almost the same as he had before the flak injury.

The unit's last reunion, held in 2002 at Duke University, featured a dedication of a sculptured monument.

Biographical Notes

Ivan W. Brown Jr.

Ivan W. Brown Jr. was born in 1915 in Newfane, New York, to Ivan and Agnes Brown. He was an undergraduate at the University of Rochester and Duke University. He graduated from Duke University Medical School in 1940. Brown served as an army captain and neurosurgeon with the 65th General Hospital unit in England. He established the first and only blood blank in the European theatre of the war.

After the war, Brown started blood banking at Duke University Hospital, and, in 1954, as a Markle Scholar, he invented and patented a critical component of the heart lung machine, the Brown Harrison heat exchanger, giving doctors the ability to stop the heart without using ice; this created the impetus for the first open heart surgeries. In 1960, Brown became the first James B. Duke distinguished Professor of Surgery also becoming the first doctor at Duke University Hospital to implant a cardiac pacemaker in a patient.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, he served as a consultant to President John Kennedy regarding the use of blood transfusions to treat radiation sickness. He became the advisor to Sea Lab and the Man Under the Sea Program in 1964, and, in 1965, he became a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. At this time, Brown designed, funded, and built the hyperbaric chamber at Duke University Hospital. It is one of the largest such facilities in the world. In 1968, Brown joined the Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Florida, as a cardiovascular surgeon.

Brown was one of the most active veterans of the unit. He collected memorabilia, organized reunions, and acted as caretaker of Leo Alexander, O. (Opie) Norris Smith, and Norman Ross' papers. Also serving as a point of contact for people wishing to reunite with veterans and patients of the 65th General Hospital. In 1982, Brown created a video of reminiscences of veterans of the 65th General Hospital.

Brown was married to Madeline Davis, who died in 2007. They had three children: Sandy, Diane, and Ivan. Brown died in November 2009.

Leo Alexander

Leo Alexander was born in 1905 in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. His father was a physician. He graduated from the University of Vienna Medical School in 1929 and interned in psychiatry at the University of Frankfurt. In 1932, he moved to Peiping, China to teach psychiatry and neurology at Peiping Union Medical College. He immigrated to the United States in 1933 and taught at both Harvard Medical School and Duke University School of Medicine. Alexander specialized in the field of neuropsychiatry.

As head of neuropsychiatry in the 65th, he served with the rank of major. Alexander later worked as an investigator and consultant to prosecutors in the War Crimes Commission at Nuremberg (1946-1947). Following his research and the Nuremberg Trials, he became a spokesperson on war crime issues and an advocate for victims. During the 1960s, Alexander worked in the Chandler Hovey Unit of Brooks Hospital in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Alexander saved voluminous notes, court records, and his own writings concerning the Nazi doctors, later forwarding them to Ivan Brown. In 1942, he was appointed Colonel, Medical Corps, US Army, 8th Air Force Medical Intelligence, and from 1946 to 1947, he acted as US Medical Consultant to Secretary of War and US Chief Counsel for War Crimes during the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial. After World War II, Alexander wrote the Nuremberg Code, which established moral, ethical, and legal principles after studying the actions of German SS troops and concentration camp guards. He also arranged for treatment in Boston, Chicago, and New York for 40 Polish concentration camp victims crippled by injections of gas gangrene by Dr. Josef Mengele. Alexander treated some of them psychiatrically. Later he served as assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University Medical School, and as a consultant for the Boston Police Department, helping to solve the Boston Strangler case.

Alexander wrote several books on psychiatry and neuropathology and coined the terms thanatology, the study of death and ktenology, the science of killing.

Alexander married to Phyllis Harrington in 1936, and they had one daughter and two sons. Alexander died in 1985 in Weston, Massachusetts.

Norman Ross

Norman Fletcher Ross was born in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1912 and graduated from Duke University in 1935. Ross enlisted in the 65th General Hospital in 1942 and became the Chief Dental Officer of the 65th General Hospital.

While part of the 65th, Ross corresponded regularly with family members and created elaborate scrapbooks that serve as illustrated histories of their comrades and their experiences. Ross served in another medical unit in Germany following his tour with the 65th.

Ross married Marjorie Glasson Ross (1912-2004) in 1939 and they had three children: Marion, David, and Christopher. Marjorie Ross graduated from Duke University in 1933 and served as personnel director for Duke Hospital during World War II. Norman Ross died in 1987

O. (Opie) Norris Smith

O. Norris Smith was born in Davidson, North Carolina, in 1909. His father was a physician. Raised in Lexington, Virginia, he attended Washington and Lee University for his undergraduate education. Smith received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in 1933. He completed a two-year rotating internship at the old Pennsylvania Hospital, a two-year residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and an assistant residency at Duke University Hospital. In 1938, he established a practice in Greensboro, North Carolina.

During World War II, Smith was a member of the 65th General Hospital Unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for a year. Afterwards, he served in the US Air Force in East Anglia, England. He was detached briefly to take charge of consolidated German Army hospitals behind General Patton's advance. Later, he transferred to other US Army hospital units. While part of the 65th, Smith corresponded regularly with family members and created elaborate scrapbooks that serve as illustrated histories of their comrades and their experiences.

After the war, he founded and became president of the Greensboro Academy of Medicine, which later became the Guilford County Medical Society and chief of the medical Service at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. Smith served on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Insurance Committee of the North Carolina Medical Society for many years.

Smith married Rebecca Hines Smith, and they had a daughter and a son. Smith died in 2004.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], 65th General Hospital Collection, Duke University Medical Center Archives.

Acquisitions Information

Accession A2003.015 (gift, May 2003), Accession A2003.052 (acquired, June 2003), Accession A2003.087 (gift, December 2003), Accession A2003.089 (gift, December 2003), Accession A2004.046 (acquired, June 2004), Accession A2008.007 (transferred, January 2008), Accession A2011.059 (transferred, July 2011)

Processing Information

Processed by Brian O'Connor: September 2003; updated by Dawne Howard Lucas: February 2008, November 2009

Separated Material

Oral history interviews and videos are located with the Audiovisual Collection. This includes 16 U-Matic tapes and 2 VHS tapes.

Related Material

  • Ivan W. Brown Papers, Duke Medical Center Archives.
  • Ivan Brown Oral History Interviews, Duke Medical Center Archives.
  • Elbert L. Persons Papers, Duke Medical Center Archives.
  • Thomas Thweatt Jones Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
  • Collected Papers of Leo Alexander [book], History of Medicine Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.