F. Esther Fortuine papers


The bulk of Fortuine's papers documents her World War I nursing service with U.S. Base Hospital No. 2 in France. Included are diaries; letters from family members, fellow nurses, and patients; postcards; photographs; a sketchbook of patients' drawings and verses; programs for hospital events; artifacts; and documents relating to her military service and her career as a nurse.

The World War I diaries provide a vivid picture of daily routine at the hospital and of the nurses and physicians with whom she worked. Also documented are her voyage to France, her first days at Étretat, her trips to the Alps and Pyrenees during leave, Armistice Day, and her return to the US in 1919. Along with letters from patients, there is also a sketchbook in which patients wrote poems, expressed their thanks to the nurses, and drew sketches.
Illustrative materials include numerous unmailed postcards, mostly of the Étretat area and on many of which Fortuine wrote commentary; a few loose photos; and an album containing 187 photographs taken in France during the war.


F. Esther (Florence Esther) Fortuine, 1886-1960

Date [inclusive]: 

1917-1960 (bulk 1917-1919)



Physical Description: 

.5 cubic feet (2 boxes, 1 flat box)




Cite as: 

F. Esther Fortuine Papers, Archives & Special Collections, Columbia University Health Sciences Library.