Do you ever wonder what Thanksgiving is like for those in the midst of war far away from their loved ones? Sometimes we can catch a glimpse of these holidays spent away from home via the collections in our archives. For instance, tucked among the papers of Dr. James Thomson is a 1944 Thanksgiving dinner menu for the 45th General Hospital located in Naples, Italy. Thomson was a surgeon at this hospital and thanks to his saving this menu we know that they were treated to a proper Thanksgiving meal. The staff feasted on traditional fare such as roast turkey, chestnut dressing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. This meal provided the medical staff with a little slice of home in the midst of treating the wounded soldiers. They certainly earned a good meal as the daily patient average for the hospital in November 1944 was 2,253.1 Below are images of the menu, photographs of the mess halls for the hospital, and a photograph of Dr. Thomson.
These and many more fascinating items are found in the collections at Tompkins-McCaw Library, Special Collections and Archives at Virginia Commonwealth University. For more information about the James L. and Dorothy Knowles Thomson papers please view the finding aid located in the Virginia Heritage database. To learn more about the collections at Tompkins-McCaw Library please visit our website.
Thanksgiving menu, 45th General Hospital 1944
Officers and nurses mess hall, 45th General Hospital, Naples, Italy, 1945
Detachment mess hall, 45th General Hospital, Naples, Italy, 1945
Dr. James L. Thomson, Bagnoli, Italy, April 1944.
1 Brashear, Alton D. From Lee to Bari: The History of the Forty-Fifth General Hospital, 1940-1945. Whittet & Shepperson (Richmond, Va.) 1957.
Swem Library at the College of William & Mary welcomes W&M alumnus Steve Vogel, author and reporter for The Washington Post, to campus to discuss his new book, Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved the Nation, which tells the gripping story of the burning of Washington and the improbable last stand at Baltimore that helped save the nation and inspired its National Anthem. Event to be held Friday, Nov. 22 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in Swem Library’s Botetourt Theatre, ground floor. Cocktail reception and book signing to follow presentation. Books available for purchase at the event. Free and open to the public. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can be found at swem.wm.edu.
For those of you attending the MARAC meeting in Philadelphia this week be sure to come to the Virginia Caucus meeting at 8:30 a.m. on November 8th. Margaret Kidd of the Outreach Subcommittee will be there to briefly discuss the new Virginia Heritage website and to answer any questions that you may have. Also please feel free to provide feedback about the site at this time as well.
Hope to see you there!
Welcome! This update of Virginia Heritage was set in motion back in February 2012. At that time about 40 people from various archival repositories around the state met to discuss the future of Virginia Heritage. Those in attendance agreed that Virginia Heritage needed some updating and a plan for its future. As a result many people volunteered to join the Governance Group and the subgroups Outreach, Training, and Technology. Since that time work has been on going including the creation of this WordPress site to serve as the new gateway to the Virginia Heritage database. From here researchers can enter the database to search for finding aids and learn more about Virginia Heritage and the participating institutions. Participants will find useful information on the administrative page and links to helpful resources.
Another feature we hope will be of interest is the blog. This of course will pertain to all things related to archives. The blog will also be used to provide updates from Virginia Heritage about changes and upcoming opportunities for training. We hope that many of you will be interested in providing content for the blog. Perhaps you would like to highlight a recently processed collection, promote a program at your repository, or discuss some other related topic. If you are interested please sign up here.
Please explore the site and let us know what you think.