Alice Carr, WWI Red Cross Nurse

Alice Carr in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 1924

Alice Carr in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 1924

Alice Griffith Carr was born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1887, the youngest daughter of William and Mary (Ladley) Carr.  Her maternal grandfather, Rev. D. F. Ladley, was among the founders of Antioch College, and her father was the founder and proprietor of W. W. Carr Nurseries, a well-known Yellow Springs firm. (And her uncle, Oscar D. Ladley, was a Civil War soldier, whose papers we recently digitized.)

Alice graduated from Antioch in 1904, and after teaching high school in West Mansfield, Ohio, and working as a beautician in Georgia, she enrolled in the Johns Hopkins Nurses Training School in Baltimore, graduating in 1914.

Carr then joined the first contingent of American Red Cross nurses to see service in World War I.  She sailed for France in June, 1917 and was attached to a base hospital near Verdun for two years.

Alice Carr & "Up", 1918

Alice Carr & “Up”, 1918: “Me & Up, 1918. Just before we left by [Ward?] T.”

Alice’s time of service in World War I was the beginning of her long and distinguished career in nursing and public health in Europe and Asia, and except for a few brief furloughs home, she remained abroad until 1941.

Group in Warsaw, ca. 1920 (Carr in white)

Group in Warsaw, ca. 1920 (Alice Carr is in the front row, center, in her white nurse’s uniform)

In the fall of 1941, the Nazi army occupied Greece, where Carr was living at the time, and all Americans were expelled. Carr returned to New York City to be the Advisor in Public Health for the Near East Foundation.  During the closing years of World War II, she traveled widely and lectured for the Foundation before going home to Yellow Springs to retire. She died in 1968 at the age of 81.

The following photographs depicting Alice’s experiences of World War I are from the Alice Carr Papers, Box 9. Portions of the captions that are in quotation marks are taken verbatim from the back of the photograph; in some cases clarifications [in brackets] have been added:

En Route, June 1917

“En route, June 1917”


Sub chaser, June 1917

“Sunset and evening star. And one clear call for me. June 1917. Going over. Sub chaser – one of those which watched out for us.”


Long White Road to Neufchateau, Boz, 1918

“Boz, [France], 1918. The long white road up the hill to Neufchateau. How many miles & miles of men & lorries have moved up here past our hospital. Never bombed 20,000 bed hospital. Germans flew over us constantly.”

WWI Nurses in France, ca. 1917-1918

WWI Nurses in France, ca. 1917-1918


Base 18, Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, 1918

“Base 18, Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, France, 1918.”

Hiding Ambulances in Vassigny, 1918

“Vassigny, [France], hiding ambulance from the Boche [German soldiers], 1918.”

Bazoilles-sur-Meuse Hospital, Fall 1918

“Bazoilles-sur-Meuse. Fall 1918 about the time of the St. Mihiel drive [Battle of Saint-Mihiel, Sept. 1918]. Capacity 20,000 beds. [Seven?] base hospitals. Two were on the other side of the river and do not show in this picture. With love to all, Alice G. Carr. During flood season and drink time it was ‘Bazwilly submerged.’ Note the Red Cross train.”

82nd Div. returning, Nov. 11, 1918

“Nov. 11, 1918. 82nd Div. First troops to come back from the front. First time we had seen troops marching in this direction.”

82nd Div. returning, Nov. 11, 1918

“Fall out! Nov. 11, 1918. March 1 hr, rest 20 min. Resting. 82nd Div. coming back from the Argonne. ‘The war is over!’ “

You can learn more about Alice Carr’s life and work, including her time as a World War I nurse, in the Alice Carr Papers (click to view PDF finding aid). The above text was taken, with few changes, from the collection finding aid, originally written by Dorothy Smith, January 1984.

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5 Responses to Alice Carr, WWI Red Cross Nurse

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving at Base Hospital No. 18, Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, 1918 | Out of the Box

  2. J.M.G.H. PIERRE says:

    Thank you very much for putting on line a few pictures of the Bazoilles Hospital Center. I have developed an interest on this huge Hospital Center for two reasons:

    1. It is not far from my native village in France
    2. On April 23, 1919, my great-aunt married in Graffigny (Haute-Marne) an American soldier, who graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1915 and who was in Bazoilles-sur-Meuse (Vosges). One can find his name -Theodore Elbert Clark – on the 1918 Thanksgiving Dinner (Privates 1st Class Medical Department)

    Would you happen to know if there are other photographs of the Bazoilles Hospital Center in Alice Carr’s papers and if she refers to the place in her correspondence?

    I am just a “closet historian” trying to get a few family and historical facts right and at the moment I am also researching documents on Katherine Duncan Morse, an American poetess and playwright who stayed in my native place Bourmont, a small village in the Haute-Marne département for some time in 1917-1918 and wrote The Uncensored Letters of a Canteen Girl. Incidentally, it is also is there that the 2nd Infantry Division (“Indianhead”) was organized on 26 October 1917.

    Thank you for any help with my research.

  3. I’m also very interested in the nurses and other female workers who were overseas during WWI. I love these photos, too. And I’d like to hear from the person who posted above about Katharine Duncan Morse. I’d like to know more about her time in Bourmont.

    • Jean-Marie Pierre says:

      I am the person who posted about Katharine Duncan Morse. The few things I know about her time in Bourmont is what I have found in The Uncensored Letters of a Canteen Girl. I would like to know more about her life after WW1 and find pictures or family links…

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