Series of thirteen photographs from World War II featuring photos of the first contingent of Black female combat nurses to arrive in the Southwest Pacific and prize fighter Toikey Thompson. This collection depicts soldiers in uniform, life in their barracks, weaponry, and two signed photographs of prize fighter Toikey Thompson.
Two silver gelatin photographs measuring 8″x10″, one 5″x7″, one 4″x6″, and nine 3.5″x5″or smaller. All in very good to good condition, with a touch of wear along edges and some faint toning. One small image with loss to right edge, a thin crease, and tape repairs. A unique set, some with stamped dates and typed captions written by U.S. press, some with handwritten notes and signatures.
Although the demand for nurses in World War II was consistently high, segregation and Jim Crow laws kept fully qualified African American nurses from serving. A quota was set in 1941 to enlist fifty-six Black nurses who were permitted to aid German prisoners of war, or men in segregated spaces. That number remained in place until July 1944. The Western Allies’ need for medical aid in the final year of the war did not change an African American nurse’s acceptance into service. By the end of the war in 1945, just 0.8% of the Army Nurse Corps were African American, out of almost 60,000 total nurses. (National Women’s History Museum)