Skip to content
print page header

The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Evelyn Crary Bacon papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1917-2000
Creator: Bacon, Evelyn Crary (1916-1997)
Extent: 2.30 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0012
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Teacher, decorated veteran nurse and pioneer in the field of nursing education, Bacon served as a captain in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War II and participated in the invasion of Normandy.

Alternate Extent Statement: Artifacts in boxes 2-5
1 audiocassette [AC835]
Photographs in Box 1

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has been transferred to the University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 103) were donated in 1991 by Alice Andre Backsen, Andre's daughter.

Preferred Citation: Evelyn Crary Bacon papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Evelyn Crary Bacon, teacher, decorated veteran nurse and pioneer in the field of nursing education, was born in Grundy Center, Iowa in 1916. Crary earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Iowa in 1938, a G.N. in nursing from the University of Iowa in 1940, and an M.S. in nursing education from the University of Chicago in 1946. From 1942 to 1946, Crary served as captain in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, acting as head nurse supervisor and participating in the invasion of Normandy.

In 1950, Crary married Franklin Bacon. The couple moved to Richmond, Virginia, where Bacon was active in the nursing program at the University of Virginia. Bacon's extensive teaching career includes positions at the University of Iowa, UCLA, University of Virginia, and the Medical College of Virginia. Bacon led the movement to establish the School of Nursing at the University of Virginia. In 1972, Bacon became associate professor and program head of Nursing at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in Richmond. In 1981, Bacon was elected chairman of the Richmond Red Cross organization, becoming the first woman to hold the position. Bacon also served as President of the Richmond League of Women Voters and enjoyed positions in many other organizations, including the Commission on the Status of Women, Governor's Advisory Council, Richmond area community council, and the Virginia Nurses Association.

After Bacon's retirement, she volunteered as historian for the Virginia Nurses Association, organizing the papers of early nursing leaders. Bacon was posthumously recognized by this organization as an Outstanding Nurse in 1999, and in 2000 was named a Virginia Pioneer Nurse.

The Evelyn Crary Bacon papers date from 1917 to 2000 and measure 2.3 linear feet. The papers are arranged in three series: Biographical, Julia Crary, and Artifacts.

The Biographical series consists of a collection of certificates and certification papers; correspondence; newspaper clippings; photographs; two programs from the centennial celebration of the Virginia Nurses Association; a set of notes from Bacon's college courses, and notes from Bacon's unfinished dissertation, which examined the viability of the 'health team' model, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, therapeutic dietitians and social workers, which was widely utilized in the medical field. The audiocassette contains an interview with Bacon on the fiftieth anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

The Julia Crary series comprises a collection of six diaries, dating from 1917-1942, belonging to Evelyn Crary Bacon's older sister, Julia Crary, who became a performer in the Chautauqua traveling circuit. The diaries begin in 1917, when Crary was fifteen years old, documenting her day-to-day activities, including school, church, piano lessons, and social occasions. In the fall of 1920, Crary started college, and soon after, joined a sorority. By 1924, Crary's classes included Dancing, Voice, Dramatic Arts, and Stage Craft. In addition, she was involved in numerous stage productions. By 1926, Crary's diary entries detail her experiences in the traveling Chautauqua show. These entries are generally very brief, and include the location of the show, and a few words to describe the tenor of the crowd. By 1936, Crary was a faculty member in the Drama department at Pomona College in California, teaching Storytelling, Speech, Movement and Stage Make-up.

The Artifacts series includes a nurse's cape, an army jacket, a helmet, a pair of binoculars, a canteen, boxed military medals, Bacon's high school diploma, a Bible, part of Bacon's nursing uniform, a nameplate, two Red Cross paperweights, a key chain, several pieces of jewelry, and three folders of medals and pins.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: Biographical
Series 2: Julia Crary
Series 3: Artifacts

  • Series 1: Biographical
  • Box 1:
  • Certificates and certification papers - 1940-1997
  • oversized certificates [shelved in mapcase]
  • Correspondence - 1975-2000
  • Diploma, Grundy High School [shelved in map case] - 1934
  • Newspaper clippings - 1959-1998
  • Photographs - 1938-1990
  • Virginia Nurses Association programs - 1999
  • Virginia Nurses Association programs - 2000
  • Dissertation notes - 1968-1970
  • Dissertation notes - 1968-1970
  • Interview with Evelyn Crary Bacon [AC835]
  • Series 2: Julia Crary
  • Box 1:
  • Diaries - 1917-1924
  • Diaries - 1926, 1930
  • Series 3: Artifacts
  • Box 2:
  • Nurse's cape
  • Box 3:
  • Army jacket
  • Box 4:
  • European-African-Middle Eastern campaign medal
  • Commemoration of allied armies' liberation of France medal
  • Good conduct medal
  • World War II victory medal
  • Two white linen nurse's uniforms
  • Nameplate
  • Two American Red Cross paperweights
  • University of Iowa College of Nursing keychain
  • Set of gold cufflinks
  • Gold identification bracelet
  • Jewelry box with ring and 3 charms
  • Medals and pins in 3 folders
  • Box 5:
  • Canteen
  • Helmet
  • Binoculars