Documenting the American South Logo
Loading
Collections >> North Carolinians and the Great War, The North Carolina Experience >> Document Menu >> Summary

Elizabeth Herbert Smith Taylor, b. 1888
Elizabeth Herbert Smith Taylor Diaries (#4994). 8 September 1918-10 May 1919
: Transcript of the manuscript, UNC-Chapel Hill, Southern Historical Collection, .

Summary

Born and raised in Scotland Neck, North Carolina, Elizabeth Herbert Smith Taylor (b. 1888) served as a nurse during World War I with the Maguire Unit of the Army Nurse Corps. Taylor was educated at Woman's College in Greensboro and received nurse's training at St. Timothy's Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her diary, which consists of pithy statements summarizing the events of each day, begins with her cross-Atlantic trip to France in September 1918 as part of the Army Nurse Corps. While Taylor does recount the hard conditions she worked in -- the bitter cold, the enormous number of patients and the persistence of illness and death -- her diary mostly focuses on her social life, and, in particular, her love of dancing. From her first day on the Atlantic crossing when she \"danced on [the] deck in the rain,\" Taylor details the many dances she attended, her escorts, and the card games she hosted, which she eventually refers to as "Cinq Cent." Plagued by headaches and illness, she also describes a trip to Cannes and the French Riviera while on a month's sick leave. Taylor was eventually discharged in April 1919 due to diagnosed \"thyroid trouble.\" Her diary provides a fascinating look at the variety of social gatherings created by hard-working soldiers and support personnel during World War I. In 1920, Taylor returned abroad to work with the Red Cross in Poland during a typhus epidemic. She continued work as a nurse in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Guatemala, where she met her husband, Dr. Kempton Potter Aiken Taylor, in 1928.

Amy Davis

Document menu