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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 364

Papers of Lula James Welch, 1868-1966


Correspondence, diaries, photographs, etc., of Lula James Welch, nurse in Alaska.


  • 1868-1966

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Lula James Welch is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.63 linear feet ((1+1/2 file boxes) plus 1 folio+ folder, 1 folio folder)
This collection contains correspondence, diaries, photographs, a scrapbook, clippings, and Marian Kennedy's typescript, Northland Doctor's Wife, based on Lula James Welch's reminiscences. The bulk of the correspondence is from 1939 and includes letters asking Curtis Welch to write about his experiences in Alaska. The diary entries are generally short and cover the years 1901-1937 and 1961-1962; the entries from 1901 to 1932 (see #1) were condensed by Welch in 1935. The later diaries reflect the daily concerns of an aging woman. Most of the photographs date from the period when Lula James Welch and Curtis Welch lived in Alaska.


Lula (James) Welch was born on November 8, 1873, in Jeffersonville, Indiana, the daughter of Anna Bell Hare James and Pleasant James. When she was eight, her family moved to Anaheim, California; she was educated at Irving Institute in San Francisco. After high school, she studied theater with the actress Helena Modjeska. Realizing that she did not have the talent to succeed as an actress, Welch decided to become a nurse. In September 1899 she married Dr. Curtis Welch; she worked with him in his medical practice and in the hospital they established in Oakland in 1904. Following the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, they left for Alaska, where for twenty years they cared for the people of Council City, Candle, and Nome; in 1925 they organized an expedition to bring serum by dog sled to Nome during an outbreak of diphtheria. In the fall of 1928, Curtis Welch's health made it imperative that they return to a warmer climate; they settled in Santa Barbara, where Curtis Welch died in 1945.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 84-M194, 85-M194

The papers of Lula James Welch were given to the Schlesinger Library in November 1984 and September 1985 by Marian Kennedy.


  1. Box 1: 1-6, 14, 16
  2. Box 2: 17v-20

Processing Information

Processed: January and September 1985

By: Anne Engelhart, Eva Schlesinger
Link to catalog
Welch, Lula James, 1873-1963. Papers of Lula James Welch, 1868-1966: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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