Snyder (Eva Sesmer and Herbert Mitchell) Collection, 1907-1979
- Snyder (Eva Sesmer and Herbert Mitchell) Collection, 1907-1979
- Snyder, Eva Sesmer, 1895-1979; Snyder, Herbert Mitchell, 1894-1968
- 2.575 linear ft. plus artifacts
- University of Louisville
- Biography / History
- Eva Sesmer (Snyder) was born November 21, 1894, in Odessa, Russia, an ancient Black Sea port. Her father, Samuel Paul Sesmer, was a physician and graduate of the Medical Faculty of the (old) University of St. Petersburg. A Tsarist, Dr. Sesmer feared Bolshevik take-over of his country and emigrated to the U.S. in 1909. He established a practice at New Castle, in Henry County, Ky., and, a year later, sent for his family. Eva Sesmer, his eldest daughter, turned 16 soon after.
- The following year, falsifying her age, she entered nurses' training at the (old) Jewish Hospital in Louisville, and was graduated in 1913. She remained on the staff of the Jewish Hospital and also did private-duty nursing in Louisville.
- In 1917, immediately after America's entry into World War I, R.N. Eva Sesmer volunteered as a Red Cross nurse at Camp Taylor, a large Army training installation in Louisville. Soon after, she volunteered and was accepted for overseas duty with the Army Nurse Corps, then administered by the American Red Cross. She joined an all-Kentucky medical cadre, Unit #40, which was mobilized by Dr. (Col.) David Barrow of Lexington and which included physicians, registered nurses, male orderlies and ambulance drivers. Sailing for England immediately, the group established U.S. Base Hospital #40 at Sarisbury Court, a converted country house and estate just outside Southampton, England (and reputedly the former home of dancer Isadora Duncan).
- Lieut. Eva Sesmer also served with detached-duty units of Base Hospital #40 at Paignton, England; Edinboro, Scotland, and behind the lines in France. The Kentucky medical unit received many honors for its service to the casualties of the American Expeditionary Force and of Allied forces from Canada, England and France. Lieutenant Sesmer also received several personal commendations.
- Returning to Louisville after war duty, she nursed military personnel at Camp Taylor during the disastrous influenza epidemic of 1919. Following military discharge, she nursed in Louisville until her marriage in 1920 to former Navy Hospital Corpsman Herbert Mitchell Snyder. During the 1920s and 1930s, although not actively nursing, she served as obstetrical nurse at the birth of six nieces and nephews--delivered by Drs. Henry Enos Tuley, Oscar Bloch and Leo Bloch, for whom she had worked. During the 1937 Ohio River flood, she volunteered as a Public Health Nurse and traveled by boat giving typhoid shots and first aid to victims.
- Strongly patriotic and deeply grateful for the opportunities offered by her adopted country, Eva Sesmer Snyder taught citizenship classes to emigrés of the 1930s and '40s, at the (old) Neighborhood House. She and her husband stood sponsorship for numerous immigrant families of many faiths and nationalities--all strangers to her, and all subsequently fine citizens.
- In World War II her husband returned to active duty as a Chief Pharmacist's Mate in the Navy, serving throughout the Southwest Pacific. During this period, Eva Sesmer Snyder served as a Russian instructor for the Navy V-12 unit at the University of Louisville, and as a translator. From the 1950s to the early 1970s, she taught Russian classes at the YMCA and YWCA. She was also a poet--her work was published extensively in The Courier-Journal during the 1930s-1940s and in Veterans' Voices, a national literary magazine of the Veterans Administration, 1950s-1970s.
- In 1963, Mrs. Snyder was honored by the Fincastle Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution as Louisville's `Distinguished Foreign-Born Citizen of the Year.'
- Eva Sesmer Snyder, R.N., died October 4, 1979. She was nearly 85.
- by Agnes Snyder Crume
- As a teenager, Eva Sesmer Snyder and her family immigrated from Russia to the United States, where they settled first in Henry County, Kentucky, and then in Louisville. In 1914, she was graduated from Louisville's Jewish Hospital School of Nursing. During World War I, Eva served as an Army nurse at Camp Taylor, Kentucky, and later at an Allied hospital in England. On returning to civilian life, she was active in a women's unit of the American Legion; when it was disbanded, she joined the Legion's Jefferson Post Number 15 in Louisville. During the 1930s and 1940s, Mrs. Snyder taught citizenship courses for immigrants at the Neighborhood House and, during Louisville's devastating 1937 flood, worked as a Public Health Nurse. Between the World Wars, she was employed by Dr. August Schachner, M.D. who in 1931 published an account of his travels to the Arctic Ocean.
- During World War II, Eva Snyder aided the Russian relief effort and worked as a Russian language instructor and translator. In the post-war era, she continued to teach Russian and frequently wrote "Letters to the Editor" of Louisville Courier Journal on a potpourri of topics. In 1963, the local Daughters of the American Revolution named Eva Snyder, its "Foreign Born Citizen of the Year."
- Herbert Mitchell Snyder, Eva's husband, was born in 1894 in Brooklyn, New York, and was graduated from the public schools there in 1911. In 1920, he was certified as a registered pharmacist and was employed by the Newman Drug Company as a druggist, and later, as a pharmaceutical chemist. During World War I, he served in the United States Navy and in 1943, returned to active duty. As Chief Pharmacists' Mate, Snyder was first assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station and then, for sixteen months, aboard the U.S.S. Towner in the Pacific Theater.
- Scope and Content
- This collection is foremost a reflection of the numerous interests of Eva Semser Snyder. There is a body of letters, with a few photographs interspersed, from Allied soldiers that she met during World War I. A few items illustrate her work as a Public Health Nurse during the 1937 Flood. For the World War II era and following, there are commendations, citations, and numerous job applications, usually for positions utlizing her skill in Russian. Newspaper clippings, with related correspondence, of her "Letters to the Editor" are also found.
- The papers of Herbert M. Snyder consist largely of snapshots from his naval service both in World War I and II. The photographs were removed from a large album; the bulk of them were taken by Snyder while on duty aboard the U.S.S. Towner, which visited numerous remote native villages in the South Pacific. There are also scenes (some of which appear to have been purchased) from Japan, China, the Phillipine Islands, and Hawaii, from both the pre-war and the close of the war and early occupation periods.
- Also included are Herbert Snyder's printed and typescript articles on pharmaceutical topics and related articles by Eva, and the Snyder's daughter, Agnes Snyder Crume. Ms. Crume prepared the explanatory notes found scattered throughout this collection.
- A few items, such as an oversized photo of Company "D" Forty-fifth U.S. Infantry at Camp Taylor, Kentucky, and several oversized awards and diplomas, are stored separately from the collection. A series of published and unpublished poetry by Eva Sesmer Snyder ADDED 2/27/1981 will be added to the collection at a later date. Her student notes in nursing, World War I uniform, and medical equipment have been donated to the Kornhauser Health Science Library at the University of Louisville.
- This body of artifacts and personal papers documents the World War I service of Eva Sesmer Snyder (1894-1979), a Russian emigree who lived all of her adult life in Louisville, Kentucky. Her uniform is accompanied by all of the accessories, insignias, and the like and is in good condition. Lecture notes and official correspondence from the U S Army and the American Red Cross comprised the bulk of the documentary material. Excellent photographs of patients and staff of U S Base Hospital #40 at Sarisbury Court, in Southampton, England are one of the collection's strengths.
- The papers occupy 1.0 linear feet and date from 1913, when Eva Sesmer attended nursing school at Louisville's Jewish Hospital Training School for Nurses, to her discharge from the Army in 1919 except for a few items of memorabilia from the 1970s.
- Other aspects of the career of Eva Sesmer Snyder, especially her roles as poet and Russian language teacher, are documented in another body of her personal papers, housed at the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center.
- The donor of both portions was Louisville journalist Agnes Snyder Crume, the daughter of Eva Sesmer Snyder.
Contents of the Collection
Eva and Herbert Snyder Biographical information
Eva Sesmer Snyder
Eva Sesmer Snyder
Articles and stories 1929-1945
Eva Sesmer Snyder
Herbert and Eva Snyder
Eva Sesmer Snyder
World War I
Company D, 45th Infantry Unit 1917-1919
Great Lakes Navel Training Station 1917-1919
Great Lakes...Aboard USS Towner 1943-1944
USS Towner - Borneo and New Guinea 1944-1946
USS Towner - Philippine Islands 1944-1946
USS Towner - Philippines, Solomon Islands 1944-1946
USS Towner - Japan 1944-1946
USS Towner - China 1944-1946
USS Towner - New Georgia and Russell Islands
USS Towner - Hawaiian Islands 1944-1946
Lecture notes from Jewish Hospital Training School for Nurses, 1913
R N License 1914
Red Cross Service Certificate
U S Army records 1917-1919
Correspondence with Army, Red Cross
Photograph album, U S Base Hospital 40, Hampshire, England
Miscellaneous photos and postcards
ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY FOR NURSES (textbook w/ ESS annotations)
PRACTICAL MATERIA MEDICA FOR NURSES (textbook used by ESS)
Red Cross nurse uniform cape, armband, hat, insignia, pins, dog tags
Surgical tray Field issue syringe kit with scissors, needles, emergency sedatives.
Red Cross nurse's uniform skirt and jacket
Khaki uniform carrier
Diploma from Jewish Hospital Training School for Nurses, n d
See donor file (Crume, AS) for more detailed description of three dimensional items.
Eva Sesmer Snyder and Herbert M. Snyder U of L Archives Photographs
Photographs, Great Lakes Naval Training Station (1917-1918)
1) POSTCARD / WWI 1917-18, group portrait of four.
2) POSTCARD / 1917 gaurd duty - Great Lakes, Illonois.
3-13) (1'x 2') WWI 1917-18, all are identified on the backs of the prints.
- Folder 1